The Cactus League
Jason Goodyear is the star outfielder for the Los Angeles Lions, stationed with the rest of his team in the punishingly hot Arizona desert for their annual spring training. Handsome, famous, and talented, Goodyear is nonetheless coming apart at the seams. And the coaches, writers, wives, girlfriends, petty ...more
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I don't like baseball. Never found it terribly interesting to watch. So why, then, do I find it so compelling to read? Perhaps it is the structure, a hypothesis about which Robert Coover and now Emily Nemens might agree. More so than football or basketball or soccer or really any other sport, the structure and simplicity of baseball lends itself well to narrative storytelling. 3 outs, 4 bases, 9 innings: there is a structure here.
Nemens uses the 9-inning structure to tell a ...more
What really stood out to me, however, was the tone Nemens sets throughout the story. This is not a story of redemption, ...more
The characters run the gamut of the baseball world. There’s the superstar whose game is at its peak, but whose home life is filled with conflict. The rookie and the aging batting coach. The women who wait at the player’s gate and the rookies who don’t ...more
Emily Nemens’ debut novel, The Cactus League, is a book about baseball told through interconnected chapters set in Scottsdale at the beginning of spring training in 2013. Jason Goodyear, a two-time MVP outfielder for the fictional L.A. Lions who is going through a tough stretch, is a recurring character threaded through the chapters (of which there are nine, of course), but the book is told through the point of view of other characters ...more
Normally, I am not a fan of short stories or essays. I ...more
If you're like me, and you believe baseball to be a near-perfect metaphor for life, then you'll love Emily Nemens' new novel, The Cactus League. Baseball, as does life, has its own rhythm and flow: time moves at its own pace. That's why a workday seems interminable, but your week of vacation seems to fly by in a blink. Similarly, when a setup man can't find the strike zone in the bottom of the 8th inning, you feel like time is crawling. But ...more
Emily Nemens has written an engaging novel which revolves around people whose lives are impacted by the 6-8 weeks of spring training each year in Arizona - the rookies, the veterans, the AAA batting coach, the owner, an agent, the players wives and girl friends, the aging groupies and people that ...more
>I am an independent reviewer. This book is a standalone work of fiction that doesn’t really have an ending. The book shows a realistic view of what takes place during baseball’s spring training, told from multiple points of view. Each type of character has a different reason for being where they are. There are the gold diggers who use the naiveté of some of the players to either marry or receive expensive gifts from them. The coaches are trying to create a ...more
From the Arizona setting that becomes almost another character, to the level of detail Nemens provides—talk about an author who did her ...more
The Cactus League is a series of short, slice of life stories connected by one team and its MVP, Jason Goodyear. Baseball is always about humanity, but this book is less about the game and more about ...more
In 9 stories (get it? Like 9 innings?), we see various angles on the L.A. Lions' preseason Arizona league. We start with the batting coach who once tried for the major leagues himself, who returns to his beloved Arizona home only to find it has been trashed by squatters while ...more
It really seemed more like a bunch of loosely connected short stories than a novel. Most of the stories were interesting, with the exception of the one about the group of wives. I was disappointed that most had no conclusion, and I found them to be more depressing than uplifting.
I hated the between chapter pontificating by the sports writer about ...more
There are a few thing that I could quibble about. like players wives, none of them had their own businesses and careers? But a good story, great characters and really just a fine book about ...more
I’m not sure there’s anything I like much more than when a book takes me completely by surprise and that’s exactly what happened with The Cactus League. Books that are actually connected short stories typically have me running the other way. I hadn’t realized that was the case with Nemens’ new book until I finished the first chapter and began the second, but oh, I loved that ...more
For my full review, please visit my blog at: http://obsessedbookaholic.com/2020/01...
Thank you NetGalley and Farrar, Straus and Giroux for an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.