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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Stealing Home: A Father, a Son, and the Road to the Perfect Game is a nonfiction sports memoir written by Ron Seybold. Seybold’s anxiety was an inherited condition that wasn’t even considered a disorder or treatable at the time when he entered into his first marriage. He was very familiar with the manifestations of that disorder, however, having lived with a father who was tormented by his rages and whose anger kept his family stressed and under his thumb. The author’s wife eventually filed for divorce due to his own uncontrolled verbal abuse. It was granted, leaving him stricken with shame and unable to fully explain to his very young son, Nicky, why he wouldn’t be living with him and his mom anymore. Nicky was ten years old now and referred to himself as Nick instead. And the custodial weekends had finally given way to a two-week vacation; one that would be a chance for Seybold and his son to really bond through the sport they both loved so dearly -- baseball; a chance for Seybold to prove he could control that anger and be a real dad. It would be the adventure of a lifetime and a chance for redemption.
As I was reading Stealing Home, I marveled at the easy camaraderie enjoyed by Ron and his son, Nick. They seemed so often to be on the same page, fluently wisecracking lines from the Simpsons, blissfully turning their convertible into a man-cave filled with snack crumbs and memories of their travels, and taunting each other as their favorite teams measured up against each other. One sees Ron’s attempts in reaching out to his own dad in Nick’s easy banter with his dad. Nick’s not afraid to tease or stand up to his dad, and it’s a marvelous thing to see how closely the two of them bond on this trip. I had a hard time figuring out the right genre to assign this offering as it’s so much more than a memoir. It’s a grand road trip story as well as a real-life family saga, but Stealing Home: A Father, a Son, and the Road to the Perfect Game is, at its heart, the consummate baseball story. This enthralling and well-written sports memoir is most highly recommended.