Gary Romeo, a primary school teacher in Melbourne, shares his review of actor Dwier Brown’s memoir, ‘If You Build It…’, a book about fathers, fate and the film Field of Dreams.

Book Review: If You Build It…

My go-to-books when reading for relaxation away from the school environment are sports autobiographies by well-known footballers and cricketers, including Steve Waugh, Ricky Ponting, Justin Langer, Nick Riewoldt and Lenny Hayes to name a few – there is a trend here! This book caught my eye as it is an autobiography of sorts but leans towards another interest of mine, cinema!

Dwier Brown is not a household name here in Australia. However, Brown is an actor who is a very well-known person in his native United States of America and is famous for a role in the closing moments of a favourite film of mine, Field of Dreams. Brown shares the final moments of the film with Kevin Costner in a film story about baseball, sons, fathers, relationships and redemption.

If You Build It… is Brown’s personal account of his own life, how he became an actor and how he acquired his very famous role. It takes you on a behind the scenes look at the Field of Dreams movie as well as Brown’s encounters with fans and their reactions to viewing his amazing work in the movie. Brown’s hope is that his story will touch the reader just like his role in the movie does, which I feel his book does emphatically on both counts!

What I love about If You Build It…, is that if you love the movie Field of Dreams, you will love how Brown cleverly takes the reader on a journey of discovery and how you learn about what motivated the writer/actor to apply for the role and how fate played a part in it. The story makes you reflect upon and think about your own purpose in life and about how fate can lead to amazing encounters and opportunities in our lives when we least expect them. Brown also shares some very amusing anecdotes with the reader about the movie and his encounters with Burt Lancaster and James Earl Jones during production.

Brown’s relationship with his father is often mentioned in the book and it makes me think about my own family relationships and reminds me of their significance and importance in my life. In the business of education, the building and development of relationships with our colleagues and students is fundamental. Without spoiling the ending of the film for those who have never seen Field of Dreams, the scene is quite moving and serene and makes you reflect on aspects of your own life – sometimes this can be a good thing and sometimes it’s confronting, depending on your own personal situations.

Brown beautifully encapsulates the reactions of fans of the movie in encounters where some have come up and hugged him, whilst other fans have poured their hearts out retelling stories of their fathers. What I did not know until I read the book was that Brown’s own father had passed before the filming of his part in the movie and how deeply it inspired him to give one of the performances of his life.

Brown is truly a great storyteller and I guess if I were to meet John Kinsella myself, I would give him a hug and have a game of catch with him as well!

If you are after an easy read and you are a fan of the movie Field Of Dreams, I highly recommend you order a copy online. You can order a copy directly from Brown himself at for around AU$55.00 which is personally autographed.

If You Build It, is not just a story … it’s a good story! Thank you Dwier!

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