Calico Joe by John Grisham (Hodder & Stoughton)
Right off the bat I have to say I am no John Grisham groupie.
Years ago I was nearly bored to death by a movie in which Tom Cruise experienced some issues at work. Right there and then I lost all interest in whatever drama “the master of the legal thriller” would have to offer.
At the risk of sounding ignorant, the world of sharks in suits seemed too bland for my taste.
So what does Grisham do with Calico Joe? He offers a story around baseball – a sport largely of American taste.
After recently having read The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach, I was convinced that a good writer can make you care about anything – even a storyline intertwined with a sport that we South Africans know little of.
Calico Joe is a good read.
It will not go down as Grisham’s finest (there are no suits and nobody backstabs anyone), but it is a touching tale of family issues and redemption.
In a nutshell: the narrator, Paul Tracey grew up a baseball nut. Until the night his dad, a professional player, threw a ball that ended the career of Paul’s idol, a phenomenal young player called Joe Castle a.k.a Calico Joe.
An incident that scarred many lives.
Thirty years later Paul wants his dad, now dying of cancer, to make amends.
This 198 page book could easily have been a 500 page epic novel, had it been written by someone else. But for better or for worse, Grisham does not delve too deep into his characters and their relations(hips) and circumstances.
Calico Joe is a Coke-Lite version of a Jonathan Franzen or Paul Auster style book on the human condition. As a reader, you could do far worse.
Keen on reading this book? Buy your copy now.
Read this book yet? Tell us what you thought of the book in the comment box below.
Sign up for women24's book club newsletter and stand a chance to win our top ten books from kalahari.com.