Swing For The Fences
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Winnipeg Jewish Review, Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

The Story Behind My First Novel

When I was 20 I knew I wanted to write a novel. Countless drafts, hours of editing, and many choices to be had proves that anyone can write a book. This is the story behind the story.

Swing For The Fences is a work of fiction; an adventure/romance story that is intended for young adults but can be enjoyed by all ages. It is a story about a quest for love leading a Jewish boy from the prairies to the east side of Canada to find true love. Swing For The Fences is an inspirational story of growing up and change. It's about giving life everything you've got to get what you truly desire.

Swing For The Fences was a vision that was put together in a unique way. I knew where the story was going to end, but had no idea how I was going to get there. The story was constructed in a special way. I worked full-time during the day and wrote at nights. Inspiration from my daily life, nature, movies, music and much more helped change the path of the book. During the writing process I stumbled upon a poetry book I had written with countless poems. I knew I wanted to insert some of them into my story to add a personal element. A personal element was essential for me because the driving force behind this book is to send a message. That message is to give life your all and go after what you truly desire. The title Swing For The Fences is a metaphor for life.

The response to Swing For The Fences has overall been a very positive one! The book has taken its own journey making stories in national publications and appearances on television. That is not the most joyous thing to me. I've received several e-mails, phone calls and have had people track me down in person to congratulate and thank me for writing my book. The fact that people read my words and I make an impact on them means the world to me!

The most valuable lesson I learned writing a story about love, and that I've been able to apply to my own life, is that love is like treasure. Many try to search for love in their lives but come up empty. To find that treasure we must show patience and wait for that love to appear in front of us. When we see that love we must give our all and swing for the fences because love is the best treasure of life!

More about Braunstein's Swing For The Fences can be found at www.swingforthefences.ca

The Jewish Post & News, Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

Young Professionals Spotlight:

Gilli is a local author who has published a novel entitled Swing For The Fences. He also has written for various newspapers across the country, mainly on sports and human interest pieces.

He is 23 years old, with a Bachelor of Arts in History, and plans to stay in Winnipeg. This coming fall, Gilli will be enrolling in the Faculty of Education at the University of Manitoba.

Swing For The Fences is Gilli's first published book, having made its McNally Robinson debut on May 27th, 2009 at the Grant Park location.

The novel is a multi-genre work of fiction; an adventure/romance story that is intended for young adults.

"The book's message that readers should walk away with is to give life your all and go after what you truly desire in life. Although this book is fiction, the message is real. In my life I'm currently in a happy place because I've been going after what I truly want in life!"

The novel is written in a first person narrative. Although the story is not real, it allows Gilli to give a personal perspective by keeping the story about a young adult Jewish boy growing up in Winnipeg, travelling and pursuing a quest for love.

In addition to writing, Gilli enjoys working with youth, volunteering, keeping active and travelling.

When Swing For The Fences debuted at McNally Robinson, Gilli did a public reading. He continues to be available to speak at schools, community centres, libraries and other venues.

Swing For The Fences is available for purchase at $25.00 (hardcover). It is now available at Coles Bookstore in City Place, McNally Robinson (Grant Park Shopping Centre), and online.

The book has also been featured at the Winnipeg Jewish Book Fair for the past two years.

A sequel, Swing For The Fences 2, has been completed with a release date still to be determined.

More information is available on the book's website: www.swingforthefences.ca

Story by Eva Cohen

Night Owl Romance, October 14th, 2009

Street Date:    October 19th, 2008
Author: Gilli Braunstein
Genres: Young Adult
Hearts: 4/5

Gilli Braunstein was living a normal life. He had a girlfriend, lots of friends and was athletic. His life became a bit more exciting when his friend asked him to play basketball for team Winnipeg in the Maccabi Games. He automatically said yes and was soon on his way to Montreal. While they were there, they stayed with a host family. The second night during the Maccabi Games was "Host Family Night". The woman they were staying with, Debbie, invited family and friends over for dinner. That is when Gilli meets Rachel.

Gilli instantly took a liking to Rachel. Although he had a girlfriend back at home, all Gilli could think about was Rachel. Other girls liked Gilli but he turned them all down. Gilli knew he wanted to be with Rachel. He also knew that the distance between Winnipeg and Montreal could be problem.

Does Gilli go back and see Rachel after the Maccabi Games are over? Does he ever tell her how he feels about her? Do they eventually hook up? Or does Rachel not see Gilli in the same way and just as a friend?

I really enjoyed this story. It shows that you should always chase your dreams or you will live life without knowing what it would have been like if you did. I think many young adults will enjoy reading this book because they can relate it to their lives as well. This story was a page-turner - I couldn't put it down from the moment I began reading it. I'm sure that anyone who reads this book will enjoy reading it as much as I did.

This story can be found at http://www.nightowlromance.com/nightowlromance/reviews/Review.aspx?daoid=4671

Review by Jessica Reeling
Night Owl Romance

CM Magazine Volume XVI, Number 6, October 9th, 2009

Swing For The Fences
Grades 8-10 / Ages 13-15
Review by Ann Ketcheson


Tamir, Ozzi, the girls and I got in the car and Rachel drove us to the park. The guys and I were seated in the back of Rachel's car and I was seated behind the driver's seat. I kept peaking [sic] at the driver's rear view mirror so I could see Rachel. The mirror was positioned perfectly so I could see her eyes. They say when you find true love, time stops. The entire car ride seemed as if time had come to a stand still [sic] and the only thing that continued to move was my heart. I don't remember what happened during that car ride or how long it was, all I remember was that we had arrived at the park.

What causes us to fall in love and know, absolutely, that we have found the right life partner? Gilli Braunstein is in his mid-teens when, as part of Team Winnipeg, he first travels to Montreal to play basketball in the Maccabi Games. At a dinner planned by his host family, he meets Rachel, and for Gilli it is love at first sight. Back home in Winnipeg, he and Rachel manage to stay in touch thanks to the computer, but a long-distance romance isn't enough for Gilli. He eventually drives the distance to Montreal to surprise Rachel with a visit and find out for sure if, as he believes, she is truly the love of his life.

The baseball analogy in the novel's title sums up Gill's philosophy of life: you have to 'swing for the fences.' In other words, you must go after dreams whole-heartedly and not let anything dissuade you from pursuing your goals. Life should be tackled with enthusiasm and perseverance. Gilli certainly tries to live by this credo and does everything he can to win Rachel's heart, including flowers, thoughtful gifts and personal visits...

CM Magazine

What If? Magazine Volume 7, Issue 2, Summer 2009

Swing For The Fences Review

I've always enjoyed reading the works of first time authors. They bring fresh new ideas to the page, kind of like jumping in a pool of lemonade on a Miami summer day. Cool, refreshing and best of all new. Sadly, we sometimes have pieces that just don't work for us. That was how Swing For The Fences was for me. I was excited at first, thinking about a new fresh author coming into the universe of writing but I struggled a little as I got into the book.

Swing For The Fences is a memoir about a man who finds (or tries to find) true love. He travels hundreds of kilometres just to find the girl of his dreams. In the book our hero's name is Gilli Braunstein, a loyal, kindhearted guy who is looking for more in his life. At first we see his childhood, his love for baseball and small town life in Manitoba.

I found the setting of this book really unique, just because most of the books that I happen to read are set in well known cities like New York or other cities in the United States. Reading about a small Canadian city was a subtle quirk of this book. Gilli travels with his Jewish basketball team to Montreal where he meets Rachel. Smart, pretty, just his type. Too bad he lives across the country and can hardly see her. Over time he builds his relationship with her and finally, he believes she is "The One." Will he tell Rachel about his love or forget about her entirely?

Swing For The Fences is a quick read for travel book lovers. My feeling is that the book would be best for teens around the age of sixteen to eighteen. This is not because of any questionable content but I found it harder to relate to this book than most I have read. Younger teens may feel either confused or even a little bored but this, of course, depends on their reading level.

Overall I'd say that even though it didn't work well for me I believe it's a good start for this author and I am willing to wait and see what he cooks up next.

Author's note: This review by What If? Magazine was done by a 14-year old girl. The subject matter of the book is targeted at young adults (generally older than the girl who wrote the review). This explains why this reader found the book "harder to relate to."

Priya Raina, Age 14
Calgary, AB

The Tab, Thursday, May 21st, 2009,
The Winnipeg Free Press, Sunday, May 24th, 2009,
The Winnipeg Sun, Wednesday, May 27th, 2009, and The Metro, Wednesday, May 27th, 2009.

An ad for the McNally Robinson book event was published in the May 21st, 2009 edition of The Tab, the May 24th, 2009 edition of the Winnipeg Free Press (front page of 'Arts & Life' section) and the May 27th editions of The Winnipeg Sun and The Metro.

The Uniter Volume 64, Published Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

Swing For The Fences Review

Don't let the title of Gilli Braunstein's Swing for the Fences fool you - this book isn't about the game of baseball, but rather about the game of life.

Baseball is used as a metaphor in the book, though. "Swing for the fences" is an expression about swinging as hard as you can, trying to hit a home run. Take that same principle and apply it to life, and you have an idea about what this book is about.

While many of us don't seek what we truly want in life, Swing for the Fences is about giving life everything you've got, to get what you truly desire.

Written by 22-year-old Winnipeg writer Gilli Braunstein, this adventure/romance story involves a tale of growing up. In a first-person narrative, Braunstein chronicles the protagonist's journey to win the affection of a young woman named Rachel.

The narrator, a teenage boy from the prairies, meets Rachel in Quebec. They are separated by geography but connected by a burning passion within. The protagonist visits Rachel many times, but in the end decides to earn her love by driving across the country unannounced to see her.

The quest for love becomes a tale of growing up, making Swing for the Fences a good read, especially for young adults.

This book is very appealing because the story is very personal. Braunstein, who graduated from the University of Manitoba with a degree in history, did not write this book as your typical novel. It is intimate because there are poems written by the main character included throughout, which helps give the reader an idea of what he's like.

I felt like the main character reading this book, not only because I could relate to the story and the poetry, but because the book was written in first person. The story itself is fictional, but the message - to give life your all and always swing for the fences - is one worth reading.

Swing for the Fences is Braunstein's first published book. Given how good it is, one hopes that it won't be his last.

This story can be found at http://uniter.ca/view/830

Story by Scott Martin

Shaw TV, May 2009

Swing For The Fences made its television debut on Shaw TV with an interview by Joanne Kelly.

On Manitoba

On Manitoba, April 2009

Braunstein, Gilli [BA/08] had his book Swing For The Fences published recently. The story, a fictional adventure/romance, is intended for young adults. On the Web at swingforthefences.ca

Uptown Magazine, One to Watch, Wednesday, February 19th, 2009

One To Watch

A Home Run
Gilli Braunstein's Swing For The Fences is a modern book for modern youth
By Jared Story

Gilli Braunstein is big on baseball, so it makes sense that the 22-year-old River Heights resident would call his first novel Swing For The Fences. But don't let the title fool you. This book isn't about bats, balls or Barry Bonds.

"I'm passionate about baseball and I figured I had to somehow get it in there, but it's not about baseball per se," Braunstein says. "Baseball is a metaphor used in the book. 'Swing For The Fences' is an expression in baseball, but it can also mean to give life your all. Although the book is fiction and not real, the message, however, is. The message is if you're passionate about something, you have to give life your all and go for it, because that's the only way."

Swing For The Fences is an adventure/romance story aimed at young adults. After completing two years of study at the University of Manitoba, Braunstein decided to take a year off to write. His original intention was not to write a book but rather, to do some freelance sports or human-interest writing. But in the fall of 2006, after recognizing a lack of literature directed towards present-day youth, the idea for Swing For The Fences hit Braunstein.

"There aren't many things written that take place in the 21st century about Canadian young people," he says.

"Reading when I was younger, there weren't (relatable) things to talk about, like adventure and romance from a young person's perspective in a modern era where there's Internet, travel, things like that. I felt the need for a story to have modernity to it that young people can relate to."

After writing the book, Braunstein returned to school, completing a bachelor of arts degree in history last spring. In the summer, he managed to get Swing for the Fences printed and the book is now available at Coles in City Place. Braunstein, who is now applying to the Faculty of Education at the U of M, says writing the book was a daunting task, but one well worth it.

"Anybody who's done something somewhat successful has to be a little crazy." Braunstein says. "I'm not that type of person, to be honest, but I was passionate about doing this, so I had to be crazy. I swung for the fences."

You can learn more about Swing for the Fences at www.swingforthefences.ca.

This story can be found at

Winnipeg Free Press, Saturday, November 29th, 2008 and
Jewish Post & News, Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008

An ad for the Jewish Book Fair was published in the November 29th, 2008 edition of the Winnipeg Free Press and the December 3rd edition of the Jewish Post & News.

The Jewish Post & News, Wednesday, November 19th, 2008

Rady Jewish Community Campus

Wednesday December 10th, 7:00 p.m.
Gilli Braunstein
Swing For The Fences

Swing For The Fences is a multi-genre book by Gilli Braunstein. This adventure/romance book is an inspirational story of growing up and change and incorporates the pursuit of love and the 22-year-old author's love of baseball. Gilli Braunstein is a graduate of the University of Manitoba with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History. Swing For The Fences is his first published book.

The Jewish Post & News, Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Gilli Braunstein is also launching his first book in the near future. He describes the 130-page Swing For The Fences as an adventure/romance which involves the pursuit of love and incorporates the 22-year-old author's love of baseball.

The son of Marshall and Dvora Braunstein says that he has always wanted to write, and has done some writing mostly for on-line publications. He started work on Swing For The Fences two years ago and completed the draft last fall. The book was printed by Art Bookbindery in Winnipeg.

"I had 100 copies printed," he says. "I hope to get the books into bookstores for Christmas. After that, I may try promoting the book in Ontario and Quebec."

Braunstein, who has a B.A, plans to spend the next few months promoting his book. Next fall, he will be enrolling in the Faculty of Education at the University of Manitoba.

Story by Myron Love