Dallas, KLIF Radio Interview
- 1997 During National Book Tour.
Gene's tour for I Never Played Catch With My Father, took him coast-to-coast, where appeared on numerous radio and television shows, including an Oprah invite. All these years later, this interview, at Dallas's KLIF, remain one of his favorites.
This novel, which continues to be a big seller, is as relevant today as then—maybe more.KLIF RADIO INTERVIEW:
"Why Can't A Black Man Write About White Folk?"
by SYNDICATED COLUMNIST LEONARD PITTS JR.
Click title to read Mr. Pitts' Article
Published Monday, July 7, 1997, in the Miami Herald
Editorial Reviews:From Publishers Weekly
I Never Played Catch with My Father is an emotional, intimate story about life that passes all too quickly; about family, baseball, and moments gone forever.
Gene aims straight for the heart, revealing intimate truths about the relationship between a father and his sons, a mother and her daughter. We learn parents often overlook seemingly insignificant events in their children's lives. Years into adulthood, the emotional baggage remains. The truth is, there are no insignificant events in the life of a child.
James Phalen, one of the wealthiest men in America, is worth billions, but his billions cannot buy memories of moments that never were. In Jim's own words:
"I cannot recall a single playful moment spent with father. It is the one thing that defines my lasting disappointment and quantifies my poverty."
Suddenly, uncontrollable events consume him. Jim is being torn from the woman he loves; facing a tragedy he could never have imagined and on a fateful journey he cannot avoid. He must now decide what is most important-searching for answers to lingering questions-or maintaining the public persona his wealth and fame have inflicted upon him.
You too, will be compelled to remember your own childhood, and a time when this world seemed a kinder place.
As we get older and mature, sometimes we come to a crossroad in our lives. This is when we start to examine all aspects of our existence. Some may call it a midlife crisis but for others it is the search for the missing puzzle piece of life. James Phalen is at that point in his life and the one thing that nags him is the fact he never played catch with his father.
I NEVER PLAYED CATCH WITH MY FATHER is a loving tribute to a father who was not always able to convey his feelings with embraces and words, but who loved his children.
James Phalen is one of the richest white men in the United States. He is a savvy businessman who came from poverty and has had major monetary success. However, when his father becomes ill, he decides that all the money and material things in the world will not settle the restlessness within him until he can spend time with his father. He journeys home in hopes of understanding his father but what he discovers is more about himself.
James' father is a religious man with strong convictions who desired only the best for his three children and that meant working very hard on their farm to provide them with the necessities. However, he was a man of few words and even fewer physical demonstrations of affection, he was always serious and James doesn't remember a playful time with his father.
Now it is too late to understand and rectify the situation, or is it? What James discovers while home with his ailing father is that love can be shown in many ways and we have to learn to accept it anyway it is given. He also realizes childhood perceptions can be reinterpreted when we become mature adults.
Gene Cartwright has written a very touching story of how important love is for children. I NEVER PLAYED CATCH WITH MY FATHER was not just about a moment of play, it was the epitome of what children want more than anything from their fathers; love. The story is a pleasant ride through James' life and it comes to a beautiful and emotional end.
Although the author is African-American, his main character is white, which I found very unique and intriguing. Honestly, it would not have mattered what race the characters were, because the story crosses all color barriers. Even though the pace was a little slow in the beginning, the character development, the imagery and the plot will keep readers interested. The novel will appeal to everyone no matter what race or sex because it is truly a timeless story.
Reviewed by Cashana Seals
of The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers