From the Sideline
by Amy Avanzino
From the Sideline is the second book in The Wake-Up Series by Amy Avanzino. Many reviewers praised the first book, Wake-Up Call, as a very funny novel. This is confusing because From the Sideline has humorous notes and certainly moments I can relate to, but they are more than balanced out by the difficulties, past and present, of the main character, Autumn Kovac. In fact, the major problems in the lives of Autumn and her son Zachery are rather dark. My other point of confusion is that Wake-Up Call’s main character is Sarah Winslow, not Autumn Kovac. While it is fine to write a series based on a theme rather than a character, there is a supporting character named Sarah (no last name given) in From the Sideline. I guess I will have to read Wake-Up Call to find out if it is the same Sarah and to read a book with a more generous serving of humor.
From the Sideline combines a number of themes. It focuses on an overly protective single mom, a survivor of several abusive situations, whose awkward, intelligent, and bullied son wants to play football. Autumn Kovac receives an in-depth, rapid introduction to youth football: terminology that seems like a foreign language, coaches who range from caring mentors to frustrated men trying to recapture the glory days of promising sports careers, enthusiastic football moms and dads, and pressured players who are really just kids who want to play.
Another theme is, of course, one that most people experience–the wake-up call. Bad habits and ways of responding to others creep up on us, and Autumn learns to recognize that as well as how to disengage herself and make healthier choices.
Although circumstances vary, most women can probably identify with some parts of this story and engage with the main character who, like all of us, has some difficult choices to make. It’s “chick lit,” and while I enjoyed this book as an entertaining read, I came away with food for thought as well.
I extend my thanks to NetGalley and the publisher Henery Press for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.