Pops and Sunshine
by Dave Andrews
Teacher’s Comments: An enjoyable evening’s read
In Pops and Sunshine, Dave Andrews has penned an enjoyable evening’s read. Without intending any sort of insult, there’s a sort of NBC Movie of the Week quality to it: nice characters, a storyline packed into four days and a happy ending.
The story revolves around Futures Tour player Lisa Nelson, a poor girl who must win her Tour card in the final tournament of the season or go home to help her recently widowed mother and her brothers. Nelson arrives in New Hampshire early for the tournament and by chance plays a round with Dave Johnston, a longtime member at the club where the tournament is being held. Johnston, a retired wealthy businessman and the club’s best putter, agrees to caddy for Nelson in the upcoming tournament.
Johnston feels a connection with Nelson because she so resembles his own daughter, whom he lost along with his wife in a car accident a few years previous. He takes her under his wing and into his family almost immediately.
I at first thought that the book would end up as a May-September romance, but the love interest in the story is provided by Johnston’s nephew, Rob. And that’s a good thing, because a Dave-Lisa romance would have been creepy, given her resemblance to his daughter.
Villainy in the novel is provided by Shelly Steele, a player whom Nelson must beat to get her Tour card. While competitive and not a particularly nice person, Steel doesn’t do much more than play some mind games and good golf. Her caddy is worse.
The golf is realistic, and it’s apparent—unlike some other “golf” novels I’ve read recently—that Andrews both follows the game and plays it. I also think he’s also been involved in some tournament golf because the ebb and flow have an authentic feel.
With a clean and breezy writing style, Andrews has a good ear for conversation and has created some believable and likable characters. The novel gets a bit schmaltzy at times, but that’s in keeping with the “movie of the week” tone.
I keep coming back to the “movie of the week” not because it’s a bad thing, but because I sincerely believe that Pops and Sunshine would make a good one. No deeper truths about human nature are examined; that’s not what this is about. Pops and Sunshine simply is a nice story about nice people.
Pops and Sunshine apparently is a self-published, self-distributed novel, so you can only get it at http://www.popsandsunshine.com. Be warned, however, that the site has a java doodad that tends to lock up my browser—you may have some trouble getting through.