Mandy's Reviews > The Natural

The Natural by Bernard Malamud
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's review
Sep 21, 2007

did not like it
bookshelves: fiction

One of the most over-rated novels in all of American Literature. Malamud cannot write. Or he writes like a 13-year-old boy would write. It baffles me -- baffles me! -- why this book is considered a classic and why on earth we would teach it to high school students. It must be because it's about baseball. Big farkin' deal. Do yourself a favor -- skip the book and watch the movie. Redford is excellent in the film and gives the story more depth than the author ever could.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
September 21, 2007 – Shelved
September 21, 2007 – Shelved as: fiction

Comments (showing 1-15 of 15) (15 new)

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message 1: by Daniel (new) - added it

Daniel Urban-brown Hi Mandy,

Malamud can write. Read THE ASSISTANT. It's not about baseball.

message 2: by Abbey (new)

Abbey its really ashame you can't recognize Malamud's talent. The Natural was by no means the best book i ever read but Malamud uses some brilliant literary techniques to develop a very complex character. if you focus on his use of symbols and motifs and what they contribute to the story you will have a different opinion about Malamud's talent as a writer. This book is less about baseball and more about the plight of a modern hero.. i believe that is why it's taught in high school. the movie was a poor representation of the novel. of course Redford's brilliant but he by no means portrayed the "real" Roy Hobbs created by Malamud. just my opinion.

message 3: by Philip (new)

Philip I agree Mandy- this book is terrible, a huge disappointment. The movie was wonderful, Redford was terrific and heroic- someone you could really pull for. I know The Natural is a fable, but the book was over the top in it's surrealism and Roy Hobbs came across as an obnoxious jerk who evoked no sympathy. I guess it's a shame we both don't recognize Malamud's talent. ;0)

message 4: by Tim (new) - rated it 3 stars

Tim Beck to what avail does Malamud choose the words? is it for story sake or just to prove that he can spell and write?

The Natural is sophomoric... in it's style, it's obsession with women and sex (in the same way a junior high boy obsesses about his english teacher), and in it's un-climatic climax.

i was intrigued because of the backdrop of the story found within the Natural - but i honestly think the movie adaption paints a better picture.

Spiros Actually, skip the movie and go to a ballpark.

Robert Agouri SPOILER ALERT: In the movie, he doesn't take the bribe. That's the whole genius of the book.

message 7: by Josh (new)

Josh Wood This book is great. Why is this chick hating? Writes like a thirteen year old? Sorry but thirteen year olds don't write Pulitzers.

message 8: by Paa (new) - rated it 3 stars

Paa You struck out on this review Mandy.

Brooke I disagree that this novel is overrated. The story is cynical, imaginative, and I love how he criticizes hero-worship by cleverly deconstructing heroic tropes. The movie completely changes the message: in the novel, Roy Hobbs is a tragic hero cut down by his own appetites and hubris where in the film, Roy Hobbs is a classic corn-fed, All-American hero. I don't necessarily think one telling is better than the other, but the book shouldn't be discounted just because Robert Redford as a bronzed Adonis is more palatable than the hirsute thug we have trouble sympathizing with in the novel.

Stephen Barone It has very little to do with baseball. The movie is more about baseball than the book. What people don't seem to realize is that it is a pulp novel similar to the works of Raymond Chandler.

message 11: by Tim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Tim Ryan Clearly you're under 22 and saw the movie first.

message 12: by Mandy (new) - rated it 1 star

Mandy This is hilarious. I wrote this review 7 years ago and had no idea people would be so irate that I had a different opinion than they did.

And for the record, I am not under 22. I'm currently 43 and was 36 when I wrote this. I'm also a former English teacher and currently work as a professional writer. So I think I'm entitled to my own opinion, even if it differs with yours.

message 13: by John (new)

John You are wrong! Plain and simple. This is a wonderful novel and has stayed with me for years.. Oh another thing...I love basketball.. can't stand baseball but this is a great book because of the characters.. it's exciting.

message 14: by John (new)

John I just saw you wrote the review years well. Read it again. You may change your mind...

message 15: by John (new)

John I just saw you wrote the review years well. Read it again. You may change your mind...

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