“Calico Joe” by John Grisham
When I saw that John Grisham had written a baseball story, I knew it would be good! I wasn’t disappointed with this fun little read.
The mixing of fictional and historical characters and events takes some getting used to (if you’re familiar with baseball history), but all that was required for this baseball fan to get into the story was just a little bit of “cognitive estrangement”. I forgot what I knew and let Grisham’s portrayal of the summer of 1973 become my temporary reality.
Non baseball fans will surely enjoy the story just as much, as it isn’t really about baseball at all. It’s more of a human interest story about fathers, sons, boyhood dreams, and the sometimes harsh reality of life that interferes with those dreams.
Though this book seems bound (like so many other Grisham novels) to be adapted into a movie — one I’ll be happy to see — much of the value of the book is in knowing what is going on inside Paul Tracey’s head: something that might not transition well to the big screen. It’s also difficult to imagine a movie version lasting much longer than the time it took to breeze through this novel, which is certainly the shortest Grisham story I’ve read. I completed it in a single sitting.
If you want a fun, easy, summertime read, you can’t go wrong with Calico Joe!