Last week I received an email on Facebook from an author named Charles Burgess with a request to read his new novel titled “Balllin’ the Last Dribble.” He’s still in the editing phase and asked that I review the book and provide him with a blurb for the cover. His request gave me pause because at the present time my cup overfloweth with projects.
I work a 9-5 job, I commute 370 miles a week, I just released my latest Indie novel “Four Ladies Only” and I am deeply engrossed in promotions. I just signed a four-book deal with Soul Mate Publishing for my Cass and Nick series which includes, “Married in the Nick of Nine,” coming this summer, “The Baby in the Window,” “One Harte, Two Loves” and “Renee’s Return.” In a minute I’m going to be working with my new editor getting “Married in the Nick of Nine” ready for publication and then I’m going to be embarking upon an aggressive advertising campaign. Additionally, I am directing a play I wrote called “Sacrificing Simone.” It will be coming to a theater near you this summer as well. I also have another play I have written on submission.
So as you can see, I really am hard pressed for time, but I guess Charles Burgess has favor from above, because I agreed to read his book and once I give my word, that’s it. MY WORD IS AS GOOD AS GOLD. I started reading the book this morning during my workout and I was immediately drawn in. I love the protagonist Danny and his best friend A.J. I’m not a basketball aficionado and a lot of the lingo goes over my head, but within the context of the writing, I get the meaning. The book flows and is well written in spite of the obvious areas that need editing (as mentioned he’s in the process of having the book edited). This is not my first Charles Burgess novel, I recently read his book, “Don’t Say you Do If You Don’t” and it was an enjoyable read. But with “Ballin’ the Last Dribble,” Charles has definitely stepped up his game. I can really visualize the entire story and it moves well. I’m not going to write a review but I did want to take a minute to bring up two sections in the book—one that made me laugh and the other that made me cry. You learn something new every day. I had no idea that Adidas on the street stood for All Day I dream About Sex. That CRACKED ME UP! The part in the book that brought me to tears is a scene wherein the protagonist, Danny, who’s in middle school, is sending his mother off to work while he takes care of his baby brother and sister:
“Bye Momma,” they said at the same time. She just looked at her family and I knew she was a proud mother; it didn’t matter if we didn’t live in a penthouse on Wisconsin Avenue. We were all we had and having each other was enough for all of us. I grabbed the remote and turned on Scooby Doo for them. I asked them if they wanted hotdogs and they both said yes. So I fixed them one and there was only enough ketchup for one dog. I made sure my little sister got that one while me and my brother ate ours plain. THAT WAS WHAT MEN DID, MADE SURE THE LADY WAS STRAIGHT FIRST.
That passage had me sobbing while I was on the elliptical machine this morning. I was wiping at my tears, looking around, wondering if people thought I was ill or something. In the context of all I had read, the feeling and heart in that passage just brought me there. Somehow I thought about Charles and wondered if he had experienced something similar as a child. Writers do write what they know. At that moment I was thrilled that I agreed to read Charles’s book, in spite of all I have going on. Yes, sometimes, giving pays big dividends. I look forward to completing the read and posting a review once the book is released. Based on what I’ve read so far about Danny and his big hoop dreams and the predators waiting in the wings, this novel should be required reading for every young man who wants to be the next Michael Jordan!