The Baseball Widow by Suzanne Kamata

This novel was an interesting read into the Japanese background and the struggles of a multicultural marriage. Christine is a carer and wants to help fix things and people, and Hideki might have finally found his way to create the perfect dream baseball team, and take them all the way this time. But the two are living in very different worlds from each other and it takes more than just love to make a marriage work. Christine is struggling with the feeling of being the only parent right now, as Hideki puts everything he has into his team.

After their son gets bullied at school, Christine decides it’s time for her and the kids to come back to America, her native country. Things will be different for the kids, a new start and she will feel back at home in her own culture. This move has made them both realize different things in life and their lives as well as the changes that have occurred over the years and how it seems they’ve grown apart. New people come into their lives and feelings often play a deciding factor in life or will it bring back all of the good they did have at one time and the reason they got married in the first place?

Thank you to Suzy Approved Book Tours for the invite and the author for the free novel. I enjoyed how the author wrote the storylines from both points of view. It gave me some background on Japanese culture as well as the struggles of a multicultural marriage. Sometimes it is easy to forget about how simple and easy life can be, and we often take things and people for granted.

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~ About the Book~

When Christine, an idealistic young American teacher, meets and marries Hideki Yamada, an aspiring Japanese high school baseball coach, she believes that their love with be enough to sustain them as they deal with cultural differences. However, Hideki’s duties, and the team of fit, obedient boys whom he begins to think of as a surrogate family, take up more and more of his time, just as Christine is struggling to manage the needs of their multiply-disabled daughter and their sensitive son. Things come to a head when their son is the victim of bullies. Christine begins to think that she and her children would be safer – and happier – in her native country. On a trip back to the States, she reconnects with a dangerously attractive friend from high school who, after serving and becoming wounded in Afghanistan, seems to understand her like no one else.

Meanwhile, Daisuke Uchida, a slugger with pro potential who has returned to Japan after living abroad, may be able to help propel Hideki’s team to the national baseball tournament at Koshien. Not only would this be a dream come true for Hideki, but also it would secure the futures of his players, some of whom come from precarious homes. While Daisuke looks to Hideki for guidance, he is also distracted by Nana, a talented but troubled girl, whom he is trying to rescue from a life as a bar hostess (or worse). Hideki must ultimately choose between his team and his family.

The Baseball Widow explores issues of duty, disability, discrimination, violence, and forgiveness through a cross-cultural lens. Although flawed, these characters strive to advocate for fairness, goodness, and safety, while considering how their decisions have been shaped by their backgrounds.

~ About the Author ~

American Suzanne Kamata is the author of two previous novels for adults, Losing Kei (Leapfrog Press, 2008), which was also published in Russian translation, and The Mermaids of Lake Michigan (Wyatt-Mackenzie Publishing, 2017), winner of an IPPY award. She has also published three well-received anthologies including The Broken Bridge: Fiction from Expatriates in Literary Japan (Stone Bridge Press, 1992), Love You to Pieces: Creative Writers on Raising a Child with Special Needs (Beacon Press, 2008) and Call Me Okaasan: Adventures in Multicultural Mothering (Wyatt-Mackenzie Publishing, 2009), and the multiple-award-winning travel memoir Squeaky Wheels: Travels with my Daughter by Train, Plane, Metro, Tuk-tuk and Wheelchair (Wyatt-Mackenzie Publishing, 2019). Her short work has appeared in Real Simple,, Brain, Child, The Japan Times, The Asahi Weekly, Wingspan (ANA’s inflight magazine), and many other publications. She has been  interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian (UK), Tokyo Weekender and others about being the mother of biracial children and/or a disabled child in Japan. She earned an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia and currently  lives  in Japan with her Japanese husband.

Suzanne Kamata

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