The movie tie in may diminish attention to the quality of the prose in this book, which is unfortunate. It is true that some of the metaphors are a strained if not trite but I thought it was worth the missteps to have the author really entertain with the writing as well as the story. Maybe the movie royalties will allow him to take a bit more time with his next.
The merit of this retelling of a familiar story is that the author does not overdo any of the angles and aspects from which it is properly considered. He makes it clear enough that this is a book about baseball, so that the details, what's and why's of the move to the west coast is treated as back story, although it is really a more interesting aspect. Same for the headline topic of Jackie Robinson and the transition from his debut to the various ethnicities a fascinating aspect of the roster, including Italian, southern, country boys and more very well and without overly dramatizing any of it. The same can be said for giving equal time, so to speak, to the members of a roster packed with truly great baseball players, many of whose stars faded in baseball lore with the move to the Pacific time zone, all but the Duke really, whose Brooklyn days were when he achieved many of his HOF achievements. But, why the interesting detail on the Braves, with little attention to the Reds? And but, if you will, the official scorer would have to call several errors on plays that really jumped out at me--for example, what writer with even a passing familiarity with sports above the sandlot/playground level would refer to the platooning of 2 players at 2nd base as the manager having them "take turns" at the position?
Perhaps as more reviews accumulate (than the small statistical sampling as of my review), the book will settle in with solid 4's across the board as it deserves, though I think that the author's narration is not only a 5, but a reason to listen to the audio over the printed text. I am not reading the lower reviews, apprehensive that I will be tempted to refute them. With even sketchy knowledge of Rod Dreher's professional bio, his transition, even metamorphosis, is impactful enough. His skillful and surprisingly vulnerable translation of the family history and his sister's illness and death into text is a bravura performance. The book is really an achievement, even for an uber-intelligent professional. I return to the narration--if a prospective reader is looking for yet another tiresome performance attempting to translate a book to some kind of audio-only stage play, or another reading with melodrama that makes taking a drink from a water fountain sound more like a baptism with holy water, move on. The low key narration is a wonder, in fact perfect. More, more.
I despair on behalf of all audiobook listeners who just want to have a book read aloud instead of needing, as most of the reviewers of this book apparently do, some sort of stage play performance. Acknowledging that I am in the minority and am going against the grain of the theatrically deprived (and invite un-helpful critiques of this review, thank you folks), I suggest that this very washed up actor is channeling some of his pent up acting frustrations. He pretty much ruins a fair book. With respect to the novel, there are pages and pages and pages of nothing happening but what's new with King, who has always considered reader boredom an essential piece of his brand of "suspense".
Here we go again. I guess that there are some audiobook listeners who want their narration to be just short of a dramatic presentation with all but the stage players. Not I. Just read the book narrator. I don't need a Broadway play, just a book. Chill.
Hate to "dis" the audio version but you simply have to have the maps, illustrations, maybe even illustrations beyond what the print version offers. Nevertheless, very good. That said, this author writes to illuminate, not to fit readers' expectations. That is commendable. It also produces books that are admirable to say the least but do not in fact always entertain as much as their quality might merit. Good read but be ready to think not just listen.
As "inside stories" go, this is trailing the pack. I suppose it is a nice thing to have all of one's suspicions about the disfunctionality of the world wide leader affirmed with out of context quotes and anecdotes, but this book could have been ten times the "expose" it claims to be. Disappointing.
It is gratifying to see readers looking for options beyond the typical pop fiction, but enabling this author's goofy notions is an unfortunate result. The simplest way to describe this book is that if an unpublished author submitted it to publishers, it would be laughed off the planet, but Ms. Ann's lightning in a bottle success with BC gets it a sell. Joke.
Sorry, I don't get the Franzen thing. I find him occasionally funny, mostly a crashing bore and a self indulgent one at that.
Not great literature but a departure from the usual mystery format. A good read, and a good listen - nothing over the top in the narration which always makes for the best audiobook experience.
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