The Call: A Baseball Novel by Laurie Boris

I’m a baseball fan, but I’ve never read a book about an umpire before. Let alone a novel about a female umpire.

Part family drama, part sports book, this novel follows a young woman who wants to be a baseball umpire. Along the way as she works her way through the minor leagues, she endures sexism, travel, and living on a shoestring budget. But the story is about more than just Margie and her pursuit of a career as a major league umpire — it’s also about her twin brother, Tim, and his struggles as a major league pitcher; her deceased father, a former major league journeyman catcher; and her long-suffering mother.

There is a large cast of characters in this book (there’s also a loyal friend from umpire school, Margie’s love interest, a newspaper man, and various other characters), and the point of view character changes from time to time, making the story seem at times a bit disjointed. I also feel like certain plot points should have been developed more. And this is a gritty book; the amount and type of profanity (although not too much overdone and true to situations/characters) means I couldn’t really recommend it to a young adult crowd who might otherwise like a book like this.

Those things aside, this is a very solid read which deals with real life situations. The plot moves quickly, and I never found myself bored or in danger of setting the book aside to read something else. The author’s prose is solid and workmanlike, perfect for this kind of story. And the characters are, for the most part, well-developed.

Recommended to baseball fans.