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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Everyone has a gift, something unique that defines them, something they can share with the world. For the intellectually challenged Henry Brademeier, his gift, his talent, is hitting a baseball. He can hit anything that is pitched to him, and he hits it well. So well, in fact, that a major league scout, Lou Esposito, picks him up and gets him into the Chicago White Sox as a rookie player. At first, the other players want nothing to do with this very ‘different’ young man. But there is an inner charm to Henry; he can make friends easily and he has a coach that doesn’t give up on him.
Thom Ring’s novel, Henry Hits the Ball, is an inspirational sporting story that shatters many myths about the ability of people with certain disabilities to function in the real world. Henry is a classic example of a young man labeled by society as disabled. He’s shy and moves away when approached by strangers, muttering, “I don’t know you.” And yet he has the loyalty of everyone’s best friend once he gets to know you. For a young man who can’t even tie his own shoelaces, put a bat in his hand, toss him a ball and he’ll hit it. The story begins with the major league scout witnessing Henry’s batting skills and traces the baseball career that follows, complete with its ups and downs. The characters and setting are well developed and the plot develops at a compelling pace. Definitely an interesting read for coaches, baseball enthusiasts, and anyone who appreciates a good story about treating people equally and honoring the gifts they have to share.