Tony lives at home with his parents, working a dead end job at a big box store that took over the small town where they live. Tony had dreams of college and big time baseball. He also figured he’d come out to his family when he was away. Sadly, when that big box store came to town, it put his father’s small hardware store out of business, and money for college disappeared. So, here he is, living with his parents and big sister and playing baseball for the company team.
Tony has a crush on his teammate, Alex. However, Alex is straight (Hmmmm). Tony’s best friend has been trying to convince him to make a move on Alex. She bases this on the gay, erotic romance stories she reads where one of the main characters becomes gay for you, meaning the character had always identified as straight until he meets a gay man who he falls in love with…the only man he could fall in love with.
Tony is skeptical, but he just wants Alex so much, he decides to give her crazy plan a try.
I liked this book. I thought Tony and Alex were adorable. Sure, there were issues. Tony still lived at home with his family at the age of 24 because his job doesn’t pay him enough to move out on his own. Alex is in the same predicament, but he has the added problem of an overly religious mother, a father who isn’t around because of his job in another town, and what I can only describe is a mega brat of a younger brother.
Their relationship develops slowly. They play on the same baseball team, and they’re friends. However, as I read along, I picked up on little cues telling me there was already something a little deeper going on than either young man knew. I enjoyed the bits of humor they shared, and I was also a fan of how close they were becoming through work and other activities, both alone or when they were out with their friends.
Speaking of their friends, they had a whole mess of them. They played on a baseball team, so there were a bunch of other guys. The main two are Mike and Sean, and they were really funny. I don’t want to go into a lot of spoilers, but they play a very important role in Tony and Alex’s budding relationship. Tony’s best friend Jennifer made me laugh. She was a romantic at heart, and she wanted Tony to be happy. She knew Alex would make Tony happy, so she set out on a campaign to make that happen.
I have to admit I was frustrated with the guys’ families. I found myself wondering if they were just being played for laughs, or if they really were just overbearing and smothering. The term helicopter parent would be an understatement here. Yes, I understand parents think of their children as their babies, no matter how old they are, but Tony’s mother drove me up a wall. She was sweet, but I just wanted to shake her every now and then to remind her Tony was a grown up and tell her to leave him the hell alone! I despised Alex’s mother, and I think you will to. She’s on her way to redemption at the end, but it didn’t make me feel much better because she was so awful during most of the story.
Of course, you must have a bad guy, and I’m going to declare Zach is that guy. He starts out nice enough, but I came to think of him as somewhat of a snake in the grass. I didn’t trust him, and it turns out I was right. That’s all I’m going to say on that because, as I said, I don’t want to give anything away.
The Outfielders was a longish book, so there was a lot going on. Sometimes, I thought it crawled along a little too slowly. I found myself skimming a bit in the middle, especially since I was frustrated at the guys’ situations. I lived at home until I got married, so I know what it felt like to have parents who overdid it in the I do it because I love you department. Also, I did some crying. Robert P. Rowe did a great job in bringing emotion to the story.
All in all, The Outfielders was a good book. It had a little of everything…romance, sex, humor, desperation, and friendship. I highly recommend it, and I would not hesitate to read more books by Robert P. Rowe.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.