Little Balls, Big Dreams
by James Wolfe
Teacher’s Comments: A nice little book
James Wolfe’s Little Balls, Big Dreams is a cute little fantasy about a guy who – after hitting a hole-in-one – finds that he is magically transformed into a tour caliber player.
It’s every golfer’s dream, of course, to suddenly discover the magic swing. It’s also the case that nearly every serious golfer has gone through a streak that—for a short while—makes it seem possible. But few among us are foolish enough to believe that it will last. And none would quit their jobs to take a shot at joining the Tour on the basis of a few hot rounds.
And yet, that’s exactly what Matt True does in the novel. In spite of a lifetime of playing solid, but uninspired golf, he abandons his career and sets out to join the Tour. While it all doesn’t go according to plan and there is a price to be paid, there’s no Faustian bargain. Matt True gets a shot at his dream while maintaining a grip on his soul.
A leap of faith is required to make the story work. The reader has to believe that True somehow knows the transformation is real, and not temporary or imagined. I had a hard time with it. My brushes with brilliance have been fleeting; the perfect swing never lasts for more than a couple of rounds.
Strangely, part of the problem was that the story was not fantastic enough. Had there been an appearance by a golf god or a course fairy it somehow would have been more believable. Wolfe briefly touches on the teachings of a wacky golf guru, and later on mysterious effects of a True’s former high school golf coach, but leaves both those ends dangling.
Before I go quit my job and try out for the tour, I’m going to need a direct revelation from a higher power.
The novel is, for the most part, well written. There were a few paragraphs that seemed awkward and a couple of sections of forced dialog, but those were easy to overlook. Wolfe’s style is casual and easy to read.
I can give this book a cautious recommendation.