This haunting, well-crafted novella opens as Jake, 11, raises his little brother, Edward. He reads to him, teaches him how to use the bathroom and, most importantly, teaches him the rules of baseball. Years pass. Edward grows up to be an unusually articulate child with a knack for seeing signs in the world around him.
At eight, he predicts that his mother will have another daughter named Sabine, and she does. Edward dotes on Sabine, and he promises to raise her the way Jake raised him. And to teach her how to throw a knuckleball.
Things take a dramatic turn when Edward dies in a biking accident. Jake becomes outraged when his mother tells him she donated Edward’s eyes, his corneas, after his death. However, when a note comes from the recipient of the eyes, thanking the family and inviting them to a baseball game, Jake starts to come around. The epilogue returns to the present day (as first presented in the prologue) where Edward and his family watch Willie (who now has Edward’s eyes) play in a minor league baseball game.
Although the author relies heavily on cliches, her beautiful use of language and strongly-felt characters make this well worth the hour it takes to read.
Audiobook Note: Milo Ventimiglia (TV and movie actor) does an excellent job conveying the mood and emotion of the book.