29 January 2012

Shoeless Joe by W. P. Kinsella

Shoeless Joe -5 Stars

"If you build it, he will come." One of the most famous lines in both film and literature. We, as readers, are dropped square in the middle of Iowa with Ray and his family on his small farm. The place is mortgaged to the hilt and he starts to hear an announcer and see visions. He knows what he has to do without being given any specific instructions. Build a ball field, ease an author's pain, going the distance... all in hopes that he can see one person again.

Throughout the story, we are regaled with purity of baseball. I don't care how many players are using steroids, the game always has a purity to it. A stadium always smells like hotdogs, beer, dirt and fresh grass. Baseball is the smell of summer, the feeling of joy that brings even the biggest men back to a small boy if only for a few hours. Dreams are baseball.

Now I am lover of the game. I can't give you statistics or tell who won what series on what year. I always love to watch the game though. Even minor leagues, there's a local minor team in my home town and I can never get enough of there games. Shoeless Joe reminds all of what its like to dream again, even if it seems impossible, we are reminded of simple joys like the sound of ball hitting a bat with a whack and not a ping.

I wish I could put into words how wonderful this novel was. It may go off on a tangent here and there, but its always coming back to baseball. "The one constant in America has been baseball."