When I read When the Sergeant Came Marching Home in October, I knew it was a book my dad would enjoy; I’ve planned to give it to him for Christmas ever since. His birthday, however, is not even a month after Christmas, and so I opted to go ahead and read the sequel this month, with an eye to giving it to him for that birthday if I enjoyed it as much as I did the first.
Out in Left Field begins with another life-ruining event for Donald–instead of making the catch to win THE game, he ends up getting more or less knocked out by the ball instead. When he finds out that his team lost the game, he’s sure that he’ll never live down the disgrace, and vows never to play baseball again. Instead, he spends the book thinking of new ways to win back his honor and redeem himself in the eyes of the town; predictably, none of them work out quite the way he hopes they will. On the other hand, his year of disgrace also turns about to be a year of growth.
This sequel to Lemna’s first book has the same amusing, not-quite-naive tone that When the Sergeant Came Marching Home does, and while Donald as a narrator flirts with being a little too annoying once or twice, I ended up really enjoying this one as well. The ending actually felt more natural, and the scenes with cousin Annie made me giggle. I liked the background of reading the other book first, but it’s not a necessity; Out in Left Field works perfectly well on its own. It’s a humorous look at being a boy on a farm in post-war Montana, and it’s absolutely worth your time.