2017-05-31 / Front Page

New memoir, ‘Playing Catch with Strangers: A Family Guy (Reluctantly) Comes of Age’

Like most of us, Bob Brody has never cheated on his wife, abused drugs, run with a gang, attempted suicide or killed anyone – but he decided to write a memoir anyway. Brody celebrates his almost-but-not-quite normal life in “Playing Catch with Strangers: A Family Guy (Reluctantly) Comes of Age,” to be published Father’s Day, June 18, by Heliotrope Books.

In vignettes – by turns humorous and harrowing – Brody chronicles his ongoing struggle as a conflicted son, a loving but often misguided husband and a trial-and-error parent, to attain something approximating adulthood. “Playing Catch with Strangers” is about Brody’s often tormented, doubly disabled mother; his gentle-hearted but distant, workaholic father; his heroically generous-spirited mother-in-law; his ever-forbearing wife; and his much-blessed son and daughter.

Here, for example, Brody recounts his 10-year estrangement from his mother, deaf since infancy, and a recent reunion and reconciliation with her. He confesses to a minor crime he committed as a boy against his father, also deaf, but never told him about while he lived. He reveals how a man with a gun in his hand, running toward Brody and his wife, forced him to prove once and for all exactly how much he would sacrifice for her. 

On the lighter side, Brody explains how a drunken comment, obnoxious beyond belief, almost blew his first date with his future wife, why his bid to be a hero to his family during a stormy ride on a ferry proved hilariously ill-fated, and how he discovered one day at the office that he was suddenly among the oldest employees there, a full-fledged tribal elder.

“Playing Catch with Strangers” is about Bob Brody’s occasional successes and frequent failures; about his often-hapless attempts to be a good son, a good husband, a good father and, yes, a good son-in-law; and about his emergence, long overdue and against all odds, from spoiled suburbanite to someone vaguely resembling a grown-up, a family man from head to toe.

Learn more at www.playingcatchwithstrangers.com, or www.facebook.com/playingcatchwithstrangers 

Bob Brody is a longtime executive and personal essayist. His work has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, and The Wall Street Journal, among other publications. He is a husband of 38 years and father of two adult children, Michael and Caroline.


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