While I was on vacation during the week of the 4th of July, I got a book to read. Sadly, I did not read it much there because I did not have a bookmark, even though I had made one on the very computer that I am typing this post on. However, I read a lot of it, when I got back from the vacation. In fact, I finished it this week. If you have not guessed the title by now, it is called The Baseball Box Prophecy by Bruce Newbold.
What is the book about? A 12-year old boy, named Cletis, wants to play ball with a group of kids that meet at a little Sandlot. As part of the initiation process into the team, the kids have him do a test of courage kind of activity. However, instead of just getting accepted as part of the gang, Cletis's world gets turned inside out.
What did you like about the book? I pretty much enjoyed the entire thing from start to finish. The characters were all likable. Things moved at a nice pace and I felt like I could picture it all. So much so that I find myself not paying to things much, as I read the book. I also liked how it talked about the fact that we can naturally sense good and evil, but will lose that sense, if we become too used to evil. There were very little, if any grammatical errors, which is expected considering how many draft a book goes through normally, both in traditional publishing and among the self-publishers that are actually good. It even shows how people around us can affect who we are. If we spend time with people who do bad things, we become evil, or we choose the right, if we spend time with people who do good things. This book pretty much shows things that anyone can experience, although this is fiction and magic cannot be performed in the way the author describes it.
What did you not like about this book? I cannot say that there is a whole lot that I dislike about the book, but there were definitely things that were not so great about it. Now, the author has had some experience with baseball, but I do not get all the terms that he is referring to in the contents. Over the course of the book, he keeps writing the term bag, when he means a base or plate. When I first saw the term used, I was thinking of something like an equipment bag or trash bag, mostly the former. From my time playing baseball through many years of my life, off and on, I am more familiar with the terms base or plate on a baseball diamond. After a while, I got used to this problem, but it is not something that can be overlooked, especially if somebody is not familiar with baseball, which is few and far between where I reside. Because of this fact, those unfamiliar with baseball might not understand what is going on. Second, the author makes note of instructions at some point during the end of the book, but we do not hear what those instructions were until a bit closer to the end. He even states that those same instructions came from people that he encountered, whom we also do not meet until closer to the end. Ok, the details of what the people looked like is not that important, but the fact that the author makes note that Cletis met them earlier, but I think the audience should have known beforehand about the instructions. After all, I don't really remember any earlier meetings between them than when they tell him that he and his enemy can sense where the other is located. The unfamiliar baseball terms and the fact that we never know, until later, what the instructions were seem to take this book down.
Did anything surprise you in the book? Not a whole lot of books get this kind of question, or it is intermingled with what somebody liked, but I think it really deserves its own placement here. I would say that there were a few things that surprised me, but all of them can be summarize as one thing. That thing is how similar the contents seem compared to the doctrines of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Many stories have elements that can be found similar to the doctrines of that church, but this one had so much in it that I have reason to suspect that the author is or was a member of the Mormon church. Authors are not rare in the Mormon church, but not all of them put so much stuff in their work that relates to the church. I spotted this because I too am a member of that particular church, but I am not a perfect member, nor is anyone else in the Mormon church. Things that I noticed were that the antagonist used to be a good person and had become evil, due to his wicked ways. In the church, we believe that all mankind is born inherently good and that our mistakes can turn into evil beings. Much of that evil comes due to our greed or pride. Many associate them with the infamous seven deadly sins, known as greed, lust, envy, gluttony, sloth, pride, and wrath. However, many of those are actually forms of greed. Second, the woman who is called a witch at the beginning of the story tells Cletis that he can sense feelings of good and evil and warns him not to get too comfortable with the evil, otherwise he will not notice it anymore. This is much like how the church tells its members that the holy ghost would alert a person of whether something is good or evil and if they ignore it, they can no longer distinguish easily between the two. It even shows that the main character actually enjoyed helping others, rather than satisfying his desires. This is another thing the mormon church teaches. Helping somebody or giving them company can make both parties happier. There are many more, but I cannot think of a whole lot right now.
Despite the flaws, this book was a very enjoyable read. The book could have been made easier to understand by using terms that most people would associate with baseball, instead of something that suggests a different object. the approach of "taking the rabbit out of the hat", please excuse the cliche, does not always work out in stories, so somethings should be explained. The editing job seemed pretty decent.
Overall, I definitely recommend people give this book a try.
Have you read the book? What is your opinion on my review of this book? Did I miss anything in it? Feel free to comment.
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