Calico Joe by John Grisham (NY: Doubleday, 2012). Reviewed from ARC provided by publisher.
Joe Castle was going to save the Cubs from the brink of another lackluster season. Like most boys, eleven-year-old Paul Tracey followed Joe's meteoric rise, watched him smash records every game, and thrilled to each success. He was somewhat ashamed that Joe meant a bit more to him than his own father, Warren Tracey, a pitcher for the Mets, and excitedly looked forward to seeing what would happen when his dad pitched against Joe in an upcoming home game. Little did anyone know that the clash would send vibrations throughout the baseball world, and many lives would be changed forever.
No one spins a tale like John Grisham, and his mastery is apparent in this story of baseball, life, and death. The past and present merge seamlessly as readers follow the rise of Joe Castle (aka Calico Joe because he's from the small town of Calico, Arkansas), Paul's immersion in that career and his sad life as the son of an abusive father, and the ultimate showdown that leads to Paul's estrangement from his father are only half the story, however. The rest revolves around Paul's desire to bring closure to his dad's horrific deed--for himself, his dying father, and Joe. Baseball fans will enjoy the (fake) baseball history and game details, while the rest is good enough to sustain interest, largely because of Grisham's skills. I love baseball--and I'm a Cubs fan to boot--so this was a good pick for me.
I read a lot, especially kid and young adult lit. This blog will review what I've been reading. I get most of my reading material from the library, plus I buy books at school book fairs and the usual stores. I look for freebies on Amazon for my Kindle, and I'm happy to review any ARCs or e-galleys I can get my hands on.