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ARC Book Review: ‘The Death of Baseball’ by Orlando Ortega-Medina

Title: The Death of Baseball

Author: Orlando Ortega-Medina

Length: 475 pages

Publisher: Cloud Lodge Books

⭐️⭐️⭐️

This is another Netgalley book, that I’ve been lucky enough to receive, its LGBT+ and I was looking forward to getting started.

Synopsis: Former little league champion Kimitake ‘Clyde’ Koba finds strength in the belief that he is the reincarnation of Marilyn Monroe as he struggles to escape the ghost of his brother and his alcoholic father. Born on Yum Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, teen prodigy Raphael Dweck has been told his whole life that he has a special purpose in God’s plan. The only problem is, he can’t shake off his doubts, his urges, or the trail of trouble and ruin that follow in his wake. A decade later, Raphael and ‘Marilyn’ find each other wandering the plastic-bright streets of Hollywood and set out to make a documentary about the transmigration of souls. But when the roleplaying goes too far, they find themselves past point of no return in their quest to prove who and what they are to their families, God, the world, and themselves.

This is a really tricky review for me to write, purely because I haven’t made my mind up about this book yet. I guess I’ll try and work it out as I write this review. I will say it took me a long time to read, I just never wanted to pick it up.

The story begins with Clyde, a young boy who is in a horrendous situation, living with his abusive father. As a reader, you can’t help feel for Clyde. It’s also now, that he begins to feel different, and starts experimenting with his cousin. They way it’s written from Clyde’s perspective make this first section of the book really emotive. But I never really go into it. I didn’t feel the incest was necessary.

Then we move onto Raphael, who after causing a lot of trouble, is being sent back to Jerusalem to live with his Aunt. I have to say, Raphael isn’t very likeable at all, so I wasn’t really invested in what happened to him. He again, fell in love with his cousin! A running theme this book didn’t need!

However, I have to be honest and say I was interested to see how these characters would connect. It was a little cliched how they met. And for me, the story just got a bit silly. This is when it really lost me. The whole story lost its realness.

Also, when they connect Clyde now identifies as Marilyn Monroe, Clyde believes they became connected because Marilyn died at the exact moment Clyde was born. Through out the book the author called Marilyn ‘he’ and I wasn’t sure why. I wasn’t sure if it’s to highlight Clyde’s mental health issues, because at the end Clyde goes onto use his Chinese birth name. But it was just strange.

In all honesty I have to admit that I wonder if I missed the point of this book.

I don’t think I’d recommend this book. While I wanted to finish it to see what happened, I didn’t connect to the characters, the romance, the story. It was miss for me. I guess I made up my mind.

Thanks to Netgalley and Cloud Lodge books for gifting me with a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out November 19th.

Until the next review

JTH

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