3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Crazy about Baseball in Iowa
Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella is an inspiring story of Ray Kinsella, a not-so-typical farmer from Iowa who just loves baseball. One day while he's out in his cornfield, he hears the voice of a baseball announcer say, "If you build it, he will come." Like a vision from a crystal ball, he realises and sees that "he" is Shoeless Joe Jackson, and...
Published on April 28 2002 by Asher Coffield
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Compares only slightly to the movie "Field of Dreams"
"Never judge a book by its movie," they say, and in this case the adage holds true. "Field of Dreams" has been around since 1989 and is not merely a baseball flick, or a Kevin Costner starlight -- it's the depiction of a spiritual journey for both Ray Kinsella and the audience. The book "Shoeless Joe," on the other hand, provides more food...
Published on Dec 2 2000 by Corinne H. Smith
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Crazy about Baseball in Iowa,
Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella is an inspiring story of Ray Kinsella, a not-so-typical farmer from Iowa who just loves baseball. One day while he's out in his cornfield, he hears the voice of a baseball announcer say, "If you build it, he will come." Like a vision from a crystal ball, he realises and sees that "he" is Shoeless Joe Jackson, and "it" is a baseball field. Although he's called crazy by the rest of the town, his daughter and wife stand beside him. The voice, and Shoeless Joe keep him motivated as they lead him on a journey all across USA to fufill his dreams.
Shoeless Joe is a beautifully written story about going for your dreams, the American way, and remembering true values of life. It's a great book, and it's truly inspiring. I recommend you to BUY BUY BUY!
4.0 out of 5 stars Shoeless Joe,
By A Customer
1982: Sometimes determination and an imagination can make a person's dreams reality. This notion was powerfully expressed throughout W. P. Kinsella's moving novel, Shoeless Joe. Driven by a mysterious voice that said, "If you build it, he will come", Ray Kinsella sets his ambitions on building a baseball diamond in his corn field in honor of his hero, Shoeless Joe Jackson. Ray Kinsella, a normal farmer from Iowa, ultimately achieved his dreams and ambitions with his baseball field, while seeing the mysterious Chicago Black Soxs play. Ray Kinsella, a baseball fanatic, wandered to New Hampshire to find the novelist, J.D. Salinger, the man the mysterious voice had instructed him to find. Salinger, a retired novelist, did not trust Kinsella, a strange farmer from Iowa who was going to take him to a Red Sox game. Kinsella had got orders from the mysterious voice to take Salinger to the game where they would get their next instructions. Throughout their travels, Salinger and Kinsella try to solve the riddles of the mysterious voice and go to Kinsella's baseball field. W. P. Kinsella induces a world of mystery and tensions between Ray Kinsella and J. D. Salinger as Salinger tells Kinsella, "I work alone. I have my own assignment to complete. I'm the only one who knows how to do it." The mysteries of their assignments are not discussed openly between themselves. Although Kinsella and Salinger are secretive, their loyalty and commitment is most admirable. W. P. Kinsella's writing style is intriguing, expressive, and passionate. While a fictitious novel, it portrays a man's passion for the game, going to all extremes to attain his dreams. This novel deals with the problems one encounters when trying to attain a goal so lofty that only the most determined and lucky people can achieve. Although this book is about baseball, it is about dreams, magic, and life. The images portrayed of the ghostly "Shoeless" Joe Jackson are riveting! A most interesting and captivating novel, Shoeless Joe provides hope to people's dreams that are most unreachable. A depiction of Ray Kinsella's baseball field will stay with you long after you have finished the last page of the novel. The magic of Kinsella's baseball field is exemplified in this passage: "The stars seem to float like flowers in a bowl only yards above our heads. I wonder how much of it is his own joy, and how much is for me. The White Sox taking batting practice, players throwing along the first-and third-base sides. Shoeless Joe in left field, and Eddie Cicotte warming up in the corner, his fastball whapping into the catcher's mitt, sending up a small explosion of dust each time it hits." By Kyle Jelléy
5.0 out of 5 stars Dreams Fade To Reality,
By A Customer
Daydreams, visions, and hopes all come together in the magical novel Shoeless Joe, written by WP Kinsella. In Kinsella's compelling novel, Ray Kinsella, an Iowa insurance agent turned farmer, is changed from a dreamer into a creator. At first, he is a dreamer, hoping to keep his farm while not making enough money off of it to pay off the mortgage. His brothers-in-law constantly attempt to buy his farm from him in order to complete a scheme to make them a load of money. Regardless, he keeps his farm and hopes for a way to pay for it. There, he enjoys life with his wife Annie and his daughter Karina. Annie and Karina support Ray throughout the book, giving him good advice and lifting his spirits when he needs it most. His love of baseball, dreaminess, and determination send him on a journey to both past and present to search for the greatest baseball game that he will ever see. It starts when, one summer evening, Ray hears an incorporeal voice say, "If you build it, he will come." Ray immediately knows that 'he' is Shoeless Joe Jackson, a man banned from baseball for life as a result of the infamous Black Sox scandal of 1919. The 'it' is a baseball field, to be constructed in Ray's cornfield. With care and diligence, Ray builds a stadium, with left field (Shoeless Joe's position) a veritable heaven. He waits for Shoeless Joe to appear, and in time he does and plays ball there every night. Then Ray perfects the rest of the field, and the other members of the Black Sox come to play for him. The fantasy appeared perfect, but it didn't last. Then, "Ease his pain." Ray hears those words from the immaterial voice after his completion of the stadium. Instinctively, he knows that the 'pain' is that of JD Salinger, the famous yet hermit-like author of Catcher in the Rye. He realizes that he must go cross-country and get Salinger to come with him to a baseball game, getting Salinger to stop being a hermit and go back to loving baseball. Ray effectively kidnaps an unwilling Salinger and takes him to Fenway Park for a game. Though at first stubborn, Salinger comes around, finally agreeing to go with Ray back to Iowa to see the magical field. On the way back to Iowa, other characters are encountered. They are Archibald 'Moonlight' Graham, a baseball player for the New York Giants (albeit only as a defensive replacement for an inning), Richard Kinsella, Ray's twin brother who has not been seen by Ray for many years but has been drawn back to Iowa by some freakish coincidence (or is it a coincidence?), and Eddie Scissons, an old man who loves to tell tales of his 'baseball days' with the Cubs, and how he will be buried in a Cubs uniform (although he never played for them). Both Scissons and Graham are former ballplayers who succumbed to everyday life, and all of the above men have something that they need to do; something that only Ray's ballfield can do for them. Through Ray and his field, they can regain a bit of the past, and part of their lives is reopened to them. From Salinger's invitation to visit with the phantom ballplayers to one of Ray's lifelong family dreams coming true to the revealing of Eddie's secrets to the transformation of Graham, each character has a unique and important role. Kinsella writes in detail about the characters, their problems, journeys, and successes. He mixes in trivial details with the important information and makes the book seem shorter than it really is. With clever imagery and a gripping storyline, Shoeless Joe is wonderfully written. It reads like a true story that happens to have some elements of a novel. This book is one of the better ones that I have read, because of both the great characters and the plot. Ray's dreams and journey stick with you after you have finished reading. One scene that captures the feeling of the book is this, at the end of the story; "On the porch, we turn to look at the silent, satiny green of the field. I press the switch, and, like a candle going out, the scar of lights disappears. Above the farm, a moon bright as butter silvers the night as Annie holds the door open for me." It shows how Ray loves the field, and how Annie has been a strongly supporting member of his family for him. The passage also shows how WP Kinsella describes with words (the silent, satiny green of the field) the beauty of the field and without words (as Annie hold the door open for me) how Annie has supported Ray throughout the book. By reading Shoeless Joe, one can understand what true baseball fandom is about, and how dreams can fade into reality.
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational & Enchanting! A Wonderful Story!,
Shoeless Joe is by far Kinsella's best work as an author. I enjoyed this book from beginning to end. Inspiring the famous and popular movie 'Field of Dreams', Kinsella spins a magical adventure that permeates throughout the American spirit. Baseball becomes the enchanting weave of nostalgia that is carefully woven to express all that is good in life and can be again. Magnificent dialogue between wonderful characters bring this story to life and hits a home run right into the heart of Americana. There are more characters in the book than those that appear in the movie, and makes for wonderful mix personalities. You will love how Kinsella involves well known author J.D. Salinger in this story, and the light touch of humor surrounding difficult situations. This story is about believing and following your heart, and achieving your dreams. It is about all that is good in life and imploring you to take a look at it. It lifts the reader above the day to day problems that face us all, and carries you off into a world of imagination. Shoeless Joe the talented Left Fielder who had his career ended because of the Black Sox scandal leading to permanent ejection from the game by former baseball commissioner Kennesaw Mountain Landis is allowed to return at Ray Kinsella's newly crafted Iowa baseball field surrounded by a corn field. Ray had heard a voice that instructed him to build the field, and he followed it. The magical story unfolds from there, and grows to become a masterful blend of inspirational characters who join together to travel a journey of hope and faith in themselves and their dreams. A simply magnificent combination of past, present and future that only Kinsella could spin. This will certainly become a favorite of any baseball fan. I thoroughly enjoyed it!
5.0 out of 5 stars A literary masterpiece,
The book Shoeless Joe, by W.P. Kinsella is in my opinion a literary masterpiece of fiction. The book is about a man named Ray Kinsella who is a farmer in Iowa. He has a wife named Annie and a daughter named Karin. The book takes place in Iowa, in the 1980s. When Ray is in his cornfield one day he hears the voice. It says to him "If you build it, he will come." Ray does not know what to think when he hears this. Then he sees an image of a baseball field. Ray decides to plow under his corn to build this baseball field so that old-time baseball players including the great shoeless Joe Jackson will come and play on the baseball field. In his search for the real meaning of building the baseball field, Ray hears two more messages. "Ease his pain", and " Go the distance." In the end of the book, Ray finds the meaning of the messages and building the baseball field. To see his father again and to heal the wounds they had in their relationship. They do this by playing catch. I thought that part of the book was extremely meaningful because it's a boy having a catch with his father that they never got a chance to do. After Ray plows under his farm and builds his baseball field he goes broke because he does not have enough crops to sell. At the end of the book his daughter Karin tells him that people will come to see the baseball field because they will get bored in Iowa and will need something to do so they will buy a ticket to see a game. This way Ray will have enough money to keep the farm. I think that all the characters in Shoeless Joe learned that dreams can come true if you really believe. People can learn from this book that you must have hope for some things and you have to believe. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves baseball, and that has a great imagination. I think that W.P Kinsella's purpose of writing Shoeless Joe was to not only entertain the reader but also to tell the reader that dreams really can come true.
5.0 out of 5 stars Glove oil and leather, and Freshly cut grass,
W.P Kinsella. Shoeless Joe. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1982. 265 pp. $22.95.
When was the last time you tumbled onto cool, moist grass, looked up at the robin's-egg blue sky, and imagined that the clouds were forming shapes of various animals? Or the last time you felt total freedom while lifting yourself skyward on an old tree swing, back when summer never seemed to end?
These and many more childhood memories will come alive while reading Shoeless Joe. W.P. Kinsella's fictional accounting centers on baseball legend Joe Jackson, one of the Chicago "Black" Sox 8, who was permanently banned from baseball. Joe's magical appearance in an Iowa cornfield initiates a journey for main character Ray Kinsella, to not only fulfill his dreams, but those of many extraordinary characters, too.
At first glance, the book is about baseball and Ray's journey to fulfill the request of the voice, "If you build it, he will come." But as Ray ventures across the country the reader begins to sense that, as in The Wizard of Oz, anything is possible, simply by believing. As the plot develops, Ray's acceptance of the mystical, almost religious aspects of baseball, allows the reader to revisit dreams from his own past, too. Ray says, "Your secret dreams grow over the years like apple seeds sown in your belly...sprout through your skin, gentle and soft and wondrous, and they breathe and have a life on their own...."
Though most of the characters are as refreshing as a Popsicle or as rich as a Fudgsicle on a summer's day, Ray's wife, Annie is far too loving and weak. Female readers, in particular, may have difficulty connecting to Annie's life, with her lack of protest when her husband plans to plow under their crops to construct a ball-field. But, many readers can relate to Ray's efforts directed toward repairing his relationship with his dad, and may realize how profoundly this book mirrors their own relationships, too.
Upon deeper reflection, a reader realizes the importance of Moonlight Graham's statement that "hardly anybody recognizes the most significant moments of their life at the time they happen." While reading this book, a reader may experience a deep desire to turn back the hands of time for a chance to relive his childhood, or to take back words spoken in anger, or to reawaken in the arms of a love from long ago.
The story rides on dialogue, rhythmically slow like baseball, as Ray tiptoes beyond the realm of this world. Threading the timelessness of baseball throughout the book suggests immortality to the reader, as Ray tries to answer the question "Is this Heaven." The reader is drawn in and realizes that looking at this world is not the same as seeing it. Miracles happen everyday and can be taken for granted when viewed only with the eyes, and not appreciated with the heart, as well. Sacred events of planting and harvesting fertile farmland, the changing seasons, and the glorious birth of children are connected to the repeating cycle of baseball.
Author W.P. Kinsella's strength is mastery of the metaphor, with similes stunning our senses with vivid descriptions, conjuring up precise, almost tangible images. He writes, " Moonlight butters the whole Iowa night. Clover and corn smells are thick as syrup." A reader can almost taste a big stack of pancakes. W.P. Kinsella draws in the reader with the familiarity of baseball, while challenging him to rekindle his dream. Each time a batter is up in Shoeless Joe, the renewal of hope hangs as crisp and fresh as sheets on the line to dry. When Ray's twin brother, Richard, returns to the family, and J.D Salinger is reunited with his first love, the reader comes away believing that it is truly possible to start over again.
Like meeting an old friend at a favorite ballpark, the reader can escape the routine of schedules and deadlines, while enjoying this book based on a summer ritual. W.P. Kinsella satisfies the reader with a significant amount of baseball facts, sifted through the Chicago scandal. He successfully concludes when the reader's nostrils are filled with nostalgia of glove oil and leather, freshly cut grass, and home-baked apple pie. Kathie Mueller
4.0 out of 5 stars "If you read it, it will come.",
"If you build it, he will come." Cheered, shamed, analyzed, and even parodied, these seven words first written by W.P Kinsella, later glorified by the early 90's film "Field of Dreams", have come to represent baseball and the meaning it holds for its players, fans, and for Americans in particular. For half a century, from 1903 to 1953, baseball survived unscathed by modern day chaos; with the same 16 major league baseball teams playing in the same American cities. This stability along with the calming, pastoral effect of the game helps to answer readers' questions as to why baseball is so severely cherished. The book's strength is its lush description that gives the reader's imagination no limits; whether it be envisioning ghastly White Sox players in a perfect Iowa cornfield or running their fingers through a delicate patch of left field grass. The book's only weakness is that the plot sometimes get lost among the detailed travels of the main character. While chronicling a man's journey from building a baseball field in his corn crop to his realization of why he was selected to hear the voice that started it all, the book manages to bring its theme home. This is not just a book about an extraordinary person but rather the story of an ordinary person (perhaps like the reader) with a love for his family, a love of memories, a respect for the land, and a long regretted mistake. While the story revolves around baseball, it is simply a metaphor for the larger picture of a person's unrealized dreams, or unrealized life in general. The reader comes to understand that a love for ny sport or hobby, not just baseball, can give way to dreams and a stable calmness, even a oneness. In the second to last chapter when he gathers enough courage to talk to a catcher on the team we realize why Ray, the main character, was selected to build the field. At the same time readers must face their own journey. One day if a voice were to whisper to you, "If you build it, he will come," what would you build and who would come?
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Movie Based on a Great Story,
It was a quiet friday with perfect weather on a splendid midsummer night. The Mets had completed their evening game with yet another loss to the Braves at Turner Field, and nothing was on the other 81 channels of overpriced cable TV that was at all bearable to watch. What's a baseball fan to do?
I sat down with a glass of iced tea in a quiet room and placed my 10-year old VHS copy of "Field of Dreams" in my VCR. This, as you may remember, was film #2 of 3 of the "Kevin Costner Didn't Play In The Majors So He Does it On The Screen" trilogy.
"Bull Durham" is of course the classic first movie in this series, with "For The Love Of The Game" bringing up the rear as the most forgettable of the 3 entries.)
"Field of Dreams" is a rare baseball movie: both men and women should enjoy it as it is not a hardcore baseball film, rather a touching and moving story about one man's personal inner journey to peace and satisfaction thru building a baseball field. There isn't much action, but the story, as mythological as it is, makes you want to run out to the local sandbox with your mitt and a smile, and makes you forget those killer millionaire salaries that these overpriced performers of today make. No matter how many times I watch this movie, tears still well up in my eyes at the end, when Costner's character Ray Kinsella meets his deceased father John in the middle of an Iowa baseball cornfield and they proceed to have a traditional father/son baseball catch, healing many years of hard feelings between the two. Does it get any better than that?
Baseball has its share of fictional movies, and besides "The Natural", this is probably the best there is for making the case that baseball is the true national pastime. Baseball transcends communication; look to the scene when Shoeless Joe arrives at the field, and they play ball before they even speak. Baseball binds families together; Baseball heals emotional wounds.
It is based on the 1982 book "Shoeless Joe" by W.P. Kinsella.
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome, heartwarming story!!!!!!,
By A Customer
At first glance, Shoeless Joe appears to be a book about baseball. However, as you read on, you realize the author is using baseball, a game of magic to describe the beauty of everyday life. The way Ray Kinsella describes his family, his baseball field when its completed, baseball itself gives you a sense that the world is a beautiful thing. It is a book about magic, love, and realizing deep down who you are. Ray feels guilty about his fathers death and it is very emotional when they meet at the end. Even though it seems fanciful and all that, you still feel that it is real and the book allows YOU to believe in the magic of miracles. I recommend the movie, Field of Dreams as well because you can actually see everything happening as it becomes more real. My favorite part of the movie is when Ray says "Dad, do you want to have a catch?" and Ray and his father throw the baseball to and fro. Baseball is a game of legacy, a game that has lasted through the generations, that loves to be passed on from father to son. The book should definitely be read!!!!!!!
5.0 out of 5 stars A delightfully touching tale of contemporary fantasy.,
By A Customer
This review is from: Shoeless Joe (Paperback)
On the surface, "Shoeless Joe" is a story about baseball. Ray Kinsella, a wannabe Iowa farmer, receives a vision telling him to build a baseball field; if he does, the legendary Shoeless Joe Jackson will return from the great beyondto play ball. Crazy as it may seem, Ray takes everything in stride and eventually builds a baseball field, and scores of dead ball players begin to appear, just for the enjoyment of playing the game. Thankfully, no explanation is given for this miracle, and Ray and his family form an excellent, grounded anchor around which all this wonderfully goofy nonsense takes place.
What prevents "Shoeless Joe" from being merely a sports novel is that W.P. Kinsella has transformed Ray's quest to build his dream baseball field into a search for the magical in everyday life. Miracles can occur even today, the author says. And in finding his dream, Ray Kinsella finds himself.
"Shoeless Joe" makes for heartwarming reading.
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Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella (Paperback - Sept. 29 1996)
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