Diane Ferbrache's Reviews > The Art of Fielding

The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach
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's review
Mar 10, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: college, fathers, glbtq, baseball
Read in March, 2012

As a high school librarian, I spend a great deal of my time reading young adult fiction. So I choose the adult fiction I read very carefully. The Art of Fielding has been on the best seller's list and on many "best books" lists for 2011. Add to that the fact that it's about baseball.....I should LOVE this book. Unfortunately, I did not.

The Art of Fielding centers around the lives and relationships among 5 characters -- Mike (the intellectual jock), Henry (the baseball phenom), Owen (Henry's gay roommate), Guert (the University president), and Pella (the president's daughter). The action takes place over the course of three years at a small liberal arts college where the baseball team has never been successful until Henry comes along. It's an examination of personal relationships, the pressures of success, and the consequences of actions.

I read this book in just a few days, quickly devouring the story and frantically turning pages to see what would happen next. Sometimes I was shocked and surprised, other times sighing as the action took an annoyingly predictable turn. But, overall, I really liked the book. The characters were interesting and their growth over the course of the story was logical and believable.

I have one dilemma, though. I usually read with the idea in the back of my head about who will be the next reader of the book. This one is problematic. It's not enough of a "baseball book" to attract the sports fanatics I know, although there is certainly plenty of baseball in the book. It's a little too "soapy" to recommend to most of the men I know, but not romancy enough and way too much baseball for many of the women I know. This is a beautifully written, well constructed novel. Will high school students appreciate itNot so sure. So..... yes, it is a very good book, very enjoyable, well written, but will take a special reader -- one interested in interpersonal relationships AND sports, an interesting combination.

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