P&P Reading Club: Megan Wells on The Art of Fielding Finale

he art of fielding by chad harbachFind more of Megan Wells at Around the Horn from Aerys Sports.

The end of this book affected me in ways I really didn’t expect. I read it in a marathon binge session, guiltily hoping for Henry’s glorious Hollywood return and salvation, but feeling like I’d be better off with a more “real” ending – the same way you hope for ice cream in the freezer when you’re done with dinner, but when there is none and you’re forced to eat fruit, you console yourself by feeling virtuous.

But in reality, the book gave us both, and they ultimately detracted from each other. Henry’s frenzied and desperate heroics seemed like an extension of his depression, of the idea of his own meaninglessness. He won the game, but by the end of the book, we find out he’s been back in South Dakota, working at the Piggly Wiggly – it didn’t mean what we wanted it to mean.

Still, it may have given him enough of a taste of his own self-worth to start him on the road to recovery. So while the book leaves us with the knowledge that Henry is not at all what he once was, we also have the slim hope that he can make it back. For his own reasons this time, in whatever role he chooses, and better – more whole – in some way.

Henry, you are skilled. We exhort you.

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