Book Review | Never Blame the Umpire
Title: Never Blame the Umpire
Author: Gene Fehler
I played baseball throughout my childhood and I am still really passionate about the game. I was interested in reading Never Blame the Umpire by Gene Fehler because I loved the idea that Kate, the main character, was an avid baseball player. I had no idea what other aspects of life, and death, this book would contain.
This novel is geared to a younger audience, so I found it to be a quick read though it contained some very intense issues. Kate is an eleven-year-old girl who has a seemingly ideal life – she lives with her parents and her younger brother and she loves playing baseball and learning how to become a better writer. Kate’s life, however, is turned upside-down when her parents announce that Kate’s mother has an advanced form of cancer. Kate’s life becomes filled with emotional turmoil as she struggles to come to terms with mother’s illness and she finds herself questioning her faith.
Kate’s mother is a strong woman and she encourages Kate to share her feelings and she explains to Kate that Kate should not be angry at God. Kate’s mother uses a wonderful analogy that compares God to the umpire in baseball (hence the choice of the book’s title).
I enjoyed this book because it tackles some difficult topics in a manner that younger readers will be able to relate to and understand. I also liked the incorporation of Kate’s poetry as an outlet for her feelings about her mother’s illness.
I would recommend this to children from ages 8 to 12. It does have a Christian perspective contained within it and I appreciated the fact that it did incorporate Kate’s feelings of frustration and anger towards God in the fact of her mother’s impending death. It is an interesting book that tackles some difficult issues.
*I received a copy of this book to review but I was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my observations while reading this novel.*