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The Infield Fly Rule
This richly tuned novel follows a baseball team comprised of 16-18 year olds led by a quixotic coach through a summer of baseball they will never forget. The games are played on long lost ballfields of New Hampshire amid the backroads and by-ways. The youthful team along with the the team's adult coaches experience the joys and sorrows of life as the team bus meanders through New England spreading the love for a game and the lessons it teaches.
Plot/Idea: 4 out of 10
Originality: 5 out of 10
Prose: 4 out of 10
Character/Execution: 3 out of 10
Overall: 4.00 out of 10

Assessment:

Plot: The author's decades-long involvement in youth baseball is evident in how focused his plot is on the minutiae of the game—so much so that the insider baseball commentary is likely to appeal primarily to ballplayers themselves.

Prose: When Wilbert writes about the art and the arc of a baseball game, his prose is uncluttered and illuminating; off-field, it strives too hard at being humorous.

Originality: The love of the game of baseball propels this messy, rollicking account of an eccentric coach's last year of fielding a team of teenage ballplayers.

Character Development: With a character roster of 19 players, five coaches, and many more small-town quirky personalities, the author valiantly attempts to distinguish one from another, and for the most part succeeds—though overall, less would have been more here.

 

Date Submitted: August 27, 2018

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