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Reviewed by Scott Cahan for Readers' Favorite
And My Father Was There by Noah McCaffrey is a fictional story that is built around a true baseball legend. The main character is a young man named Laird Young the third. He is the son of a former baseball player/former soldier from World War One. As the story begins, Laird is bitter toward his father for going off to war when Laird was only three years old and then coming home badly wounded and unable to interact with him for the past 20 years. A special gift from Laird’s Mom sets him on a journey of personal discovery that will lead Laird in many unexpected directions.
And My Father Was There is about several very important themes. It’s about the history of professional baseball during the early part of the twentieth century. It also gives us a painful look at the devastating effects a war can have on a soldier and his family. Although both of those themes are played out beautifully throughout the story, they are not the main theme that brings this book to life. And My Father Was There is first and foremost a vivid picture of an imperfect but happy American family during the 1940s. This book is a slice of Americana that gave me a glimpse back in time and made me wish I was there.
McCaffrey’s characters are all colorful and relatable. His plot moved slowly, just as a character-driven story should, but it was still full of enough twists and turns so that I found it difficult to put down at times. And My Father Was There will have you laughing and crying and reading with wide eyes to see what will happen next to the loveable characters of this all-American portrait. I enjoyed it very much and I’m not even a baseball fan. At least I wasn't before. Now I find myself wanting to learn more about the early days of baseball. Great book.