If you are a person who can’t stand unimaginative show-offs declaring “The Book was Better!” as they exit a movie theatre, then Bernard’s Malamud’s The Natural is the book for you…to hit them over the head with. This mediocrity of a Fisher King rip-off inspired the sappy, yet classic baseball film starring the positively dreamy Robert Redford. As for Malamud’s Roy Hobbs, you’ll prefer Bump Bailey.
Hobbs of the written word isn’t shooting for the ideal of “There goes Roy Hobbs. The best there ever was in this game.” He is watching his stats, hoping to smash lots of individual records and planning to cash in. The only thing missing from this Boy of Summer’s wish list is a PEDs hook-up from Victor Conte. Sadly, even the baseball strategy detailed in the book was a mess. Plus, what year was the intentional walk discovered? Jeez!
A couple of Brothers tried valiantly to stimulate any discussion beyond how badly this book had struck out. Brother Dave tried the bird theme…Harriett Bird, flyballs dropping like birds, Flores touching his genitals whenever a bird flew over his head, the hamburgers being called dead birds. It was all to no avail. The bird theme shifted to “what kind of slob eats 6-hamburgers and drinks a gallon of whole milk before bed?” Brother Nick read a bunch of Malamud’s short stories and concluded that this guy is no honey dripper. The stories didn’t finish up with “and they lived happily ever after!” They were gritty and the protagonist wasn’t always rewarded. Malamud in better context somewhat explains the wet fart that was The Natural. So it goes…
On Deck…Literary: A Farewell to Arms, and in Sports: The Life and Crimes of Don King