“Four by One,” a new novel by Dave Liberati, features numerous ties to Malone and is inspired by a recent Pioneer relay team. Set in Manasseh County, the story follows four women through an unusual track season that leads to even more unusual bonds.
Within the plot of the book, the four main girls are on a relay team and end up qualifying for a state meet. Through breaking a school record at that meet, the girls are met by a series of odd coincidences.
“This book is dedicated to a young lady named Gloria Dawes, and she was a lead off runner on this relay team in 2005,” said Dave Liberati, author of the book and father of former Malone runners. “My daughter ran as the second runner, and the two other girls who ran had an extremely average season that seemed to be going nowhere. They got to be close during that season and the season after. Then, in 2011, when each one of them was headed into their last year of school, [Dawes] was killed in a car crash on Labor Day weekend.”
Liberati said he watched how the other three women on the relay team reacted to this tragic event. He said he started asking himself how one deals with this type of loss and what happens after. He said he believed that the idea to write “Four by One” was a gift from God.
The main idea of this story was to ask difficult questions: How do we remember friends? How does loss influence the rest of one’s life? Do acts of love influence life, and does God pay attention?
Mostly, the novel centers around the idea that maybe there are no such thing as coincidences.
Rita Giles, daughter of Dave Liberati, became involved in “Four by One” after he came to visit her with the finished manuscript. She said she immediately got tears in her eyes upon seeing the written manuscript. Giles said that she feels that Liberati did a great job of showing who Gloria was.
“We always say [what happened] was a series of coincidences. I don’t think anything just happens. It made me realize [that] all of the coincidences in my life are blessings and each step got me to where I needed to be for that moment that happened,” said Giles.
Giles said that she thinks this book can pertain to many different age groups at any point in life because the four teenage girls are not the only characters in the book. There is also Reverend Malachi and the parents, Jon and Rita, in the storyline.
Reverend Malachi, within the storyline, is called back to Ohio and has a background as a Malone football player. His character brings a lot of the other characters in the book together through his actions.
Giles said she thinks that the main thing is that no matter what happens in life, there is always greatness possible, and if one has faith in God, he can get you to that point.
Donald Brown, freshman political science major, said having Malone in the background made the book seem more interesting.
“I think it would come down to if this was the type of book students wanted or if they found it interesting. For me personally, I’d be interested in looking at it just a bit further because of Malone being in the backstory,” said Brown.
“Four by One” is available on Amazon, Kindle and Barnes and Noble.
Cathy Weyand is a staff writer for The Aviso