Monday, February 11, 2013

Review: Calico Joe by John Grisham

Calico Joe
Author: John Grisham
Published: April 10, 2012
Genre: fiction
eBook: approx. 198 pages
Source: borrowed from the library

My Rating: 3 stars

Synopsis (from GoodReads): In the summer of 1973 Joe Castle was the boy wonder of baseball, the greatest rookie anyone had ever seen.  The kid from Calico Rock, Arkansas dazzled Cub fans as he hit home run after home run, politely tipping his hat to the crowd as he shattered all rookie records.
Calico Joe quickly became the idol of every baseball fan in America, including Paul Tracey, the young son of a hard-partying and hard-throwing Mets pitcher. On the day that Warren Tracey finally faced Calico Joe, Paul was in the stands, rooting for his idol but also for his Dad. Then Warren threw a fastball that would change their lives forever…

My Thoughts: Do you ever pick up a book and you have no idea why you want to read it? The premise of the book doesn't really seem like something you would read, but you are drawn to this book from some unknown reason? Well, that's what happened to me with this book. I don't like baseball, so why I felt compelled to read this book was beyond me. All I know is that I'm glad that I did. Following the fast rise of a man from the minor league's into the Chicago Cubs team, John Grisham tells a story of childhood, where you idolize those people who can do the unthinkable and, sometimes, the scariest people are the ones that you share a house with. Paul Tracey was a young boy when Calico Joe became a big star, but his father was a pitcher with the New York Mets. His father is a drunk and someone who believes himself to be better than he actually is.

For such a short story (only 198 pages), Grisham packs a lot into the story. There is the tale of childhood, of the long summers and playing with friends and having fun. There is also the story of a broken family, of a young boy who comes to grips with the fact that his father is a bad person and not worth the time or energy. It's sad to read about Paul's relationship with his father, but you know that he is justified in those feelings. Then, there is the fateful game, where Calico Joe plays the New York Mets. It's a game that changes Paul's life and Calico Joe's, along with his fathers. They are all changed by one play. It's a gripping scene and one that has you holding your breathe, anxious to know how everything turns out, even when you already know.

I don't read a lot of Grisham, but reading a book like this reminds me of what a great storyteller he is. In 198 pages, he tells a compelling tale of childhood and baseball, yet makes it a story that transcends the sport. If you are looking for a quick read, then I would highly recommend this book.

1 comment:

  1. I used to read a bunch of John Grisham books when I was younger and he hadn't struck out from the familiar legal thriller yet. I love baseball, so this one sounds like a good one for me to revisit Grisham!