2013 Winner Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award in General Fiction
In an America ravaged by the Great Depression, a talented but ragtag baseball team sets out to change the world. Barnstorming the back roads and dusty ballparks of the Midwest, the Racine Robins rally fans to the populist cause, raising money for soup kitchens and strike funds even as they thrill small-town crowds and dazzle opponents on the field. Yet winning the hearts and minds of the people turns out to be easier for the players than facing the twin seductions of love and money, conflicting desires that threaten to derail everything they are fighting to achieve.
After a sudden April snowstorm forces the Robins to find shelter in the Rockefeller hotel, events are set in motion that will change the way they view their team and each other. Can this tough, tight-knit group stay true to its great cause when ambition and longing come knocking?
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In listening to this, I felt like I was truly in the old folks home listening to the main character think back on his life. Moraff really got the pace and language right for that. I can't think of a single other book I've ever read with that perspective. I also really enjoyed his masterful similes, bringing forth descriptions that painted the picture for all to see and feel, just as the narrator did.
Well performed, but unimaginatively written
The message the author was trying to get across (and one I don't think he handled well) could have been compressed into a short story. I would like to have seen more of the ideology portrayed in story - with something actually happening - than with endless intrusive conversations on the same subjects.
He could have written more about the team, the things they did, and shown what they believed through their lives and actions instead of writing a long boring string of conversations about socialism.
I have been listening to Dick Hill's performances for years. He has a very wide range, and has narrated some remarkable books. I think he handled this book - such as it is - well. He is believable as the voice of the protagonist. Performance wise, I have no problems with this one.
I find something worth the experience in most books. It's worth the time, but the reader / listener should be aware it's not about baseball at all, and not really even about any events or characters, but mostly a long, drawn-out diatribe on the injustices of capitalism.
- David "bookwyrm55"