Doug Anderson has come a long way from the sequestered childhood that left him inventing friends and feeling clueless about the outside world.
The transformation culminates with an epiphany on the day Doug’s father passed. Doug believes only a writer could interpret the significance of cascading flower petals as his father drew his final breath. It was as eloquent and compelling as the august baseball games that made them wish for just another inning.
Doug becomes an award-winning journalist in a small Midwestern town and marries Anna, who is named Teacher of the Year. They share a strong physical and philosophical bond and encourage family discussions about race and other social issues.
Although their future looks bright, haunting memories threaten to cause destruction. Anna is reluctant to discuss the details of the death of Shirley, her best friend from high school who also aspired to become a teacher.
Doug has yet to reveal the real reason he left a coveted job at a university in Ohio. His obsession with ascending from the minor leagues of journalism to the majors puts a heavy parental burden on Anna.
When a deep recession forces Doug to trade his press credentials for a CDL to become a truck driver, the downward spiral starts and doesn’t end until he betrays a friend and former colleague.
A family crisis triggers a heated argument between Doug and his daughter, Annette. She knows about his secret emails to another woman.
The jolt forces Doug to see how far he has fallen. He vows to become a better husband and father, starting with advice to his son Danny, who enters an essay contest about friends and family.
The essay, which includes Danny’s account of his friendship with a boy from a Muslim family, galvanizes the Andersons and forces family secrets to the surface. And the Andersons find a way to evolve..