Book Review of The Art of Fielding

The Art of Fielding
The Art of Fielding
Author: Chad Harbach
Genre: Literature & Fiction
Book Type: Paperback
reviewed on + 105 more book reviews


I read the trade paperback version of this book, and the thing that struck me immediately was the volume of favorable blurbs I waded through before I even got to the text - forty-one favorable reviews! I've been a voracious reader for more than sixty years, and don't recall ever running across this volume of slavish adulation. War and Peace didn't get write-ups like this.

I'm enough of a cynic that I wondered if it could really be this good. I started out very favorably impressed by the prose style and the over-all writing, but as I got further into the book I uncovered some disappointing trends. Maybe I'm showing my age and experience (I'm 75 and twice married - one bad and one good) when I say that I was a little dismayed to discover that each main character's solution to all his/her problems was having sex with somebody. I'm all in favor of a healthy sex life, but it is NOT the answer to every problem I've ever had.

I was put off by the rather casual acceptance of the school president's homosexual affair with one of his students - that is definitely not the answer to everyone's life problems.

I finished the book disappointed; the book gets 3 stars for the writing alone, but no extras for the gratuitous sex - both homo and heterosexual.

I've thought about the 41 blurbs for several months, and have come to the conclusion that they were written by critics who went out of their way to prove how homophobic they are not. This compares favorably with the liberals who elected a totally unqualified man president to prove how racially prejudiced they are not.

When I run across a book that I have a lot of reservations about, I usually refer to Amazon's reviews to see how far off track I am. 431 Amazon customers gave the book 5 stars, but 107 gave it one star - I'm not the only person who didn't think it was the best book of this or any year.