________________ CM . . . . Volume XII Number 15 . . . . March 31, 2006


Take Me Out of the Ball Game.

Joe Campbell.
Saskatoon, SK: Thistledown Press, 2005.
230 pp., pbk, $15.95.
ISBN 1-894345-82-7.

Subject Headings:
National characteristics, Canadian-Humor.
Canadian wit and humor.

Grades 8 and up / Ages 13 and up.

Review by Ronald J. Hore.

**½ /4


I'VE BEEN THINKING a lot lately about the Canadian military. A TV newscaster got me started after I read an account of the Canadian Coast Guard and how it protects our maritime boundaries. When I switched on the TV set, the newscaster was saying something about the Governor General's Foot Guards. I hadn't realized the Governor General's feet were being protected, too, or by whom.

THE THEORY that men and women are alike breaks down in the supermarket. Women shoppers know where everything is. They just have to go out and collect it. Women are gatherers. Men shoppers don't know where anything is. They have to look for it. Men are hunters.

I CAN'T GET THE HANG OF BASEBALL. It's much too subtle for me. I know it's enormously popular and the really big players become millionaires part way through the season. But I don't understand it. I don't understand how people can pay good money to watch other people watch. Baseball is mainly about watching. The paying customers watch the players and the players spend most of their time watching each other. Some of them lounge around and watch from the dugout. Others stand around and watch from the field.


Take Me Out of the Ball Game is a collection of short humorous essays. The 50 stories in this anthology have been published previously in the following publications: Stitches, the Journal of Medical Humour, Gilbert Magazine, Western People, The Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, Western Report, Canadian Author, The Calgary Herald, The Ottawa Citizen and have also been heard on CBC Saskatchewan.

     Campbell takes a light, humorous look at topics as far ranging as: "Writers vs Editors," "How Jazz Began," "A Patient's Lament," "Law and Literature," "Take a Bus," "Hooked on Golf," "The Irish Connection," "Under the Weather and Over the Hill," and most of the pieces take a Canadian slant to the topic. Many of the essays target social issues, such as language or senior citizens; others take a strictly off-the-wall approach to topics as diverse as the weather or European toilets.

     The humour can be very subtle, satirical, or laugh-out-loud, and the reader will come across not just a few groaners. The writing is gentle and literate and should appeal to anyone who likes to follow the topical humour columns or light articles that are often found in their local newspapers. These tales are a quick and easy read, even though the content, itself, may be thought-provoking. The essays are short, with twenty-four taking up only three pages, eighteen essays have four pages and six up to five pages. The longest essay is only nine pages long; the shortest takes up two.

     The author's claim to be able to write on such diverse material comes from what the book cover describes as his experiences as a writer, editor, musician, tourist, failed athlete, husband, parent, and "somewhat bemused observer." He makes good use of all of these talents while dissecting his chosen topics.

     Take Me Out of the Ball Game would make a good "cottage" or "beach" read, or a book to take along on a long airplane or bus trip. You can set it down and pick it up again quite easily. Take Me Out of the Ball Game should appeal to a broad range of reader as there is something here to amuse young and old alike.


Ronald J. Hore, involved with the Canadian Author's Association and writer's workshops for several years, retired from the business world in Winnipeg, MB.

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

Copyright the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.