Monday, May 14, 2012

Calico Joe by John Grisham

Calico Joe
Written by John Grisham

“What if a pitcher intentionally hit a batter, a young star? What if both careers were ruined? And what if they met years later to try to come to grips with what happened in a split second?” --Paul Tracey, Calico Joe, Written by John Grisham

Let me begin by saying I'm not a sports fan, and do not usually read "sports fiction". I occasionally will get swept away in the excitement of a fictional sports team in a movie, think Friday Night Lights or The Mighty Ducks, etc. But I've never really picked up a book whose premise revolved around a sports hero, real or fictionalized. I decided to give this one a shot though, because John Grisham wrote it, and I consider him a pretty superb writer. I figured that if anyone could wow me with baseball, he could.

I can't say I'm disappointed that I took the time to read it. I'll admit that about 95% of the sports terminology, player stats, and game commentary was completely lost on me. I know what a strike, a home run, and walking means in baseball, but that about sums up my knowledge base. So I pretty much zoned out on ALL of the technical stuff.

What did catch and hold my attention was the underlying story of Paul, his father, and Joe. I could tell, right from the beginning, that there was a good story buried behind all the sports mumbo jumbo that went over my head. Grisham has perfect timing as always. He finds a way to weave a story that is stunningly simple, but full of so much complex emotion that it can't help but have a strong impact on you.

I can't say that the book was so phenomenal that I've been convinced that sports fiction is my new favorite genre, but I can admit that I enjoyed the book more than I had anticipated. If you're a John Grisham fan, you ought to give this novel a try. And if you're a sports fan, I think you'd really enjoy it.

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