Monday, 14 May 2012

Review - Calico Joe by John Grisham

Calico Joe
AUTHOR: John Grisham
ISBN: 978-0-385-53607
PAGES: 198

    Unexpected Paul Tracey gets a call from his most recent stepmother who informs him that his ex-major leaguer father, Warren Tracey, is dying of cancer. His relationship with his father has been very distant since his parents divorced when he was in his early teens. Knowing that his sister doesn’t want anything to do with their father, Paul takes it upon himself to go visit him, but first he makes a quick stop to Calico Rock to try to find Joe Castle.

    In the summer 1973, the Chicago Cubs rookie Joe Castle came out of nowhere and shocked the Major League Baseball fans as he hit home run after home run. Warren Tracey followed Joe Castle vigorously, even keeping a scrapbook full a newspaper clippings and autographs, so you can say he was a big fan. Warren also was a fan of the New York Mets, as his father was a starting pitcher and a major alcoholic with some anger problems. On August 24, 1973, the Cubs were playing at the Shea Stadium with Warren as the starting pitcher. Warren was in one of his foul moods that will forever change the life of Joe Castle.

    Calico Joe is a departure from John Grisham’s normal lawyer/mystery genre, focusing on America’s favorite pastime, baseball. There is no mystery here as the plot focuses on Warren Tracey who is going through memory lane as he traveling to see his father one last time, hoping to talk him into apologizing to the great Joe Castle. The story is heartbreaking and realistically written, mixing in real people, events, and places with fiction. Baseball fans will particularly enjoy the time travel back to the 1973 season. The book is a fast read, being just under two hundred pages. Overall, I thought it was a sweet but heartbreaking story, which I can easily see being made into a Hallmark movie. With Father’s Day just around the corner, Calico Joe could make a great gift.

*I would like to thank Doubleday for sending me a copy to review. 

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