Friday, April 13, 2012

Calico Joe - John Grisham

John Grisham is one of the most recognizable names in fiction today. He is well known for his legal thrillers, but has also written a number of novels outside of that genre. His latest - Calico Joe - fall into that category.

Paul Tracey gets a call one day - Warren, the father he hasn't seen in years, is dying. Paul's reaction? "After a few minutes, I admit the truth - life without Warren will be the same as life with him."

But this call does stir up old hurts, memories and unfinished business. We're taken back to Paul's childhood for the beginning of the tale. Warren made it to the big leagues - he was a pitcher for the Mets in 1973. He was also a womanizer, a hard drinker, a man with a temper and a man with a family who was happy to not have him home. Paul loved baseball as well. He played himself and could cite the stats on any team. When a young phenom named Joe from Calico Rock, Arkansas is called up to play for the Cubs, he takes the country (and young Paul) by storm. Never before has there been such a player.  And then the Mets and the Cubs face off...

Yes, Calico Joe is a sports story, but it's much more than that. It's the story of a father and son and redemption.  I played ball when I was younger, so the sports stats didn't throw me at all and won't detract from the story for non sports readers. They really set the scene for the emotional strings that Grisham deftly pulls as he carefully builds the story of Calico Joe, young Paul and his father.

Calico Joe is listed as a novel, but I thought of it more as story telling. I could picture myself listening to this one over the radio in days gone by or sitting listening to a retired player sharing a tale from the old days. As one character in the book says "But it doesn't matter: he loves to talk and tell stories....I am delighted to be here and happy to listen."

As was I. A one sitting read and another home run from Grisham. Read an excerpt of Calico Joe. You can find Grisham on Facebook


Anonymous said...

Read your post on FB and am a bit offended by your stereotype that women can't enjoy baseball. Maybe that wasn't your intent, but your words came across that way at least to me. As an avid baseball fan - and, more importantly, a woman - I can run circles around many men with my knowledge of & passion for baseball. I am not an athlete. I just enjoy the game immensely.

Luanne said...

anonymous I think you have misunderstood my intentions. In no way did II mean to Intimate that women can't enjoy baseball! ather the intention was to say that ANYONE who wasn't familiar with stats and such would still really enjoy the book.

Anonymous said...

Haven't read it because I was put off by the baseball theme (snore sport) and grieve for the old Grisham themes of legal thrillers. However now that I read this review I'll reconsider. Thanks.

bermudaonion said...

This sounds wonderful! I need to read it soon.

lvnnhvn said...

Just finished Calico Joe and loved it as I have all of his books. The insight that women seem to love it reminds me of a saying about the town I live in, Los Alamos, NM.

The joke is: "It's a Drinking town with a Science problem".
This book: "Is a Baseball book with a Heart problem".

Wrighty said...

I read this and was just writing my own review on my blog. I know exactly what you meant about the baseball theme and didn't find it offensive at all. I also like baseball and that made those details more enjoyable but you don't have to know baseball to enjoy this book as a whole. Nice review!

Auntie sezzzzzz... said...

Sounds like one, my husband would enjoy. Thank you!

And no intention of ruffling "Anonymous's" feathers, by putting it that way. Just the facts, around here. ,-)

“Hath the pearl less whiteness Because of its birth?
Hath the violet less brightness For growing near earth?”

~Thomas Moore

Luanne said...

Kathy - it's a good quick read.
Ivnnhvn - never heard that saying before!
Wrighty - glad to hear you enjoyed it as well!
Auntie - You're welcome!