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Pride and Prejudice
Jane Austen, Anna Quindlen

The Natural

The Natural - Bernard Malamud, Kevin Baker A true slice of that American pie...or rather a slice of the true American pie (with a dusting of nuts on top)...(I mean "crazy" nuts)...(jesus, this metaphor is falling apart like a...like a bad analogy!).

For the better part of the last hundred years, baseball has meant America. The Natural is about baseball, thus The Natural is about America. The American dream of working hard and making something of yourself is encapsulated herein. The protagonist, Roy Hobbs is a young baseball prospect with the world ahead of him. Malamud uses a train metaphor to show Hobbs' "inevitable" path to glory. Well that train gets derailed, the promising athletic career is sidetracked until it's almost too late, leaving Hobbs with only a fast-closing window of opportunity. That is a more realistic version of the dream. Some make it big, most fade away.

Obviously there is a good deal of baseball-talk, so I'm not sure I'd recommend this to everyone. In that respect, for me it was nearly perfect. I love following sports, and if you pair that with a ripping yarn, I'm yours. Malamud put together a pretty good story. I was tempted to give it 4 stars, but instead I'm going with a really strong 3. There were a couple strange, almost nutty scenes that had me shaking my head and thinking the Three Stooges had just barged into this otherwise perfectly good book.