A Life of Inches by Douglas Esper

I love a sports story, being the most unsporting person on the face of the planet I think I live my life vicariously through the characters. So this book appeals on that level but what I wasn’t sure about was the competition element because running gloriously in tandem with my lack of sporting acumen is the fact that I’m the least competitive person I know but I have to say that I took my personality foibles and put them firmly on the back burner as I stepped up to the plate and prepared to let the games commence.

Ryan and Woodie had been friends since, well since forever and a bit of healthy competition has proved to be a major catalyst in their friendship, each desperate to outdo the other and take the win at whatever the task was but when Molly enters the fry, the competition becomes something more than they had entered into before and with Ryan on the back foot after Woodie has a run in with Molly’s car and Woodie seizes the initiative it is First strike… Woodie but would it win him the girl?

This is a single point of view story – told from Ryan’s perspective and I am glad of that because I quite liked him, although at times he was easy to get frustrated with – the others were just easy to get darn well irritated by. But that was all part of their character and I applaud the author for keeping the dialogue and story completely genuine.

Woodie was a first class ass! He was volatile and self-centred and seemed to relish lording it over Ryan whenever possible – friends don’t treat each other like that and over the course of the years I found it almost impossible to work out why Ryan was actually still his friend – I would have kicked his ass to the curb years ago!

He didn’t deserve Ryan’s friendship but I have to say that in many respects neither did Molly, he really was a great guy, hardworking, devoted to his parents and a real honest Jo but Molly wasn’t squeaky clean either and I have to say that at times I think I liked her even less than Woodie.

At times she gave me the impression that she was riding Woodie’s coattails, only sticking around him for what his success could bring for her, she wasn’t quite a gold digger as such as she was more than willing and capable of earning her own way on the world, she didn’t want to be the little woman but she wasn’t above using the avenues that were open to her advantage. A shrewd business woman but with a black streak right through her heart that made truly taking to her quite difficult for me.

Ryan was such a great character, so chilled and laid back that it was almost difficult to get a handle on what made the guy tick but what I did get was the fact that he always seemed to be Woodie’s wingman, saving his friend from scraped and scuffles when his volatile temper landed him in it up to his neck. Woodie didn’t really need a friend most of the time, he needed a minder!

I found the book to be more of a chronicle of time rather that a battle between friends for the heart and mind of the woman they both want. I got the competition between the guys but the competition really ran three ways and Molly was a complicit in their games as they were.

I hated the way Molly lied and manipulated, the way she berated the guys for doing what she was doing behind their backs, she was really difficult to comprehend.

When matters came to a head I was devoid of emotion to be honest, they had ground me down and made me understand why I find completion so distasteful, and it brings out the worst in people, just like it did in these three.

The writing was great, the sporting setting and descriptions were fantastic but I needed the characters to give me more, more reasons to like them, more reasons to understand why they were the way they were, more reasons to care and that was the problem, because in the end I just didn’t care what happened


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