So much of Ruth Devon’s life has revolved around basketball. After her college ball career ended in injury, she married her coach, and took to the floor as a sideline commentator on games. Sometimes, she’d fill in in the announcing booth.
It’s only fitting that she would reach a crossroad in her life during the NBA finals.
The Second Season explores how Ruth attempts to juggle her desire to be a “better” mother with her professional ambition. She lives and breathes basketball, and her daughter has sometimes (often?) taken a back seat to Ruth’s career. (But she’s okay with it, right? Ari understands?) Ruth’s ex-husband retired from coaching to follow her into commentating, only he’s allowed in the booth full-time. Ruth wants his spot badly, but the demands may be incompatible with the life her boyfriend wants with her. Does she want a second chance at settling down and finding fulfillment in family life? Or does she fight for the job she knows should be hers?
This is a very interior type of book. The reader spends their time looking over Ruth’s shoulder. The trouble with this type of story is that the main character makes or breaks it. I found Ruth to be a challenging character to like. Mostly because she seemed to talk herself in circles when it seemed screamingly obvious what the right decision was going to be for her. But I think that makes her all the more realistic. I know I’ve ruminated on decisions where I knew what the “real” answer was even as I wished it were something different. The exploration of the conflict of professional ambition and personal relationships is well done throughout the book. The author is clear that Ruth is not a role model for all women; Ruth openly states that she is not a feminist. Her conflict is her own.
The Second Season is a thoughtful book about one woman’s mid-life crisis with a little bit of basketball on the side.
I was given a complimentary copy of this book via NetGalley in order to facilitate this review.