December 17, 2012

Book Review: The Art of Fielding

Sometimes a book comes along that catches the attention of every reading human being in the entire world. It gets rave reviews and all the book clubs read it and it lingers on the best seller lists forever...I'd like my book to be one of those. 
I'm always curious about those books (remember Fifty Shades of Grey?) and feel the need to read them to see what all the fuss is about.
The Art of Fielding is one of them. It's everywhere. 
Well, I tried, really I did. Mostly because it came highly recommended by a cousin whose opinion I value. We have very different taste but this sounded like one we'd agree on.
Wrong. He loved it. I can't imagine why. 
I liked the beginning - enjoyed getting to know Henry, watching this unlikely kid turn into the baseball phenom at his school. I love rooting for the underdog. But that (shockingly) turns out to be the smallest part of the story. Henry starts to (SPOILER ALERT!) slump. And not just a teeny slump but an industrial-strength slump which unfortunately didn't seem believable to me and frustrated me so much that I didn't want to read more about it.
And at the heart of this book is a really icky relationship (ANOTHER SPOILER) between the college president and a male student. Not icky because it's a homosexual relationship, but icky, icky, icky because he's the DAMN COLLEGE PRESIDENT. Wow, am I the only one who finds this offensive?
It could work (but doesn't) if there was anything vulnerable about either character that gives you any understanding about how they could let that happen. They're not even likable, making the relationship even more sleazy and repulsive. Sorry, I just don't want to read about that.
I read 54% of The Art of Fielding (according to my Kindle) and I just don't care what happens to any of these characters.
I'm truly puzzled what people see in this book. Especially my cousin who's a sweet, kind of conservative guy who likes romantic comedies. This does not compute. 
Sorry, Harv.


Harvey said...

One of my "compulsions" is to finish what I start. While I agree that the first part of the book was very good and that the rest of the book had some difficult parts, I did enjoy the whole story. The problem is, as we get older, that we realize that we don't have time to waste on bad books - there are too many good ones out there waiting for us. So this is a very personal decision that I can respect. I would still suggest that everyone make up their own mind and give this book a shot.

Samantha Hoffman said...

Yes, absolutely, and I think it's as important to state a negative opinion as a positive one so that we can see all perspectives.
I love having a conversation with someone I don't necessarily agree with and still be able to state my opinion, and listen to a conflicting opinion without having an argument. It's all about respect.
I appreciate that about you.