Connie's Reviews > Calico Joe

Calico Joe by John Grisham
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Mar 30, 13

bookshelves: sports, contemporary-fiction, spring-2013, family, southern-lit
Read from March 29 to 30, 2013

Joe Castle was a phenomenal rookie hitter for the Cubs in the summer of 1973. He was a favorite of eleven-year-old Paul Tracey, whose father, Warren Tracey, was a aging pitcher for the Mets. Warren was an alcoholic, a womanizer, and abusive to his family. On the fateful day that Warren and Joe faced each other on the ballfield, Warren threw a pitch to Joe's head and Joe never was able to play baseball again. Paul, who witnessed it all from the stands, narrates the story.

This book is about baseball, father/son relationships, redemption and forgiveness. While the ending is satisfying in that it ties up all the loose ends well, it seemed almost too neat and easy. It was probably important that the book is set back in the 1970s, because John Grisham would have had to write one of his legal novels in today's world of personal injury litigation.

I enjoyed the author's enthusiasm for baseball. Although I really don't follow baseball, the book did bring back memories from the 1970s of going with a friend and her family to Shea Stadium to see the Mets play. Grisham combined fictional players with real players and sportscasters to create the story. It was a short book with simple language, so this is a story that might also appeal to a young adult who loves sports.
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