From this side of the Atlantic Ocean, the game of baseball seems like a glorified version of rounders. A game which our American cousins get overly excited about. A game that thrives on statistics and innings and home runs and such like. You might wonder why you would want to read a book about baseball at all. Calico Joe by John Grisham is that very book, and yet it's definitely one to read - even without knowing the first thing about the game.
Very helpfully, Grisham provides a brief introduction to the game for his British and international readers before he launches in to the story. In those 14 pages, he runs the reader through the basics, setting around 88 terms in their context with explanation. This book is worth it just to catch a grasp of baseball - he definitely hits a home run with the introduction!
I've previously written about my love of Grisham's story telling, and this book is no exception. The story is narrated by Paul Tracy, the son of Warren Tracy - a pitcher for the New York Mets. It follows the events of Paul's childhood, growing up mad about baseball, yet with an uneasy relationship with his father, made worse by the events of one particular night. Now, thirty years on, Paul seeks to bring reconciliation, but could it be possible to right one wrong from so long ago?
Grisham's observations about people, and his characterisation continues to his high standard. There are moments of gentle humour, as well as touching moments. The breakdown between father and son is captured and portrayed painfully and realistically. And the ending? Well, it comes just a little too quickly. Towards the end it seems that it all finishes quite abruptly, which was disappointing.
If you're into sports, it's a book to savour. If you're into fiction, you'll think it fantastic. And if, like me, Grisham is one of your favourite authors, then you'll enjoy this, one of his latest contributions. Calico Joe is available from Amazonand on the Kindle.