Mar 212012
 

Calico Joe by John Grisham
Published by Doubleday
Publication Date: April 10, 2012
ISBN-10: 0385536070
ISBN-13: 978-0385536073
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!!

DISCLAIMER
I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me,
in exchange for my honest review.
No items that I receive
are ever sold…they are kept by me,
or given to family and/or friends.
(2012 Challenges: ARC, Off The Shelf, FreeReads, Where Are You, A-Z, 52 in 52, Outdo Yourself, 100+)
Mar 132012
 

The Good Father by Noah Hawley
Published by Doubleday
Publication date: March 20, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-385-53553-3
At the request of Doubleday, an ARC TPB was sent, at no cost to me, for my honest opinion.

Synopsis (from publisher):
An intense, psychological novel about one doctor’s suspense-filled quest to unlock the mind of a suspected political assassin: his twenty-year old son.

As the Chief of Rheumatology at Columbia Presbyterian, Dr. Paul Allen’s specialty is diagnosing patients with conflicting symptoms, patients other doctors have given up on. He lives a contented life in Westport with his second wife and their twin sons—hard won after a failed marriage earlier in his career that produced a son named Daniel. In the harrowing opening scene of this provocative and affecting novel, Dr. Allen is home with his family when a televised news report announces that the Democratic candidate for president has been shot at a rally, and Daniel is caught on video as the assassin.

Daniel Allen has always been a good kid—a decent student, popular—but, as a child of divorce, used to shuttling back and forth between parents, he is also something of a drifter. Which may be why, at the age of nineteen, he quietly drops out of Vassar and begins an aimless journey across the United States, during which he sheds his former skin and eventually even changes his name to Carter Allen Cash.

Told alternately from the point of view of the guilt-ridden, determined father and his meandering, ruminative son, The Good Father is a powerfully emotional page-turner that keeps one guessing until the very end. This is an absorbing and honest novel about the responsibilities—and limitations—of being a parent and our capacity to provide our children with unconditional love in the face of an unthinkable situation.

My Thoughts and Opinion: Outstanding!   This may be the book of 2012!!   Could not put it down!!
This novel was written in a first person narrative through the eyes of a father about unconditional love, guilt, pain, denial and looking in every corner for that glimmer of hope.   Moving!!!   The author interweaves into the story real life events, that at times, I felt I was so caught up in the story that it read like a non-fiction.   Engrossing!!   When or can a parent stop loving unconditionally?   The novel had me asking myself how I would feel if this was to happen to my family?   Thought provoking!   This author writes an emotional yet disturbing story about today’s culture and fate of families.   The research was phenomenal, bringing in past real life incidents that mirrored the fiction of the story line.   When does a parent finally accept the truth?   Are parents to be blamed?   Are they victims too when the unimaginable is brought upon a family? Emotional!!!   Until reading this novel, I never gave any thought to one incident that occurred in real life.   But after reading the facts, my thinking changed, and that was quotes from a book written by one of the Columbine shooter’s mother.   This book will stay with me for a long time, one that will not be forgotten.   Well written, character development superb, suspense extreme and a page turner.   Brilliant!!   As a parent, touched me to my core.   Heart wrenching!!   A powerful read!!   This book, at least my opinion, is off the charts!!   Piercing!!

DISCLAIMER
I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me,
in exchange for my honest review.
No items that I receive
are ever sold…they are kept by me,
or given to family and/or friends.
(2012 Challenges:  Reading Challenge Addict, ARC, Mystery Suspense, Off The Shelf, Free Reads, Where Are You, A-Z, Merely Mystery, 52 in 52, Outdo Yourself, 100+)