Dan Post's Reviews > The Natural

The Natural by Bernard Malamud
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it was ok

[Audio Version]
It has been many years since the release of the movie version of Bernard Malamud’s “The Natural”. In the movie Robert Redford played The natural, Roy Hobbs. I had heard that the book had a darker ending. It does and I was ready for it. In fact I thought I would actually prefer it to the sugar-dusted ending of the movie. So, I don’t believe the down-beat ending had any effect on my appreciation of the story.

According to most reviewers “The Natural” is one of the best baseball stories ever written. However, even though I was a captive listener in my car, I don’t know that I could have gotten through the 6-disk set without the image of Robert Redford’s Hobbs in my mind. At least Redford’s Hobbs had some charisma.

From the very beginning, the Hobbs of the novel is a self-centered, borderline narcissist. His key virtues are conceit and arrogance. He is humorless and thick. At no point does he even approach becoming a likable or sympathetic figure. He never shows any serious growth or maturation. Yes, he does experience an unusual amount of bad luck, but most of it is of his own doing.

“The Natural” is not the only book to feature an unlikeable jerk, but without much of a hook beyond him being a gifted, unlikable jerk, Hobb's story failed to engage me. I did have hopes that there would be a turn towards self-redemption. But by the time Hobbs feels any shame for his actions, in particular when a young boy, a former fan ask, “Why’d you do it?” I had ceased to care.

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Reading Progress

July 30, 2017 – Started Reading
July 30, 2017 – Shelved
August 8, 2017 – Finished Reading

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