Critical Response

Excerpts from Editorial Reviews

“Schuster breathes new life into the genre . . . [the] novel is one of those rare gems . . . a moving testament to choice: the decisions we make, on the field and in life, can changed the way things play out.”
–Adi Angel, NINE: A Journal of Baseball History and Culture, Spring 2013

“The effort to sustain the tradition of the great American baseball novel receives an honorable boost with this meticulously peopled tale of opportunities lost.”
New York Times Book Review

“Schuster illuminates a side of the game utterly devoid of glamour and often even hope. For every young man who dreams of making a living under the lights, or every middle age office worker imagining how things might have turned out differently had he only been able to hit the curve ball, here’s a reminder that the game doesn’t always romance those who sacrifice their life and heart to it.”
–James Bailey, Baseball America

“A terrific story that goes beyond the sport and deals with promise and aspirations, dreams and disappointments… Never mind whether you are a baseball fan. This is a damn fine read.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“A brilliant debut…a lovely, poignant, heartbreaker of a baseball novel, as good as last year’s hyped The Art of Fielding and more literary than Grisham’s Calico Joe.”—Jane Henderson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“Joseph M. Schuster’s new novel is one of those memorable works that turns baseball culture into a course in human understanding.”
–Andrew Burstein, Baton Rouge Advocate

“Lifelong obsession is hauntingly portrayed in this winning debut novel tracing the life of a baseball player who only wants to play the game….This moving tale will engage even nonbaseball fans as Schuster examines, without succumbing to sentiment or an easy resolution, the cost of chasing a dream.”
Publishers Weekly

“Eventually, all of us have to grapple our might-have-beens. This is the moving story of a man whose chance for baseball stardom ended in a split-second accident, and it resonates far beyond the baseball field.”—
Reader’s Digest “Editors Recommend”

“Schuster writes with care and beauty about Edward’s remorse. Perhaps the most stirring of passages deal with Edward’s broken promises to himself . . . . Though baseball fans will love the richly textured descriptions of minor-league parks and life, the larger human story here is universal.”
–Jonathan Messinger Time Out Chicago

“[A] fine book about the price one pays for being true to a dream, no matter the cost.”
–Howard Owen, Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star

“The achievement of The Might Have Been is that we’ll look at those players [who vanish quickly from the major leagues], and perhaps even ourselves, with greater understanding and perspective than we might have otherwise.”
–Michael Magras, Bookreporter

“[A] baseball book that will satisfy fans of the pastime and those who enjoy well-written studies of characters who live and evolve and learn along the way. A grand slam.”
–Steve Bennett, San Antonio Express-News

The Might Have Been is about the hold baseball can have on those who play it, but it’s also about acceptance, and patience . . .”
–Chris Foran, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The Might Have Been . . . has the look of a winner among this spring’s flood of literary contenders and pretenders.”
–Richard Peterson, The Southern Illinoisan

“Joe Schuster’s [The Might Have Been] may just be the Greatest American Baseball Novel ever written. Period.” – Gary Perilloux, Full Spectrum Baseball

“Fantastic debut . . . one of the finer baseball novels you’ll find.” Greg Zimmerman, New Dork Review of Books.

Advance praise for The Might Have Been

“Surely destined to join the ranks of transcendent baseball novels.”
—Richard Russo, author of Empire Falls

“Far from being just about baseball, The Might Have Been is about the persistence of ambition and dreams in both sports and civilian life. This is a very telling novel about American pastimes and American identities, well worth reading.”
—Charles Baxter, author of The Feast of Love

“At the heart of Joseph M. Schuster’s remarkably eloquent novel is Edward Everett Yates, a character so fully human that he demands our complete attention. Many readers will surely find their own lost dreams in this brilliant debut.”
—Margot Livesey, author of Eva Moves the Furniture and The Flight of Gemma Hardy

The Might Have Been is a poignant story that transcends its baseball backdrop. Beautifully written, it is a powerful exploration of facing long odds and broken dreams. In his rookie novel Joseph M. Schuster connects solidly and displays all-star promise.”
—Darryl Brock, author of If I Never Get Back