There’s nothing like the smell of fresh cut grass on the diamond in Spring. Buying peanuts and crackerjacks. Cheering for the home team. You know it’s your team’s year to win the pennant. And there’s nothing like the seventh inning stretch.
A Season In Hell touches on all the things I love about America’s pastime. But it also touches on a few aspects of baseball that I hate. To go into that right now would be a spoiler, and I really don’t like to ruin great books by revealing too much.
The title is bang on. It really is a season in hell for Keisha Green, a talented up and comer, trying to make it to the big league. Dillon Peterson, Keisha’s teammate and major league hopeful, couldn’t wait to get the call up to the show. The two became acquaintances while traveling to exhibition games across the country. The rest of the dugout was indignant and upset with Keisha because she took one of the roster spots.
Keisha becomes the target of harassment. Egos are damaged. Toxic masculinity runs rampant in the locker room. The only thing postponing the inevitable is a winning streak down the home stretch. After all, winning is everything in baseball. Day in and day out, Keisha shows the men up on the field. She can hit and she can play a solid defense. How long will it last? What happens when the winning streak ends?
Kenneth W. Cain does an excellent job with the two make characters. Their stories are heartfelt and genuine. But I think the author did an even better job depicting the antagonist. He is spot on the worst type of baseball player. He’s arrogant and very insecure, and to compensate he bullies Keisha and Dillon.
I dig the way the story is told. Dillon has waited 20 years to tell the story of that hellish season, and he found the perfect opportunity with his Hall of Fame speech. That really frustrated me because he kept everything to himself all those years.
The writing is excellent. The story is smooth. The characters are fully fleshed out. The scenes stick with you long after you’ve turned the last page. The ending is bittersweet. It hit me right in the feelings. Baseball can be a cruel game, and this story is evidence of that. Keisha’s story still deeply resonates with me.
What is more, I’ll definitely being reading Kenneth W. Cain’s other work, this being my first time and all. You can read this book in one gulp. It’s better to consume the story all at once, so you can fully digest the subject matter. It’s a perfectly layered tale filled with three dimensional characters.
One helluva tale. Dig it.