Our Game

Fiction - New Adult
248 Pages
Reviewed on 05/18/2024
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite

Our Game by Jeffrey P Shafer revolves mostly around Maria, a successful college softball player, facing the ultimate decision: pursue graduate school or her dream of playing professional baseball alongside the boys of summer. With the support of Benjamin Hughes, a prominent African American entrepreneur and baseball team owner, the commissioner of baseball, and a network of allies, Maria challenges the status quo. She also encounters strong resistance from those who don't want her there. Subplots among the cast of characters also carry the story, including Maria's softball coach Debbye, a victim of horrific abuses named Michelle, and a connection to a former All-American Girl. From the baseball mounds and locker rooms to a luxury yacht with the President of the United States, Maria's quest in the courageous pursuit of her lifelong aspiration will resonate through many generations that follow.

In Our Game by Jeffrey P. Shafer, the story takes up the beloved game of baseball and puts relevant social issues such as gender equality and racial discrimination at the forefront. Maria is not the first girl to dream of playing MLB, but the pursuit to shatter barriers as the first female professional baseball player sheds light on the struggles women face in male-dominated arenas. I really appreciated that Shafer was able to adeptly fuse real historical events with fiction, drawing in figures like Shoeless Joe Jackson, Pete Rose, and Benjamin Hughes. Hughes, particularly, emerges as a favorite of mine and is fully fleshed out. Critical to Maria's journey, his ability thrives on his own backstory as a Black American, from the depths of the Great Depression in Philadelphia to prominence in the business and sporting world. Shafer tells us that baseball is everyone's game, as in it is “Our Game,” and this book is the perfect bite of fiction with a great story and a nostalgic journey through America's favorite pastime. Very highly recommended.