How All This Started

Surrounded by the desolate Texas landscape and with little to do, Austin and his college dropout sister, Abeline, sneak out to the abandoned airstrip every chance they get to practice pitching and to play their own version of baseball, using a ball, glove, and a tire swing. In an effort to make Austin the greatest pitcher of all time, Abeline pushes him to the point of exhaustion. In total submission and admiration, Austin obeys Abeline’s every command, unwilling to admit that her crazy obsession with Nolan Ryan, wild mood swings, and periodic disappearances are an indication that she is not well. When Abeline is institutionalized for manic depression, Austin, without his sister’s constant guidance, must choose between Abeline’s plan for him and his own dreams of playing baseball. Beautifully written and well thought out, Fromm’s debut novel captures the true strength in the bond between a brother and sister. With subtle humor and complete honesty, he portrays the heartbreaking reality of a family dealing with manic depression and a young boy’s struggle to come to terms with his hero’s failings. (From Booklist) This book of Fromm’s is one of five that have won the Northwest Booksellers Association, “Book of the Year” Award.

“With subtle humor and complete honesty, he portrays the heartbreaking reality of a family dealing with manic depression and a young boy’s struggle to come to terms with his hero’s failings.” — BookList (starred review)

“A gutsy effort in the manner of McGuane and McMurty, full of mesquite, creosote and one girl’s violent encounters with the storm of herself.” — The Los Angeles Times

“Pete Fromm’s memorable debut novel is about baseball and mental illness, but those are mostly plot devices. It’s really about the mystery and terrible beauty of families and learning what you don’t know.” — USA Today

“Pete Fromm’s first novel lays bare the raw nerve of love at the core of a teenage boy’s relationship with his mentally ill sister.” —   The New York Times Book Review

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