Thursday, July 1, 2010

Book Review: The Baseball Box Prophecy

I didn't round up June with a rhyme, (I've been in D.C. for over a week and didn't have the time to write one). Instead I'll start out the month with a book review. My readers seem to like that better anyway.

My husband was the one who encouraged me to buy The Baseball Box Prophecy. It is a middle grade fantasy written by a local author, Bruce Newbold.  My husband had heard a spot on KSL radio where Amanda Dixon highly recommended it, claiming she thought it was better written than Harry Potter. With that recommendation I couldn't resist.
During my trip to D.C. I was able to finish the book. I don't say "able to finish the book" lightly. If I hadn't had the extra time that travel brings, I daresay I would have put the book down and moved on to something else. Reading it bordered on being a chore.

The novel did have a creative and interesting story line. As part of an initation to get on a neighborhood baseball team, eleven year old Cletis has to venture onto the porch of a strange old woman, deemed a witch by the other boys. He ends up befriending the old woman and discovers that she has lived thousand years as part of a punishment, and she is in hope of being freed from her curse by the fulfilment of a prophecy. Cletis finds that he is the one she has been waiting for to fulfill the prophecy. I liked this part of the book--the story.

There is a lot of baseball worked into the story. I am not a big fan of baseball, but that is not why I found the majority of the book a difficult read. By difficult, I don't mean reading level. The author went into so much detail at times, it bored me. I got the point long before he finished presenting it. As a reader, I don't like to be insulted by having everything laid out for me and explained in unneccessary detail, or over and over again. The story could have been told in half the amount of pages. Had the author done this, I feel it would have been a much better book. The fact that it was a middle grade book and had a page count of 550 speaks for its self. Okay, so the later Harry Potter books had similar page counts. But by that time J.K. Rowling had established her credibility and shown that she could handle that many words and still keep the story fresh.

This is Bruce Newbold's first novel. He has written several screne plays, however. I feel his editor did him an injustice by not insisting he tighten, tighten, tighten. Had she done that, perhaps Bruce's debut novel could have shone much better.

I'm not saying you shouldn't read this novel. For some readers it might be a fit: baseball fans and/or readers who don't get weighed down by the superfluous. I admit, I have a hard time setting down the red pen when I read, unless the writing is invisable. By invisible, I mean that I don't get distracted by it. If writing follows the time-tested rules learned by seasoned authors, the reader doesn't see the writing, only lives the story in their mind. I didn't do that with this book. I noticed the writing.

I would give this novel a 2 star rating if I were to put this review on Amazon.

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