Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Miracle On the 17th Green - James Patterson and Peter De Jonge

Miracle On The 17th Green
James Patterson and Peter De Jonge
Little, Brown, and Company


Authors James Patterson and Peter De Jonge apparently possess some kind of sorcery, for I know nothing about the game of golf, nor do I care. Somehow, I found myself pulled along in this story of Everyman Travis McKinley as he hits the mother of all midlife crises.

Travis has it pretty good, really. He’s got a beautiful wife who is a respected obstetrician and lecturer; three exceedingly bright and attractive children; a lovely home; a job in advertising that requires him to appear each day but only be ‘good’ three times a year or so; and plenty of time to play golf. But Travis feels invisible in his own life. He’s pretty sure that after the first of the year, his ad agency is going to can him. He feels a certain distance from his wife that terrifies him. The only thing that goes right as this Christmas rolls around is an incredible round of solitary golf. That makes him hours late for Christmas dinner and does nothing to improve his standing with the family.

He does, in fact, get fired from his job. His immediate reaction is to send in the $3,000 entry fee to attend the Senior Tour Qualifying School. Each year, most slots in the Senior Tour go to former pros and winners of past events, but there are eight slots available to the guys who can get through the School and qualify in the top eight. Except for iconoclast grampa (the grampa everyone would love to have) Travis’ circle of family and friends think he’s lost it.

The outcome of this great gamble of middle life is never really in doubt, unless you haven’t read the title. Even a non-golfer like me gets it. I can’t say that Travis is innately likeable, but he’s self-deprecating enough to avoid being a total sad sack. This is a very slight book, and can be read in a matter of hours, especially if you simply scan through the details of the rounds. Knowledge of golf is clearly not necessary here. Just a willingness to believe, for the duration of the story, that given the right circumstances, anyone has a shot.

Rating: 7
May 2010 (reprint from 1999)
ISBN# 978-0-316-09210-4 (hardcover)


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