As a fan of the Detroit Tigers and baseball in general, I’m always on the hunt for books about the sport. One that I stumbled upon at my local library was by David Duchovny (yes, that guy from the X-Files).
Even though we as readers are not told to judge a book by its cover, it was the cover and the title that drew me to Duchovny’s Bucky F*cking Dent. It isn’t every day that I get to read a book about baseball that also happens to have an expletive in the title.
While I tend to gravitate towards non-fiction books, BFD was a pleasant piece of fiction that hooked me from the start. Part of the book I loved the most was Duchovny’s matter-of-fact, conversational writing style.
Even though there weren’t any mentions of the Detroit Tigers, I still appreciated all of the baseball references – even if they weren’t all 100% accurate.
Despite the book featuring the Green Monster from Fenway Park on the cover, the story is really about a man who makes his living selling peanuts at Yankee Stadium. The main character has one of the best names imaginable: Ted Lord Fenway Fullilove, but his fans at Yankee Stadium call him Mr. Peanut. His father, Marty Fullilove, is a misplaced Red Sox fan living in New York working as an ad man. Even though Ted flips peanuts to fans in the upper decks of Babe’s house, his real goal is to write the great American novel.
Ted suffers through the pains of trying to write his novel when he gets the advice that he needs to suffer a bit. Ironically, Ted learns that his father is dying, so he decides to move in with the man he hasn’t spoken to in few years. While the two have little in common, they do share a love of baseball. And it’s the baseball that keeps the elder Fullilove going. That and a little bit of weed to ease the pain that Marty suffers through in the book.
While the book is truly character-driven through the eyes of Ted Fullilove, the pennant race between the Yankees and the Red Sox provides some of the tension in the story. The 1978 pennant race between the Red Sox and the Yankees came down to the wire as did the relationship between the father and son.
The 1978 American League pennant race between the Yankees and Red Sox was tight all the way to the end of the season. The Yankees finished the season with a record of 100-63. The Red Sox finished with a record of 99-64. The two teams had to play game 163 to decide who would face the Kansas City Royals in the ALCS. The Yankees won that series and they defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers four games to two in the World Series. The MVP of the World Series was Bucky Dent, which was a joy for Yankees’ fans like Ted Fullilove.