Summary: It’s good to live in a community where people watch out for each other — except when they scrutinize you a bit too closely.
Nick Marhoffer and his wife, Marcy, live in Misty Hill, an upper middle-class suburb of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Nick is a journalist for the local newspaper and Marcy works for a big public relations firm. They have one all around average kid, their 7-year-old son, Wesley.
Nick signs Wesley up for Little League and agrees to coach a team. Nick figures he can handle some boys Wesley’s age, despite his own lack of baseball skills. Anyone familiar with team sports knows it’s not the kids who are the problem, it’s the parents. Nick is about to learn that lesson.
Nick finds himself under scrutiny and pressure from the other coaches, the parents and most of all, his wife. Marcy isn’t happy with the way he looks at one of the other team mothers, but Nick can’t seem to stay away from sexy Tess Sugarmeier. After Nick is laid off from his job, their marriage gets even rockier. As if Nick isn’t doing a good enough job getting himself into hot water, the town gossips unjustly turn up the heat until his volunteer coaching job is in jeopardy.
Comments: One of the great things about doing book reviews for a publisher is reading books that are out of my normal comfort zone. I never had to deal with Little League, but my son was on a soccer team one year when he was about 10 and my own first marriage was rocky, so I could relate to Made to Break Your Heart. I remember the hours in the sun battling insects, the gossipy, controlling parents and the horrid snack bar duties. I could also relate to the locale as I was born and raised in the Mid-Atlantic area. One section of the book takes place at Camden Yards in Baltimore. It was a chance to feel like I was back there with my own kids again.
The book kept my interest and I really wanted to see if Nick resolved his problems. I didn’t personally like every character, particularly Marcy, but they are all portrayed realistically. Finally, I think the book could benefit from a different title.