Calico Joe by John Grisham

Calico Joe by John Grisham,Reviewed by Allen Hott

John Grisham can write about anything. He is excellent on courtroom drama, legal battles, and various sports. Yes, sports! Not long ago he wrote Playing for Pizza, a neat story about a pro football player going to Italy to play in the leagues over there. And now he has written a really well told story of a young boy who is the son of a major league pitcher.

Sadly the father isn’t a great father and even more sadly he is not anywhere near a great father. Not only is he a poor example of a father he pretty well fails at marriage as well as after leaving the boy’s mother he moves on and through five other marriages. Oh yes he is at best a mediocre major league pitcher.

The son who was really into baseball gets completely discouraged with the sport and all because of what his father tries to teach him. His father always professes to “live up to the code” which at least in his mind means not only knocking a hitter down in certain circumstances but knocking him down with such a vengeance that severe injuries can occur.

About the same time Warren Tracey, the father, was leaving his family for good there appeared in the big leagues a true phenom. Joe Castle, called up by the Cubs, is a rookie who breaks into big league baseball like a ninety nine mile an hour fastball. He is setting records of all types with his hitting as he and the Cubs are on a real tear. Joe hits three homers in his first game and that really is just the beginning of the hitting spree that he goes on. The baseball world loves him and since he comes from the little town of Calico Rock, Arkansas the sports writers dub this flash to be Calico Joe.

Grisham however is writing a story with other facets so things have to happen to bring an end to Calico Joe, the ball player. And these things have to also involve both the boy, Paul Tracey and his father, the pitcher.

A monumental thing that happens ends up being a real life changer for all three of the major characters. How they each deal with it and how it affects their lives is the story in a nutshell.

Grisham not only tells the story but he tells it with such passion that even the most hardnosed reader will end up with at least a lump in his throat if not a few tears in his eyes. Baseball fans will really enjoy the story but anyone with half a heart will also get a lot out of reading Calico Joe. It is a fast but thoroughly enjoyable read with a lot of life’s lessons in it!

Disclosure in Accordance with FTC Guidelines 16 CFR Part 255

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