Book Review: Overtime: A Basketball Parable

Here is the second review of my new novel to go up on


If you played or spent much time around high school athletics, you will find this book to be a thoughtful and satisfying meditation in a setting as familiar as that old pair of Chuck Taylors you still miss. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Ellis’ book is a first-person muse by a former high school basketball coach who is forced to examine his life in order to escape a purgatory of watching his failures in the form of former students and players throwing up shot after shot on a broken-down asphalt basketball court. The story unfolds quite ably through episodes or vignettes that play out in the coach’s memories.

The story is good enough, but Ellis’ true gift lies in his ability to understand and explain his characters’ motives and also to capture the emotional and sensory details of the public high school where his drama plays out. His treatment of human motivation and pride is excellent. He understands the social battlefield of high school and incorporates it into the background of the story almost as a separate character without resorting to melodrama. This is not a book about high school for high school students. It is a mature look at life in retrospect. As an adult who is quickly approaching 25 years separation from high school I now know that it was both more important and less important than I thought while I was there. Ellis captures that contradiction well.

Ellis is still developing as a writer, and the book is not perfect. Nevertheless, Overtime is a good book. In parts it is wonderful. It is thoughtful and contemplative. Its exploration of universal themes such as grace and redemption, forgiveness and regret is worthwhile. I recommend it.



How can you pass this up?


You can buy the book here:

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