Shoeless Joe

Kinsella, W.P. Shoeless Joe. New York: Ballantine, 1982.

This week of reading seemed to be all about dreams. First, Lincoln’s Dreams by Connie Willis and now Shoeless Joeby W.P. Kinsella. The movie “Field of Dreams” was based on Kinsella’s book. I don’t know if my memory of the the movie chased my reading, but it seemed easier to get through the 224 pages faster than usual.

Ray is a man possessed by love. Love for his family, love for the sprawling farmland of Iowa, and most importantly, love for the game of baseball. It’s this love that makes Ray take chances with all three. Spurred on by a mystical voice Ray builds a left field out in part of his cornfield. But, the voice doesn’t stop there. Soon it has Ray driving to Vermont to kidnap J.D. Salinger and from there the adventure really begins. Battling debt, childhood devils, and indecision Ray leans on his ever-understanding wife (and later, Salinger) to build a cornfield stadium that only a few can understand. It’s a magical story, perfect for Christmastime when the season is all about dreams and believing in the impossible.

Favorite lines: “Mark’s party is bulging with tweed and intellect” (p 47), and ” This is a carnival. People pay to be disappointed” (p 175).

BookLust Twist: In Book Lust and More Book Lust. From Book Lust in the chapter, “Growing Writers” (p 107), and from More Book Lust in the chapter, “Big Ten Country: The Literary Midwest (Iowa)” (p 26).