Peter's Reviews > Shoeless Joe

Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella
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Apr 21, 2012

it was ok
bookshelves: fantasy
Recommended for: baseball fans
Read from April 20 to 21, 2012 — I own a copy , read count: 1

I picked this up used at the library's permanent book sale for a buck.

Add it to the very short list of books which aren't as good as their movie adaptations. A lot of the speeches were improved by much pruning for the movie, and the plot was cleaned up a good bit, too.

The book is okay, and I can see that for some it might really "click". But to me it just doesn't quite work. The whole thing felt forced to me, a too-deliberate attempt to create a classic (not unlike The Polar Express, which was annoying as a book and loathsome as a movie). Peter S. Beagle is able to create a far more authentic magical feeling in his books; fans of Shoeless Joe might appreciate Beagle. They might like Jack Finney, too. Both are considerably more deft stylists than Kinsella.

And frankly, if I were J.D. Salinger I'd have sued the crap out of the author.
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message 1: by Jim (new)

Jim Sports books, especially memoirs, tend to be mediocre. I can't say much about sports fiction, since I can't recall having read any since the few juveniles I read as a juve.

A few are worth it - Halberstam on Lombardi comes to mind (he wrote some good histories - so I hear). Ball Four - Bouton's diary of his 1969 MLB season - is jutifiably the all time sports best-seller. A recent memoir - Open - by Andre Agassi is very good. Men At Work - George Will - is a top-notch reflection on baseball which focuses on four top practioners - LaRussa, Gwinn, Cal Ripken (the famous Ripken), and Hersheiser.

As for films and books, One could argue the Godfather as a film was better than Puzo's novel. I haven't read it since I was 14 or so, but recall that it was pretty damn good too.

2001, A Space Oddyessy was a collaboration - not an adaptation. Clarke was a hard SF writer - literal in the way hard SF is supposed to be. Kubrick was an artist - subject to no such constraints. So as Art, the film wins over the novel.

Andromeda Strain. Toss up. The film was absolutely faithful to the novel and the novel was absolutely faithful to science. The novel (and the film) expected the reader to come to the work - in his forward Crichton said as much - sooo unusual. As a science kid, both were like catnip. On reread as 50-something adult, the novel holds up 100%.


Peter The Third Man was far better as a movie than as a book - although in fairness, Graham Greene wrote the screenplay before he wrote the novel.

I thought that the film of The Princess Bride was much better than Goldman's novel, too. There's a dark, sort of curdled quality to some of Goldman's writing - for all his skill - which didn't make it through to the movie. And of course the casting and acting were first-rate.

But to be fair to Goldman, Marathon Man was equally good as a book and as a movie. The book might even have been marginally better. Pity he wrote a sequel and ruined so much of it.

I'm tempted to make a sarcastic comment about The Lord of the Rings, but I'll limit myself to saying that some books should not be turned into movies. Everyone seems to worship those damned movies now, but I still maintain that in a hundred years, the books will be remembered with reverence - and the movies will not be held in high esteem.


message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

Agree with you 100 percent. Disappointing.


Bonnie Another agreement. What really clinched it for me was the reveal of the catcher *way* earlier in the book. It ruined it for me.


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