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Calico Joe by John Grisham
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May 16, 12

Read in May, 2012

Calico Joe is a baseball story that's not really about baseball. The story is about brokenness and attempts at reconciliation which are, at best, only partial. The book was deeply troubling to me at some strange level I have yet to fathom (only having finished it last night). Most likely the feelings I have are because of my own up and down relationship with my dad when I was younger, my own little league days, and my own doubts, short-comings and miscues with God, which I believe this story is really about.

Paul Tracey's feelings are torn between his father who he grew up despising and his boyhood idol, "Calico Joe" Castle a young major league phenom. Most of the story concerns Paul's (odd?) effort to reconcile the two - figuratively and literally. As stated above, the book felt dark and depressing to me, but maybe it's just me. To be honest, I finished the book late last night and had trouble sleeping afterwards.

Questions remain. Why does John Grisham always use sports stories for his shorter, non-legal efforts (to wit, Bleachers, Playing for Pizza and this book)? And if I didn't really like this short book (I only gave it 2 stars), why did it make me think so much, and why is writing the review emotionally difficult for me (and revealing)? Maybe I do like it? Perhaps this experience is like when I read Scripture and find that certain passages trouble me - and yet I know they are speaking to me about something I need to deal with. The troubling passages are the ones you need to pay attention to. Perhaps I need to pay attention to the message of this book.

One thing I'll be interested in is to see if the story engenders the same feelings in a girl as a guy (assuming Donna reads it). Hopefully answers will come in time.
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Robin Garson If you like Calico Joe, I just finished A Pitch For Justice that I enjoyed even more. It looks at a criminal prosecution against a Phillies pitcher who throws a pitch that hits a batter in the head with fatal results.


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