“One Night in October” by Chad A. Cain
Baseball, fiction, Cardinals, family
April 14, 2014
41/2 of 5 stars (excellent)
Game 6 of the 2011 World Series is considered to be one of the best World Series games ever played. Twice the St. Louis Cardinals came back from the brink of elimination to not only defeat the Texas Rangers in that game, but also in game 7 to win the World Series. The epic game 6 is the background event for the story of a man who is returning home to see his dying father one last time. This would be difficult in any situation, but for Paul, seeing his father Johnny, with whom he had a falling out, is even more difficult. The struggles of both men are chronicled in this debut novel by Chad Cain, a lifetime Cardinals fan.
There were many instances where the relationship between father and son are tested, but no matter what they may be, they both share the love of Cardinals baseball. Many of the father-son moments (or mother-daughter, mother-son, father-daughter, whichever may be appropriate) that make baseball such a unique experience are captured here. Those include the first time that father and son go to a major league game or when the two of them share memories of great victories or heartbreaking defeats.
However, the book is also taut with emotional struggles and some drama as Paul is confronting not only Johnny to understand why things went the way they did, but also some other inner demons. He finally decides to allow his son Jack to see his grandfather for the first time during this encounter. How this family drama plays out and eventually get addressed is an engrossing tale. There are so many issues that Paul and his father have to resolve that nearly every reader should be able to understand how the characters feel about this in at least one of these situations.
The chapters are broken up by each half-inning of the game and the action on the field is captured in the chapter as well as what is transpiring with the main characters. There is also plenty of Cardinals history from the past 30 years illustrated in the book as well because as Paul recalls what was happening between him and his father at that time, he relates it to how the Cardinals were performing on the field. As one who often will remember events in my life by remembering them in relation to what happened that year or time in baseball, I can understand why Paul does this.
Overall, this was a very good debut novel that will bring out all of the reader’s emotions and will entertain the reader as well. Baseball fans, especially Cardinals fans, will enjoy this captivating story.
I wish to thank Mr. Cain for providing an advance review copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Pace of the book:
The story moves along at an excellent pace with smooth transitions between the current setting and flashbacks to past events. The reader will follow this story easily.
Do I recommend?
Baseball fans who want to learn more about this game and its significance might want to read this. Also those who want to learn more about the two pitchers, although there are more complete biographies on both of them available.