Guide to Baseball Novels: C

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Chamein Canton has built a career around support systems for full-figured women, including this baseball romance novel.

Forced and awkward humor blunt the impact of truly original and quirky characters; intriguing though not completely successful.

Criticism: Morris

An intriguing plot idea and a haunting central character sustain a novel that relies too heavily on the grotesque and has a certain affected pathos.

Criticism: Hye, McGimpsey, Westbrook

Honestly observed and unsentimental, with strong characters; recalls Grimes's Stone of the Heart.

Set in a wonderful parallel world where women's sports are every bit as high-profile as men's sports, where desire between famous teammates is as accepted as desire between movie stars. More novels about men's sport should be like this agreeable lesbian romance.

Competent mystery with some witty dialogue.

Well-crafted, enjoyable fiction; the theme is familiar but the writing and characters are fresh.

Many interesting characters are evoked in the course of the novel's progress toward the inevitable Big Game.

Fascinating, truly original, audacious postmodern masterpiece.

Selected criticism: Angelius, Berman, Candelaria, Crepeau, Mount, Smith, Westbrook, Wineapple

The paperback cover announces that this novel is "baseball's zany answer" to Dan Jenkins's Semi-Tough. If you were trying to document the mid-1970s sense of "zany," you could probably do worse, but the laughs seem thin on the ground 25 years later.

Prize-winning novella with an Eastern Establishment ambiance; if Holden Caulfield had sandlot memories, they probably would be like this.

Not badly-done, but it has a one-note humor that palls after a while, and it drags out (self-consciously) every cliché and stereotype known to the baseball novel.

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