Author: Steve Kluger
Ease of Reading: 358 pages of 12pt font, written in epistolary format... moves quickly
Synapse: Kluger's former agent wanted him to junk this effort, because: "Men's fiction doesn't sell well." "Boys' fiction doesn't sell well." "Coming-of-age doesn't sell." "World War II doesn't sell." ... and my favorite of the lot... "Baseball doesn't sell." Kluger found a new agent and not only did it sell, but it became a staple in high schools. I wouldn't call this a baseball book, but more of a coming-of-age book that includes baseball, World War II themes, and pop culture from the 1940's. No worries though baseball fans, the first two-thirds of the book is a heavy dose of the game we love.
Comments: I've never read a book in epistolary format before. The author used everything from newspaper articles to school report cards psych evaluations to tell his tale and it worked wonderfully. The book flowed easily and it was a fun page turner. I would readily suggest this one to any baseball fan or even to a history/war buff.
Grade: I'll give it an A+. I've read more than my share of books in the past. (Heck, I was even an English Literature minor in college.) Yet, I think I can count on one hand the number of novels that made me laugh and cry. Yes. I said, "cry." I couldn't help it. 1. I'm a softie. 2. It was well written and had tremendous character development. After reading a couple hundred pages I felt like I knew the characters of the book better than I know my own math students. I laughed and cried right along with the two main protagonists. Nice job, Mr. Kruger.
My wife has dibs on this one. She says, "This will be the first book we talk about in our book club." Huh. She already is a member of a book club that meets monthly. Oh well, I could do much worse than marrying a fine lady who wants to talk about baseball books with me!
Stay tuned for other book reviews in the future. My personal goal is to finish a book each month this year