________________ CM . . . . Volume XII Number 14 . . . . March 17, 2006


Running the Bases: Definitely Not a Book About Baseball.

Paul Kropp.
Toronto, ON: Doubleday Canada, 2005.
118 pp., pbk., $13.95.
ISBN 0-385-66147-9.

Grades 8-12 / Ages 14-17.

Review by Betsy Fraser.

***½ /4


First-date basics:
1. Your goal for now is a second date. Focus on the second date.
2. Be patient. Patience is one of the seven virtues (we'll ignore the others for a while). Do not push the Ultimate Goal.
3. Do not grope, manhandle or squeeze any body parts, even if offered the opportunity to do so. See point 2, on patience, above.
4. Above all, do not remove clothing or place your hand beneath said clothing: this is a serious first-date no-no. That's what second dates are all about.
5. Be attentive, charming, funny and polite. (Review previous notes.)
6. Don't rush a conclusion to the date if things are going well. (There's that patience thing again.)


Alan Macklin is not necessarily the average 17-year-old guy with one single goal in mind. Granted, almost any other guy that age who has never had a girlfriend might be willing to devote himself to getting one, especially one willing to go all the way, but he probably wouldn't hire a consultant. When Alan keeps failing with the opposite sex, he turns to his best friend, Jeremy, to become his "Project Manager." Jeremy is a master with women and is determined to make Alan over into a stud. Unfortunately, this doesn't work. Enter Maggie McPherson, a smart and pretty girl with career goals of her own but limited means. Maggie offers to coach Alan to his goals for very reasonable rates and a new relationship begins. When Alan needs more and more help, Maggie steps in, providing Alan with information on how to start up a relationship, behave on a date and pick himself up over again. Without ever realizing it, Alan might even find the true girl of his dreams - if he listens to all of the advice he receives.

     Paul Kropp has created a funny, clever and true-to-life story. It is centered around very realistic teens who make mistakes that everyone does and which only serve to make the book more appealing. A romance created around the foibles of an admittedly clueless male is all the more funny when the character appears next to others who present themselves as masters of seduction - something not possible at seventeen and which only serves to make Alan all the more endearing when his willingness to try is compared to the others' dishonesty. The girls give Maggie several opportunities to make comments on life and social status in high school today. This is a book that will be appreciated easily by a wide audience in public and school libraries.

Highly Recommended.

Betsy Fraser is a librarian with Calgary Public Library in Calgary, AB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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