Thursday, April 12, 2012

Calico Joe; John Grisham


Title: Calico Joe
Author:  John Grisham
Publication Year:  2012
Publisher: Doubleday
Edition: ARC
Setting: England
Source: Amazon Vine
Date Completed: 4/11/2012
Rating: 4/5
Recommend: yes


At it's core, Calico Joe is a fictionalized story about big league baseball, but it's much more as well.  Spanning some 30 years, it is a story about fathers and sons, it's a story about the what-might-have beens, and it is a story about redemption and forgiveness in the wake of ones impending death.

Paul Tracey, the estranged son of former NY Mets relief pitcher, Warren Tracey. Paul receives a phone call from his father's latest wife, (he's had many), to say that Warren is dying of pancreatic cancer.  The story then flashes back to Paul's childhood days, around the age of eleven. It tells of Paul's early love of baseball back in 1973, and the time he spent collecting secret scrapbooks, and watching his cold and distant father perform on the pitchers mound.

Joe Castle (AKA Calico Joe) was the greatest rookie ever known and was a favorite player of Pauls. Calico Joe was an unassuming young man from Calico Rock, Arkansas, who is called up from the minors to play with the Chicago Cubs. From the get-go he hit home run after home run, and Cubs fans couldn't believe their eyes. He quickly shatters previous rookie stats, and becomes an idol in the eyes of the fans everywhere. Calico Joe's career is cut short by something that Paul's father, a jealous, second-rate pitcher did. Fans everywhere are devastated.  The incident changes Paul's feelings about his father, leaving him embarrassed and disappointed in his father.

Flash forward, when Paul learns that his father is dying, he has an idea, about how his father can make amends about what had happened 30 years earlier. In the process Paul learns some things about his father's past that he never knew.

Being a big fan of baseball, Calico Joe appealed to me.  It was quick and easy read, somewhat predictable, but still worth the time I invested.  I think this book would make a good "father's day" gift for dads who enjoy baseball.

37 comments:

  1. Sounds interesting. I am not at all a fan of baseball, but I always enjoy Grisham's novels - he is an excellent writer. I just bought my son Grisham's new (and first) middle-grade/teen novel for Easter.

    Thanks for the review!

    Sue

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    1. I think enjoying baseball is important for this one.

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  2. John Grisham is a good writer and my husband loves baseball so I might get this one for him! Thanks for the review!

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  3. I enjoyed this one as well. Nice review, Diane.

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  4. Good to see a good father-son novel among the many mother-daughter novels written recently. Nice review.

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    1. That's true -- plenty on mother-daught stories not many father-son.

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  5. I have only read Grisham's mystery books, but not his sports ones. Perhaps it's time I ventured over!

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  6. This would be great for Mr. BFR who like Grisham and baseball. :)

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    1. I bet Mr. F would like this if he enjoys baseball.

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  7. I hope to read this one soon. Maybe I'll get it for my Father-in-law for Father's Day.

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    1. Anyone who enjoys baseball at least a little, should enjoy this one.

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  8. I've never read a Grisham novel, but this might be the one I do read. The plot is intriguing, and I've gotta trust that the writing is good.

    Glad to hear you liked it.

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  9. I am not a big baseball fan, but this book sounds like it might be of interest to me anyway. The human story sounds really interesting, and I think you did a great job with the review. I am glad you loved this one!

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    1. It is a short novel, but it does involve a lot about baseball.

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  10. I think we would really like that one!

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  11. I'm not a huge baseball fan but this one still appeals to me!

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  12. Your review reminds me of Field of Dreams which is an adaptation of Kinsella's novel Shoeless Joe. Sounds like a great Fathers Day gift.

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  13. I think I've only read one of John Grisham's non lawyer/crime books. This sounds pretty good!

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  14. I'm intrigued by this one...I do love stories about families, including fathers and sons, which are very difficult and challenging relationships, at times.

    I'm not really a baseball fan, but it sounds as though that is not the biggest piece of this story.

    Thanks for the great review.

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  15. I'm going to read this one soon. Glad you liked it!

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  16. This is one that I would probably pass on, before I read your review as I am not a baseball fan. I am, however, interested in relationships (especially the parental child one). Sounds like Grisham did a good job of stepping outside of his normal legal thriller genre.

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    1. Kim, as i mentioned to Dar, o have to have at least a little interest in baseball to enjoy this one.

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  17. I'm glad you enjoyed this one Diane. I'm not much of a baseball fan so I'll be passing on it.

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    1. Dar, U do have to have at least a little interest in baseball to enjoy this one.

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  18. I mean this comment to apply to the post above, on Defending Jacob, but Blogger won't let me.. ? :)

    Anyway, this book has long caught my interest, being a total sucker for a good thriller, and while it seems upsetting (as the mother of a son) it does sound wonderfully exciting. Thanks for sharing your perspective which I'm always glad to have about a book I'm thinking about reading.

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    1. I might have been editing while u were trying to comment -- sorry.

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  19. Your review of Calico Joe reminds me of Field of Dreams, the film based on the novel Shoeless Joe by Kinsella. Both about father and son relationship. Seems like I can finally post comments here now... let's hope so. ;)

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  20. Yes, it does have the feel a bit -- loved that movie.

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