Robert Reed Publishers
JUMPING OVER THE MOON by E Dee Monnen
Did you ever set a goal so high that you needed to jump over the moon in order to reach it? That's the exciting theme of JUMPING OVER THE MOON. The novel is about life and love, and there also is some great baseball action with a team made up of Lakota Indians.
The story's main character, Phineas, has a generous heart, but it's also a heart that's failing. Before he dies, he wants to spend more time with his wife, and he must prepare his nephew to run the family business. But his most unusual life goal relates to his ongoing rivalry: Phin wants one last victory over his longtime friend, Mort.
Set in Southern California in the late 1920s, the strong economy of the Roaring Twenties helps Phin and Mort live out their sporting fantasies with a type of one-upmanship that far exceeds normal standards of friendly competition. After a lifetime of sporting duels, battling for the last coveted slot in the Los Angeles Winter Ball League becomes their final challenge—Mort with his Major League pros and Phin with his Lakota nine. Yet through his newly formed friendship with a nearly blind Lakota elder, Phin learns a new way to see life and another way to define victory. But is it in time and at what cost?
This book is available in both soft cover (order here) or as a Kindle (order here).
Talking points for book clubs
1. Not all villains are people. In Jumping Over the Moon the main villain is time. Phineas Gannon is in a desperate race against time.
2. In life and in the novel, some friendships are defined by longevity, such as Phineas and Mort. Would Phin have befriended Mort if they weren’t childhood buddies? Other friendships may be longtime acquaintances defined by a common interest, such as Duke and Phin’s love of sports. And there are those people who become friends because of mutual views of life, love, and honor, such as Amos and Phineas.
3. There are different ways to define victory. Amos Wise Heart has his understanding, which differs from novice baseball club owner Phineas—a contrast which offers both humor and frustration.
4. With only one generation of separation after the end of the American Indian Wars, a Lakota baseball team joins a white man in a fight for victory.
5. Demonstrated in the novel are two examples of American influence in the lives of the Native American—baseball and religion.
6. As they near the end of their lives, Phin fears his boyhood friend Mort has gained the world but has lost his soul.
7. Phin’s keen interest in the welfare of others defines his honorable character, whereas Mort’s self interests define his sordid character.
8. Although Mort isn’t entirely bad, he is a man of lies, dark secrets, and betrayals of which Phin wants no part. And yet, there is a constant pull on Phin to enter Mort’s dark world, beginning with the opening horserace.
9. Jumping Over the Moon is an example of American sports becoming the great equalizer among the races.
10. In the end, kindness, honor, and good moral values win out.
REVIEW BY Richard Blake:
Realizing the Impossible Goal
In "Jumping Over the Moon" author E Dee Monnen focuses on setting a goal so high you might need to "jump over the moon" to reach it. The protagonist Phineas Gannon is a man of fine character with a generous spirit. Over the years he has neglected attention to physical exercise and a moderate diet. A visit to his doctor confirms his suspicions that he is at risk of an impending major heart attack.
Threatened by this knowledge and the certainty of a shortened lifespan, Phin takes a serious look at what he wants from life. He begins training his nephew to take over the family business in preparation for early retirement to enable him to spend more time with his wife Maggie, who he adores.
Phin also wants one last win over his lifelong friend Morton Cunningham. For many years they have had a rivalry centered on promoting an annual competitive sports event. Mort is currently two wins ahead.
The story takes place in the outskirts of Los Angeles in the midst of the Roaring Twenties. It is a wonderful "what if" fictional story based on the history of the Lakota Indians and professional baseball. In their latest and final challenge the stakes are high as Phin and Mort battle it out for the last slot in the Los Angeles Winter Ball League. Mort has recruited a team from major league professionals. while Phin is counting on an unproven team of nine Lakota Indians.
Both men have taken over family businesses and use their unique talents to make them successful. Phin exercises his talent of problem solving as he faces hurdle after hurdle in recruiting an unproven team of nine Lakota Indians. In the process Phin establishes a kindred spirit of bonding with an Indian old-timer, Amos Wise Heart. Through this new friend Phin begins to see life in a new way.
Author E Dee Monnen is recognized for her collection of baseball trivia through her writing and public appearances on radio and TV. "Jumping Over the Moon" is highly entertaining, and motivating, a unique blending of information, philosophy, and faith.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: E Dee Monnen loves collecting interesting bits of baseball history and sharing quirky baseball facts wherever she goes. She’s been a guest on more than 200 radio programs and several television shows, including a national appearance on “Fox & Friends.” She has also been a guest speaker for symposiums, various book clubs, and corporations. See her website: http://monnenbooks.com