Calico Joe by John Grisham
Published by Doubleday
Publication Date: April 10, 2012
At the request of Doubleday, an ARC TPB was sent, at no cost to me, for my honest opinion.
Synopsis (from Amazon): A surprising and moving novel of fathers and sons, forgiveness and redemption, set in the world of Major League Baseball…
Whatever happened to Calico Joe?
It began quietly enough with a pulled hamstring. The first baseman for the Cubs AAA affiliate in Wichita went down as he rounded third and headed for home. The next day, Jim Hickman, the first baseman for the Cubs, injured his back. The team suddenly needed someone to play first, so they reached down to their AA club in Midland, Texas, and called up a twenty-one-year-old named Joe Castle. He was the hottest player in AA and creating a buzz.
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…
In John Grisham’s new novel the baseball is thrilling, but it’s what happens off the field that makes CALICO JOE a classic.
My Thoughts and Opinion: I feel that I need to start with a caveat. I am not a sports fan!! However, my husband and sons are and I have hosted many of sports related parties and witnessed many of, at times somewhat loud, discussions at the dinner table. I live in New England and my guys are die hard fans, of all sports, but of different teams. My husband and youngest son are Red Sox fans and my oldest is a true NY Yankee fan, even naming his dog Bronx.
That’s as much as I know about sports. So I was leery of reading a “sports related” novel. But the first page pulled me right into the story. There was some “baseball lingo and statistics” but it was the premise that hooked me. Masterful writing, as always, with a John Grisham novel but also had a lighter and emotional prose that I enjoyed. I connected to the characters, even those that were not likable, but in true sports fashion, I was rooting for the under dog. The emotional slant of the book was gripping and tugged on the heart strings. Even though it had a predictable plot and was a very quick read, I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. It was much more than a “sports related” book, it was about making amends, truth and coming to terms with a relationship between father and son. I recommend this book, not only for sports’ fans, but for anyone who enjoys seeing the truth and winner prevail. Very good read!!