Friday, May 11, 2012

(65) Calico Joe by John Grisham

Calico Joe

Publication Date: April 10, 2012
Pages: 208

I think it is safe to say that John Grisham is one of the most prolific authors of our generation. You look up "Bestseller" in the dictionary and you will find his picture next to Stephen King, Dan Brown, and Jodi Picoult.   I can honestly say that the last legal thriller of his left me less than satisfied, so I have avoided his more recent novels.   I thought that since Calico Joe is about baseball I could take the risk and give it a read.

Calico Joe is the story about many things, but at the heart of the book is America's favorite past time, baseball. It is the Summer of 1973 and eleven year old Paul Tracy longs to have a hero.  Someone he can look up to and aspire to be like.  Given the fact that his father, Warren Tracy, is a pitcher for the New York Mets, in theory it would be him that Paul worships.  But because of family dynamics and Warren's quick temper, Paul instead chooses newcomer, Cub slugger, "Calico Joe" Castle.  A rookie called up from the minor leagues who starts shattering hitting records left and right.  Until the night he faces Warren Tracy and the Mets.  In one moment two careers and one life is destroyed by a deliberate "bean" meant to put Calico Joe in his place.  Instead it puts him in the hospital and nearly kills him.

Flash forward more than thirty years.  Paul is a grown man with three daughters and no relationship with his father, who has just been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Paul encourages his father to try to make amends for what he did to Calico Joe.  Will he be able to convince his father how important the act of reconciliation is before it is too late?

Calico Joe is a a wonderful little novel about regrets, forgiveness and how the simple act of making an apology can set your soul free.  I think that this book will be the perfect Father's Day gift for so many Dad's out there.  Not just because of the baseball aspect of the story, but also because of Father/Son relationship. Even a damaged relationship like the one between Paul and his father is worthy of examination at the end of one's life, if not before.  Bottom line, I think that this book has many audiences and it is well worth the read.


Why I Read...

I remember the carefree summer days when I used to ride my bike to the public library to pick out new books. I would go almost daily to find books to read. I read to learn. I read to explore the world. I read to escape. I read because not reading is not an option.

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