A disappointing 2.5 Stars
Please note that this relates to the audiobook version of the book. Notes Specific to the Audiobook
The Narrator is terrible. Specifically where it came to emotion, voice selection and tempo. Firstly, the voice of Henry, a main character, sounded like a 10 year old child. I appreciate that he was meant to be an innocent and unprepared kid going to college but he sounded like he belong in elementary school. Additionally, many times throughout the story, the narrator was speaking with emotion that did not fit the circumstance. It was confusing. Finally, the narrator had an annoying habit of saying sentences very quickly as if the characters were constantly trying to rush their speaking. I believe I would have enjoyed this more were I to have read it. The Story
I wanted to love to love this book. I enjoy coming of age stories and have read some that I simply love. Take [b:The Starboard Sea|12151801|The Starboard Sea|Amber Dermont|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1319735193s/12151801.jpg|17122446] which I gave 5 stars (and is a MUCH better book. Seriously. Read it.) I was further excited as this was a book about baseball, the greatest game on earth. Unfortunately, the book is not about
baseball, but rather uses baseball as a metaphor. The story in and of itself, was about 150 pages too long and was not especially original. That is not to say that it was not well written. It does a wonderful job of taking multiple themes, i.e. the intricacies of the relationships men have with each other and various forms it takes, and weaving it throughout the book. There is certainly plenty to think about when the book is done. That said, the author tried to do too much. Too many threads of idea to weave together. To accomplish this, the author included some useless characters. Specifically, the character of the school president. As the young characters were coming of age, the school president has his own "awakening". His story was not compelling, interesting or necessary. I found myself skipping over the scenes he appeared.
The author also fell into the trap of apparently needing to include all races, gender and sexual orientation. For example, I felt as if the character of Owen was forced. As if the author felt that he needed to have a character that was gay. The whole storyline where the school president discovers he is gay and has an affair with Owen felt contrived. It was as if as if the happened simply to have a "lover" as the final graveside scene. Beyond this, a coming of age story is about the younger characters. I wanted to focus on them and not the president's tangent
Halfway through the 18 hour audiobook, I was set to turn it off and give it 1 star. Fortunately, the story improved in the second half and there was more baseball action. Not enough positive to redeem the book but enough to make me wish I hadn't been forced to listen to the first half.