Sunday, March 24, 2013

Home Run review and Give-a-way!

Home Run.  Novel based on the movie that releases in theater April 19th.  (Be sure to enter to win a copy of the book at the end of this post!!!)

About the Author
Travis Thrasher is the author of more than a dozen works of fiction, including The Solitary Tales series, Isolation, and Ghostwriter. His writing is known for its honesty, depth, and surprising twists. Thrasher lives with his wife and daughters in Chicago.
About the Book (Movie)
The story is centered around the life of Major League baseball player Cory Brand. After years of self indulgent behavior and reckless living, a DUI and team suspension land Cory back in the Oklahoma town where he started. Forced to coach the local Little League team and spend eight weeks in Celebrate Recovery©, the only twelve-step program in town, Cory must face the memories that contributed to his life becoming so destructive as well as honestly confront the love he left behind.

Home Run powerfully reminds us that no habit is beyond help, no one is beyond God’s reach when they are willing to surrender, and no hurt escapes God’s healing. “What Courageous was for fatherhood, and Fireproof for marriages, Home Run is for battling addictions, bad habits, and hang-ups. The inspiring and authentic message of Home Run is that freedom is possible.”
My take/thoughts:
I'm not a sports nut.  Most especially, I'm not a big baseball fan other than enjoying attendance at a few games here and there for fun.  I wasn't for sure if I would "get" a book that is based so heavily on a sport character AND enjoy it. 
I did! 
Great things about the book itself:  it's a fast read with short chapters which means that you can read a chapter in between the craziness of life's schedule!  I know many people are reluctant to read because they can't finish a chapter quickly with life's demands.  The characters are "developed" quickly and you can easily follow along even if you don't have much sport knowledge or lingo! 
The story itself:  oh goodness, I could say so much.  Addiction is so destructive.  It's poison. It can damage those around you faster than a train derailing.  It can easily carry on from generation to generation if the cycle isn't broken. 
Fortunately, for the characters of this book, the cycle of destruction stops when Christ enters in and through an amazing 12 step program, Celebrate Recovery.  Cory finds out that addiction comes in many forms and that alcoholism isn't the only addiction people have to recover from.  Celebrate Recovery tackles any and every addiction that may plague an individual.  With many area churches hosting this program, I was thrilled to see it represented in detail of what takes place in the program. 
Cory learns it is NEVER TOO LATE and that Freedom is Possible. 
The same message that we ALL need to wrap our hearts around.  We may not battle alcoholism.  We may not battle drug addiction.  We may not battle pornography.  Yet, we ALL battle something.   We all carry pain and scars that need healing. We all need freedom.
Some of my favorite quotes or "take aways" from the book:
  • "Sometimes you dream about something your whole life only to forget about it once the dream has arrived.  Because even dreams can be a lot of work." many times have we found ourselves working so hard for something and then when the day comes, we can still feel so empty when our motivation was to fill a gap of something missing.  A spot that only Christ can fill.
  • "While God did indeed love them and protect them, He didn't always answer their prayers. That was one of the greatest mysteries of life.  But that didn't prevent her from continuing to have faith in Him.  It just made it a little harder."  I love the honesty of the thought process of Emma in the story.  She learned to cling to her faith even when God said no, not right now, or I have a different plan. 
  • "I'm just me.  Banged up and imperfect." Another character, Karen, was talking about how grateful she was to participate in Celebrate Recovery because she could openly share without fear of being judged.  She could be herself.  I loved those 7 words.  I got goosebumps thinking of those words and applying them to myself:  I'm just Tracye.  Banged up and imperfect. 
  • "Cory didn't realize that every single person living and breathing was broken.  Maybe they didn't carry the weight he did, and they didn't fracture themselves so much in life, but everybody was lost and in need of saving. Everybody stumbled and failed." Whether we handle our disappointments, pain, and heartache in a healthy manner or unhealthy manner----we ALL are broken.  We are all lost.  We are all in need of a savior. We all fall down and need to be picked up.
  • "I am valuable not because I am doing something well, but because I am God's child...and He doesn't make junk."  This is perhaps one of the greatest messages of the entire book.  Cory had to learn that even though his childhood baggage and then the repetition of continuing that cycle into his adulthood had warped his understanding of God and the image of Him being a loving father, he had value in JUST belonging to God. So many times we get caught up in feeling unlovable, unworthy, and believe that His love is performance based.  Truth is we are worthy of love JUST because we are HIS---not based on works.  He can never love us more if we do more and He can never love us less if we fail.  His love is truly without condition.
The only negative thing I could say about the book is that I wish the author had spent more time writing about the recovery process.  He spent the first 350 pages of the book talking about the "messed up" life and then only 50 pages of the "turn-around".  With so many good points brought out in the book, I feel like he could have written so much more about the character once he submitted to Christ and to recovery.  I think it would have been beautiful to have seen that develop more than in just a few quick pages!

I can hardly wait to go see this on the big screen! 

One copy of the book is being given away to a reader chosen at random on 3/31 (contest ends at 8 PM CST).  Simply just leave a comment to enter.  Be sure to leave an email address so I can contact you if you are the winner!

"Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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