Bill Faulhaber had an interesting concept for a book: He’d gather emails about his life that he had sent to family and friends and turn them into a memoir. The result is An Unconventional Lifetime Journey: My 269 E-mail Stories.
Faulhaber grew up in Ohio, where he was introduced to golf, which became his passion, first as a participant, then as a salesman and executive for Spalding and other golf entities. His favorite sport is also his favorite topic. Although he writes—briefly—about his family, high school days, acquaintances and retirement in Florida, the vast majority of chapters are devoted to golf. He explains the evolution of various pieces of equipment, sales strategies, the inner workings at Spalding, and more.
Each email/chapter is supposedly devoted to one subject, but, as many do when writing emails, the author often goes off topic, changing subjects in mid-paragraph and sometimes failing to finish his thoughts. Chapters aren’t arranged chronologically, which makes tracking his life trajectory challenging.
Readers will also find inaccuracies. Faulhaber writes about a ballplayer, Whitey Kworoski, who played for Boston. In fact, the last name was Kurowski (Faulhaber dismisses his error with “I’m sure that spelling is incorrect”) and the team was St. Louis, not Boston.
Finally, grammar, spelling and punctuation errors abound. Things go “to” fast; trucks have “breaks”; friends were in “there thirties,” and people “loose” things. Granted, the book is constructed from emails, which by their nature are informal. But the countless errors make reading difficult, and Faulhaber dismisses the idea of even a cursory edit: “[Y]ou do no [sic] touch or alter artist paintings. The same goes for what I have written, correct or incorrect . . .”
More attention to writing issues would have made this book more readable and, thus, more appealing to a broader audience. As is, the offering seems most appropriate for the author’s family and friends—the original recipients of his 269 emails.