The Five Wishes of Mr. Murray McBride
by Joe Siple
Published 2018, 233 pages
5 stars out of 5
What’s not to love about a book that left me with a heart about to burst and adoring the characters so much I wish I could meet them in person. It’s amazing to finish a book feeling as though I’m a better person for having known these people through its pages, even though they were fictional! And as we hit the two-year mark of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, we could all use a bit of the hopeful heroism we’ll find in these characters.
The characters and the wishes
Jason Cashman is a video-game-playing, spunky 10-year-old boy, with five things he wants to accomplish before he dies. The first problem is they’re not that easy:
- He wants to kiss a girl.
- He wants to hit a home run in a major league baseball stadium.
- He wants to be a superhero.
- He wants to find a boyfriend for his mom.
- He wants to perform real magic.
The next problem is that Jason needs a heart transplant desperately, so achieving the five things on his list is literally a race against time.
Mr. Murray McBride (he insists on being called that) is a 100-year-old curmudgeon and was once a major league baseball player for the Chicago Cubs. He has been a bitter mess ever since his beloved wife died 18 months ago, and he has about decided life isn’t worth living…until he meets Jason and becomes obsessed with helping Jason’s wishes come true.
Tiegan Rose Marie Atherton is Jason’s best friend and a 10-year-old phenom, whose quick wit, keen intelligence, and fierce loyalty put her in my pantheon of favorite fictional characters of all time. Tiegan is who we all want to be when we grow up: wise, compassionate, and the perfect balance of hopeful and realistic.
These three—Jason, Mr. Murray McBride, and Tiegan— share a bond of loving baseball and wanting nothing more than to make Jason’s wishes come true. As they start checking each wish off Jason’s list, everyone who knows them—right along with the reader—is cheering them on and believing in miracles. You’ll need your tissues, but it’s so worth it.
SBK: Strong • Brave • Kind
I will never forget the acronym”SBK” that Tiegan exchanged repeatedly with her mother whenever they saw each other. It was their secret code to remind each other always to be STRONG, BRAVE, and KIND. Now that’s a mantra that will stand anyone in good stead throughout their Heartspoken Life.
P.S. As I post this, I see that the author has a sequel that came out in early 2021: The Final Wish of Mr. Murray McBride. I’ve just downloaded it to my Kindle!
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