Caitlin's Reviews > Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game

Moneyball by Michael Lewis
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's review
May 26, 2012

liked it

Oh, the frustration of a review that was not saved. Below appears my best recollection:

Call this a high three star review. This is a book worth reading for the casual but committed baseball fan. At worst, you'll know where that idiot who won't shut up about baseball statistics learned what he thinks he knows.

A word on nonfiction, first. I never know if I'm reviewing nonfiction fairly. I know that this book does not want me to think of it as art. It is, truthfully, inartful in places. I understand that its primary function is to impart some knowledge, and less to tell me a story, and still less to tease out the emotion and meaning of words and images. I get that. Still, it's hard not to be disappointed when, somehow, confusion between "it's" and "its" finds its way into a published work. Mr. Lewis is awfully fond of mixing metaphors, also. This takes away from my feeling about a book, and it leaves me feeling like I've just sat through a lecture rather than let my mind wander with a book.

The telling is, let it also be said, haphazard in places. The narrative wants to focus on Billy Beane and how he came to exploit an inefficient market in baseball talent. To do this, however, the narrative must lurch forward and backward and include vignettes about the players who prove Beane's point. The chapter divisions feel utterly meaningless (although...perhaps twas ever thus).

The charm in this story is the author's earnestness. He sounds as if he's incredulous to discover an error, bewildered that no one else had exposed it yet. He also sounds sincerely sympathetic to the would-be washed-up ball players who populate the story. If there can be an emotional center to _Moneyball_, it must be those players. I can see why this was adapted for film.

This is not a great read, but it's worth reading. A quick reader will dispatch it in three and a half hours or so. It's interesting, but dull enough that it's not bedtime reading.

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