Life and Life Only: A Novel by Dave Moyer (iUniverse, $14.95, 200 pages)
Because I like baseball (having written a baseball novel), have endured martial strife, and am a father (all major themes in Dave Moyer’s novel), I enjoyed reading Life and Life Only. It details Dan Mason’s life from his birth in 1974 to his early-forties in the future year of 2018. Incidentally, the book was published by iUniverse, Inc., in 2009, nine years before the story ends.
An abundance of facts are presented as the novel primarily follows the baseball career of talented pitcher, Dan. We accompany him through youth, high school, summer, college and semi-pro baseball as he seeks his dream of playing professional and eventually major league baseball. Unfortunately an arm injury undermines that dream. Baseball also is an important part of his marriage to the lovely Southern belle, Anna Jean, and even permeates, in a positive way, his excellent relationship with his only child, Melinda Sue.
The novel does have its shortcomings, however. The interspersing of historical details and the music of Bob Dylan aside, it has, as I mentioned, an abundance of facts. And Moyer often presents these facts randomly, and sometimes in a helter skelter manner, frequently changing point of view in the process. Such a voluminous number of facts ultimately sacrifices the drama inherent in Life and Life Only. Moyer regularly violates the important writers’ adage of “Tell, don’t show.” Thus he keeps the reader at a distance instead of inviting him into each scene.
Even with the novel ending some nine years after publication, it seems very autobiographical. Not that there is anything wrong with that. I simply mention it because a little poetic license might well heighten drama.
Again, I enjoyed the book. I am sure I would have found it more compelling with fewer facts and more drama.
Recommended (3 stars out of 5).
Alan Mindell is the author of The Closer: A Baseball Love Story, and The B Team: A Horse Racing Saga.
Dave Moyer is an education administrator in the greater Chicago area, author, and a reviewer for this site.