Calico Joe
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Calico Joe

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3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  20,160 ratings  ·  3,140 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...more
Hardcover, 198 pages
Published April 10th 2012 by Doubleday (first published 2012)
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A Time to Kill by John GrishamThe Firm by John GrishamThe Client by John GrishamThe Street Lawyer by John GrishamThe Pelican Brief by John Grisham
The best of John Grisham
22nd out of 29 books — 183 voters
The Fault in Our Stars by John GreenInsurgent by Veronica RothGone Girl by Gillian FlynnCity of Lost Souls by Cassandra ClarePandemonium by Lauren Oliver
Best Books of 2012
326th out of 3,003 books — 9,224 voters


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Community Reviews

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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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
Larry
Grisham's short baseball novel is a pleasant read, but it's not hard to see where it's going from the beginning. Paul Tracey, the narrator, is the son of a resentful, underachieving major league pitcher (a Met), who is also a lousy husband and father and a mean drunk. The father is the dark arc of the plot, the light being Joe Castle (from Calico, Arkansas, hence the title), who is the Cubs phenom to outclass all phenoms. True to his nature, Paul's father behaves incredibly badly when the two pl...more
Bill Krieger
Don Kessinger was my favorite ballplayer growing up. Kessinger was the light-hitting, silky smooth-fielding shortstop for the Chicago Cub in the late 60's and early 70's. I was a leftie, so I "made" my Dad get a Don Kessinger glove that he used when we played catch. Kessinger was an NL All-star for many years. His signature move at short was sort of like Derek Jeter's: sprint into the hole, backhand, rise up, twirl and throw the runner out at first. The difference: Kessinger's move had a little...more
James Klagge
I liked this baseball novel about a pitcher who purposely beans a rookie phenom and permanently disables him. The story was reminiscent of Ray Chapman's death in 1920 from a ball thrown by Carl Mays. Mays had a reputation for pitching high and inside to batters who crowded the plate. And it was prescient of the case of Cole Hamels and Bryce Harper in May of 2012. Harper is a rookie phenom for the Washington Nationals, Cole Hamels is a veteran pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies. The first time...more
TAMMY CUEVAS
In 1973, Paul Tracey was just another eleven year old baseball fan, with one slight difference from most. His father pitched for the Mets, but not very well. The only thing worse than his pitching abilities were his parenting skills. Paul was happiest when his dad was on the road, but he tried to remain loyal to the Mets. But when a boy wonder from Calico Rock, Arkansas named Joe Castle soared to baseball fame, all of America was mesmerized. Paul couldn't help but secretly cheer for "Calico Joe"...more
Luanne Ollivier
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...more
Brian
A simple book with a simple tale about boys and their fathers, boys and their childhood heroes, and the regrets some of us carry and our reluctance to face up to them. I enjoyed this book as a baseball fan, and I always like Grisham enough. The story here did bring a tear to my eye from time to time as well, though I will admit that this is far from a rare occurrence when it comes to me and books (or life in general). I felt at times transported back to my youth of watching baseball...while I wa...more
CD
Checked out and brought home from the library in the past 48 hours. That quick a sit down read type of work.

John Grisham's latest is the trendy homage to nostalgia of youth, sport, difficult if not terrible relationship with a parent and a fuzzy view of perhaps a golden era. This is a simply written and well told story. A son's recollection of his father the professional baseball player who is typified in the worst light and further is a cultural bad guy.

While the style and detail positively rem...more
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Any good? 25 143 Jul 07, 2014 10:33AM  
Which current players would you cast as Warren Tracey and Joe Castle? 12 74 Oct 27, 2013 10:56AM  
Book Giveaways: Win Calico Joe by John Grisham! 1 11 May 04, 2012 12:02PM  
Book Giveaways: 2 copies of Calico Joe! 2 13 Apr 19, 2012 12:17AM  
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"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...more
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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
“outside. It wasn’t full speed, but then I wasn’t fully” 0 likes
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