I really liked this story. It is a quick read. I am a sports fan, but not particularly a baseball fan. It is more a story of forgiveness and making amends than anything else. It is told by the son of a pro baseball player who was mean spirited and caused devastating consequences to lives and careers, particularly the famous rookie for the Chicago Cubs, "Calico Joe". The son tries to convince his father to own up to his actions before his impending death.
A really enjoyable baseball yarn about a young rookie phenom, Calico Joe Castle, whose career with the Chicago Cubs in 1973 was cut short by an unfortunate event. The story is told from the perspective of a young fan of Joe's whose father, Warren Tracey, was the pitcher for the New York Mets who threw the intentional beanball that ended Joe's career. The story is much more than a baseball story, delving into the family life of the Traceys, the abuses of the father, Warren, and how they led to a life full of misgivings for him. It also tells the story of Joe Castle and his amazing short rookie season, as well as the story of him and his brothers as they try for careers in baseball. It is evident that Grisham is a fan of baseball and I would highly recommend this one to any baseball or sports fan.
John Grisham made a name for himself writing novels about lawyers. I've read a few and enjoyed them, and I'm sure that their success has helped him attain some level of financial security. However, after listening to the audio version of Calico Joe, I realize that Mr. Grisham's talents would have been well served had he instead become a baseball writer / columnist.
Calico Joe is the story of a budding baseball superstar and a journeyman pitcher, and of the circumstances that tied the two men together. Told by the latter's son, who is an active participant in the story, Calico Joe is mostly a love letter to the sport of baseball. To listen to Grisham's text as read by Erik Singer is to evoke memories of listening to the finest baseball announcers describing a game in the early 1970s. No, it's like listening to the finest baseball announcers describing THE game in the 70s the ideal / idealized game before the best players shifted teams thanks to free agency, before the greatest players of that era were forced into retirement by the passage of time.
I would like to complain that the book is too short but in reality, it's not. This novella is not padded with extraneous words, scenes, or subplots; it tells the story it needs to tell and then allows the reader move on with his or her life. Hopefully, a life at least slightly changed for the better by having read Calico Joe.
This book gets my highest recommendation.
Hard to believe this is his book. Boring would be the best way to describe the book. I think he first wrote this to be a short story, but it was a little too long, so he expanded it to make a 200 page book to honor a publisher contract. Despite what I told my sister in law, she still wanted the book. I guess Grisham fans are loyal, but this is a book worth skipping.
I picked this book up primarily because of its baseball theme and while I was kept interested and enjoyed the time shifts; the ending was ultimately predictable. It is very short and probably should have been a short story instead. For nostalgia it is interesting; if you are looking for something gripping and unexpected, this is not it.