Sunday, September 13, 2015

Review of "Thursday Night Therapy"

After receiving a message from the author inquiring if I would be willing to review this book, I asked him if the basketball played was organized or if it was more like street ball or pick-up games.  When he responded that this was definitely NOT an organized league, I was very willing to read this one. Sometimes that type of game, not matter what sport, can make for very interesting reading.  That was the case with this book.  Here is my review of "Thursday Night Therapy."

“Thursday Night Therapy: Thirty Years of Basketball and Camaraderie” by Aaron M. Smith

Basketball, memoir, psychology, family

Publish date:
October 14, 2014

134 pages

5 of 5 stars (outstanding)

Every Thursday night, a group of men ranging in age from their twenties to their sixties gather together to play basketball. The game takes place under makeshift lights in the driveway of the founder of this game. While different players may have come and gone, this event has taken place for over thirty years. One of the participants, Aaron Smith who is the son-in-law of the founder of this game, captures the stories and journey of this ritual in “Thursday Night Therapy.”

The reader will learn about many of the players who have spent many Thursday nights over the years doing something that they feel is necessary for their own well-being.  The game helps the men relieve stress, bond together because of this one common activity and also forget about the rest of the world for a few hours. There are several passages in which Smith describes this sensation. As one of the participants in the Thursday night games, he talks about the way he can put aside the outside world and concentrate solely on what is taking place on the court while playing. The reader will feel that as well, placing himself on that driveway while reading about the action taking place.

There are some poignant moments shared as well. One of those passages came when Fran, Smith’s father-in-law and organizer of the Thursday games, lost his mother earlier in the day one Thursday.  With a heavy heart, he told one of the men gathered in the driveway to start the game what happened.  Everyone is offering Fran condolences – then he goes inside to change and plays the game.  Smith’s description of Fran’s play that night tells it all – “Sometimes with tears welling in his eyes and defenders closing in his face, Fran would drill a shot. Three after three. Shot after shot. It certainly was an inspired effort…”

That passage, and similar ones not only about the games but also how the men interact with each other and their families around Thursdays, is what makes this book a joy to read. The reader feels the camaraderie and will understand why this ritual is so important to these men.  It was a heartwarming book and one that was also filled with humor as well as inspiring messages and some good basketball as well.

I wish to thank Mr. Smith for providing a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Pace of the book:
Very quick as Smith’s stories and thoughts on the therapeutic value of the Thursday night games blend together well and are easy to read.

Do I recommend? 
This book will be appealing to a broad range of readers, as this is as much a book on friendship, family and the mindset of these participants in the Thursday night games as well as a book on basketball. 

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