I was quickly immersed in this book largely due to the strong characterisation and the setting of the novel on a fictional American college campus. I was interested in the people and it was this that carried me through the rest of the novel. As a reader from the UK, with not the greatest understanding of the rules of baseball, the central premise of the plot was maybe less gripping than it might have been. I could see that a sportsman losing his confidence was an interesting plot motif, but I found it hard to get exited about whether or not he'd regain it in time to restore - what? A place in the Baseball Hall of Fame? By the time I finished the novel I was quite satisfied by the way it all turned out in the end, but did wonder what all the fuss was about. It seems to me there's always a fuss when a contender for the title of "Great American Novel" turns up, but I don't think this book benefits from the hype. There's no doubt it's an enticing and interesting read, but I doubt it will change your view of the world and the people in it. It's nicely balanced and well constructed and I have no doubt if I was an English Lit major I could find a multitude of layers and metaphors for whatever I fancied within the pages. But I don't read for that any more, I read novels to be entertained. From that point of view, this story certainly delivered, and I'll leave the deeper, introspective dissertations to others.