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Calico Joe

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3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  24,647 ratings  ·  3,441 reviews
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, injure
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Hardcover, 198 pages
Published April 10th 2012 by Doubleday (first published 2012)
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Brett Richardson Great Book!! I dislike reading very mud but I found this book to be quite enjoyable. If you like baseball then you'll like this book!
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23rd out of 28 books — 219 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jay Connor
The greatest triumph in today’s popular fiction could be the equal success John Grisham gets from his deepest hatred and his richest love.

Most know that Grisham the author of a number of good and best-selling legal thrillers hates the law. Or more precisely hates the act of lawyering. Fewer probably know that Grisham loves baseball. He coaches his son’s teams and gives mightily to building fields of dreams in both Virginia and, his native, Mississippi.

With “Calico Joe,” Grisham tells a wonderfu
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Jennifer
Fan of baseball? Not a fan of baseball? Doesnt' matter-this book is a must read! This is so much more than a book about baseball. It's about family, heartache, broken promises, disappointments, growing up...mostly forgiveness and resiliance. You ache for Paul Tracey, his sister and Mom. You are so so disappointed in his father, MLB pitcher, Warren Tracey. He is far from a role model; even farther from father of the year. How could this emotionally charged story have a positive ending-what's the ...more
Steve
4.5 stars.

John Grisham, obviously, is a very accomplished writer of mostly tense legal thrillers, all of which are best sellers. Every once in a while, he strays from that genre and writes simply fantastic day-in-the-life type books of which I I can't get enough. This is one of those books, and fits right along with "Playing for Pizza" and "A Painted House". Those two books weren't well received, but for some reason, I like those a whole lot more that the legal thrillers. There's something about
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thewanderingjew
John Grisham has hit this one out of the park. It isn't masquerading as rocket science; it is simply a tender tale of baseball, told with all the glory, and even the horror, that sometimes may accompany the game.

It is hard to know, at first, if this book is for adults or young adults, especially because of the cover which appears a bit juvenile, but perhaps it is for both, even though the subject matter may get dicey, with the inclusion of a dying parent who has also been physically abusive and
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Ronna
A MUST READ for all baseball fans!!! Brings back memories from your own favorite teams---- Cincinnitti pitcher hitting Cardinal's Pujols on his broken wrist last year---remembrance for me. We all love our teams and players!! I happened to finish this book on Friday, April13, when the Cubs beat my Cardinals 8-5, when one of our great pitchers, Wainright, pitched on comeback from Tommy John's surgery. I so wanted him to do great! So, we all have our great memories!!

Hitting on the head-----terrible
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Darcy
Apr 21, 2012 Darcy rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2012
I feel like I should preface this review by saying that I don't like baseball, in fact I think I would rather watch paint dry, it is just as exciting. So it was with great trepidation that I picked up this book and how very surprised by how much I loved this book by the end. The book isn't really about baseball, it just happens to be the catalyst for many of the actions in the book.

I really liked the dual time periods in the book, the start of Calico Joe's red hot career, his down to earth attit
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David Walsh
If your write 24 novels and have a number of them made into movies, your reputation is already set. You don’t have to beg publishers to read your latest work, to take a chance and publish it, to fund your book tour.

So John Grisham gets a pass for a thin book like Calico Joe. The story has been written many times: rookie rises to the major leagues as part of a losing team, goes on a tear at the plate, breaks a few records, the team lands in first place, crowds come to see him at home and away. Na
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Jane Stewart
It’s not my kind of book because it was sad and depressing. But it was well done if you like this genre.

Most of the book has me thinking about the terrible tragedy (view spoiler) But it didn't feel good to me. It felt too-little-too-late. There
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Suzanne
For years, superstar author John Grisham has wanted to write a novel about baseball. Unfortunately, the story just never came to him. Then, a couple of years ago, Grisham read a story about Ray Chapman, a baseball player who was killed by getting hit with a fast pitch. There was much speculation about whether the player was “beaned” intentionally. Grisham thought this would make an excellent basis for a story, and so we have his latest novel, Calico Joe.

I was sent an advance review copy by the p
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Noah
This was a pleasant read; I like baseball, so that made it easy. It wasn't a page-turner in classic Grisham sense, but I read through it pretty quickly anyway. I wasn't on the edge of my seat, which is why the word "pleasant" came to mind - just pleasurable reading. Despite the potential for sentimentalism there really wasn't anyway; it was almost as if the son was disinterested in the whole thing, not as in, not interested, but removed from being concerned about the consequences. Just thought t ...more
Malcolm
The place where this book failed was at the beginning.

Grisham, a gifted writer of course, made a choice to write in the point of view of a boy whose father is a baseball player, and has since grown up. Much of the book is this man looking back about events and decisions that happened around his father -- especially one event inside baseball.

The problem with choosing this point of view is that everything the boy saw and remembered later was from the outside -- from the stands, from far away. I al
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Nurse Lisa in Ohio
Yes, I am a big baseball fan (GO REDS!)...However, even if one knows ZERO about ANY sport, this is a really good story. I finished it in just a few hours but will think about it for a long time.

I like when Mr. Grisham veers off his typical (very enjoyable) legal thriller path and gives us something different (i.e. "playing for pizza"-I think).

Bottom line: I wish we could give half stars as I feel this novel would be a solid 4.5. I am very frugal with my "fives" and am again in this instance as I
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Tim Chavel
My wife knows how much I enjoy reading Grisham so when she saw this book on sale at Target she bought it. It is a very easy read but an excellent read. Calico Joe is a rookie playing for the Chicago Cubs. He is setting all kinds of records and is on pace to be the all time rookie ever until his career is cut short when a pitcher throws and hits him in the head. The son of the pitcher years later when his father is dying sets off to meet Joe and try to sit up a meeting between the two. Grisham we ...more
Jorge Luis Castanos
Calico Joe es una novela corta (unas 200 páginas) que se publicó en abril del 2012 y que narra una historia de familia, decepción, perdón y baseball.

Encierra en sus páginas una historia simple pero poderosa, que fácilmente te pondrá al borde de las lágrimas dos o tres veces. Es una historia memorable con repercusiones morales y que usa el campo de baseball como zapata.

Al ser una novela corta, es difícil para mi poder abundar mucho tanto en el argumento como en la opinión de la misma. Pero puedo
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Anbu
John Grisham’s Calico Joe, the novel based on a base ball player’s life or that is what I thought when I got to know the novel’s theme is base ball. But the novel turned out to be a wonderful read on an infamous incident (fictional only) in the view of the guilty person’s son and his attempts at a redemption.

John Grisham is a superb story teller who makes you think that you are reading a real memoir, not a fictional novel. The highlight of this novel is the reality. If he published this book as
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Skyring
In many ways, baseball is the perfect game. Unlike the open-ended contest between bowler and batsman in cricket, baseball limits the interactions and the tension mounts. Pitcher and batter are playing a game of wits and strategy, something like tic-tac-toe in the simplicity of the formula but with the element of chance and skill. A tiny angle on the bat can mean the difference between a grand slam home run and a foul ball. A keen eye can pick up a weakness in the opponent - or in the fielders.

Jo
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Marialyce
This was a very nice read requiring no great thinking to understand its message. I am not very sports minded so being that this book dealt with baseball, I did not think I would enjoy it as much as I did. Grisham has written a short story of what life in the sport's lane, which involves high powered players, is like. It is not always a happy place for the family members to be involved in.

Very much reminding me of The Great Santini, the father in this book is arrogant and abusive to his son and h
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Lynn
Loved it! Story is about a young baseball player, a phenom, who comes roaring out of the minors into the majors, breaking all kinds of records and receiving praise and adulation from all fans, other players, sports writers, etc. He is a Cubbie, and people everywhere love him.

Then there is the aging, mid-30's pitcher who wants so badly to be awesome like this young player. He has convinced himself that he still has the right stuff to be awesome. He also wants his family and fans to love him. But
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Viccy
In 1973, a shining star in baseball arose out of the Ozark mountains. He was named Joe Castle and he brought hope back to the Chicago Cubs. He swept all records off the books and created his own, until the day he stood in the batter's box across from Warren Tracey, pitching for the Mets. This is his story, told by Paul Tracey, the son of the infamous bean-baller, Warren Tracey. It is a story of redemption and horror. Grisham tells this baseball story well and takes the reader inside the game. An ...more
M. Thomas Apple
While Calico Joe is an interesting read at times, the story is filled with one-dimensional characters and the plot is transparent from the start. Joe Castle is obviously a fictitious baseball player, but the author has chosen to insert him as a record-breaker, nearly superhuman rookie into an actual pennant race in 1973, populated by actual player names but using a fictitious game schedule and fictitious game results. It is this more than anything else that prevented me from exercising the "wil ...more
Samantha Yong
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bob
Apr 20, 2015 Bob rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: sports
Grisham's first baseball novel came to me in the form of an autographed copy brought home by my wife after she visited a bookstore in Oxford, Mississippi. It is a quick read and very much unlike Grisham's typical best-selling legal thrillers. By comparison this is quite simple in length and structure. It does however delve into moral realities of brokenness and forgiveness. There is both a nostalgic and at the same time deeply sad tone. You kind of know where the story is going early on and ther ...more
G.H. Monroe
I hemmed and hawed about reading this book because ...

1. "John Grisham is out of his element, he should just write legal thrillers."
2. "It's too short."
3. "I have other books I want to read more"

So finally I got to this book and since I couldn't yet get a copy of Revival by that other monster novelist, I went ahead and read this. My review of this book is as follows ...

READ THIS BOOK NOW !!!

I don't care if you aren't a baseball fan, I don't care if you aren't a Grisham fan, I don't care if you w
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Brendan Folk
Baseball is a game of inches and inches might just be the thing that cost Warren a life of regret. In life it is better to apologize than to spend a whole life regretting your actions. Warren Tracy, father of Paul the main character, will face the young and rising star Joe Castle. It is a thing that has many people worried about because Warren does not like young cocky all-stars. This book was all that I had hoped for. When I first started reading the book, the author did a fantastic job of keep ...more
Aaron Martz
A fun, engaging baseball book with several tragedies at its center. It's written in an accessible, breezy style and tells a familiar story of the rise and fall of a rookie but with a twist that is meant to get your tear ducts working. It's fairly predictable but has a lot of heart, and when Grisham talks about baseball, especially in the first half, it thunders with excitement and reminded me of the best passages from The Natural. One thing I admired was that Grisham kept his characters, both go ...more
Maureen
Lifetime television for boys. I am a baseball fan, but this book is pap
Alan
My wife, a long-time Grisham fan, recommended this book to me and I'm glad she did.

I liked this novel for a number of reasons.

1) This book is not 1000 pp long, though long books can also be good. it was a great vacation read. It feels like sometimes some authors have to justify themselves by padding their books to make them unnecessarily long. Grisham doesn't have that problem.

2) Reading this book was almost like watching a movie in my mind, and I hope this one makes the leap to the big screen.

3
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Toni Osborne
"Calico Joe" is a breezy little novel coming just under 200 pages , it is the first-person account of a fictionalized beaning of a Chicago Cubs prodigy by the name of Joe Castle, from Calico Rock , Ark. The story is narrated by Paul Tracey, son of Warren, the head-hunting power pitcher for the New York Mets who aimed a fast ball at the head Joe Calico and took him out of the game and ended his career.

In the summer of 1973 Joe Castle was the boy wonder and the greatest rookie anyone had ever seen
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Dick
This book was given to me by a friend who is in our Bible study group -he happens to be Jewish.

This story revolves around Joe Castle - "Calico Joe" - who played for the Cubs and was a rookie sensation. He was from Calico Rock, Arkansas. He was being compared to Ty Cobb, DiMaggio and others.

Then there is Warren Tracey a pitcher - who is beginning to enter the end of a career. He is a throwback to the old days. Not only did you brush back hitters, but you hit them - especially if retaliation was i
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Debbie
Perfect timing - attended a Cubs vs. Phillies game at Wrigley Field (12th row, third baseline near home plate) the day after I finished this book!

You don't have to be a Cubs fan, or even a huge fan of the game of baseball, to like this book. The evoked nostalgia of the players of that time period was lots of fun for me. Reading about the unwritten codes of the game was disturbing, and brought to mind recent incidents in the news not only in the game of baseball, but also in football. The devast
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Any good? 26 157 Oct 29, 2014 11:44AM  
Which current players would you cast as Warren Tracey and Joe Castle? 12 78 Oct 27, 2013 10:56AM  
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Free Book Giveaway: 2 copies of Calico Joe! 1 5 Apr 18, 2012 12:04PM  
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721
"Long before his name became synonymous with the modern legal thriller, he was working 60-70 hours a week at a small Southaven, Mississippi law practice, squeezing in time before going to the office and during courtroom recesses to work on his hobby—writing his first novel.

Born on February 8, 1955 in Jonesboro, Arkansas, to a construction worker and a homemaker, John Grisham as a child dreamed of
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More about John Grisham...
A Time to Kill (Jake Brigance, #1) The Firm The Client The Pelican Brief The Runaway Jury

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“After a leisurely slide into second, Joe bounced to his feet, looked at Marichal, shrugged, smiled, and spread his arms as if to say, "You throw at me, I'll make you pay.” 2 likes
“were in town. At dawn, NBC, along with the rest of the baseball world, awakened to the irresistible story of Joe Castle and his stunning debut in Philadelphia. Suddenly the biggest game of the day was” 0 likes
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