Book Review: The Curse: Cubs Win! Cubs Win! Or Do They?
Andy Van Slyke was a terrific ballplayer in his day; known as much for his irreverent and spontaneous sense of humor as his remarkable “Gold Glove” defensive skills in centerfield; he was a fan and sportswriter’s favorite throughout his 13 year major league career. His partner in crime for this particular book – Rob Rains – is a very gifted writer who also happens to be the most prolific author of Cardinal baseball history – and the men who made Redbird history – since Bob Broeg’s engaging stories, dating back well over a half century ago.
Together, these guys really know baseball; and they know how to concoct a great piece of fictional folklore about one of baseball’s most storied – and frustrating – franchises in history: The Chicago Cubs.
Anyone who follows baseball with any degree of regularity is quite familiar with the last century of Chicago Cubs agony – from the Billygoat Curse of 1945, to the shocking Meltdown of 1969, to the Great Postseason Collapse of 1984, to the recent torment of poor Steve Bartman in 2003; if something can go wrong with the Cubbies, it always does. Even when they had the best regular season record in the National League in 2008, the Cubs were mysteriously blown out of the postseason by the Wild Card Arizona Diamondbacks, in the very first round. Naturally.
Thanks to the magic of Facebook, I recently became aware of this particular book, ordered it right here on Amazon, received it earlier today, and polished it off in one sitting. I had no idea what was in store for me as I began reading this remarkable and thrilling piece of fiction. To say Andy Van Slyke has a very complex and fascinating “story-telling imagination” is an understatement. The saga he devised kept me on the edge of my seat, as the surprising plotline unfolds within the 317 pages of this wild ride of contemporary and outrageously entertaining fake Cubs “history”.
I loved it, and whether or not you’re a Cubs fan or even a baseball fan in general; it doesn’t really matter; you’ll love it, too.
Larry Underwood, a Books on Baseball friend, has been kind enough to share this book review with us. Larry, a retired executive from Enterprise Rent-a-Car, is an author himself and has recently penned Life Under the Corporate Microscope: A Maverick’s Irreverent Perspective. His book has a 5-star rating from amazon with 42 reviews.
Your Turn is a regular feature of Books on Baseball that spotlights our BoB friends as guest book reviewers.
See Trailer for the Book below
See link to interview with Andy Van Slyke about the book
Something terrible has happened to the Chicago Cubs, turning a promising season into a sorrowful summer in the Windy City.
Leading their division, and sporting the best record in the National League a week before the annual All-Star break, the Cubs come crashing back to earth…literally. A plane crash changes their season – and the future of their franchise – forever.
The Curse: Cubs Win! Cubs Win! Or Do They? by former major league player Andy Van Slyke and veteran baseball author Rob Rains, is a thrilling fictional journey through the Cubs’ recovery from the plane crash and their attempts to re-build their lost season.
After the crash, an interesting cast of Cubs characters emerges. The manager is a burned out baseball veteran who was fired as the team’s Triple A manager after going into the stands to attack a fan. One of the key players turns out to be the great-great grandson of the centerfielder of the 1908 Cubs, who were the last Cubs team to win the World Series.
The authors accompany the reader on a history course of the Cubs’ failed pennant attempts of the past, learning about the Curse of the Billy Goat; about the collapse of the 1969 Cubs; watching the ball squirt through Leon Durham’s legs in the 1984 playoffs; and cursing Steve Bartman and how he got in the way of the 2003 Cubs’ pennant clinching moment.
With that legacy of losing, and with the inconceivable tragedy of the plane crash hanging over their season, the Cubs fight to create a new history. The story’s end is a jaw-dropper. You’ll never read another baseball book like The Curse.