John Grisham’s “Calico Joe”

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Heart Warming Story of Forgiveness and Redemption

Book Reviewed by Dr. David P. Craig

Two of my favorite subjects are addressed in this book: Baseball and Redemption. Two definitions for redemption are as follows: (1) the action of being saved from sin, error, or evil; and (2) the action of regaining possession of something in exchange for a payment, or clearing a debt.

In this well-written short story by Grisham (I read it from cover to cover in one sitting), tells a gut wrenching story of an abusive alcoholic father (who happens to be a professional pitcher for the New York Mets); the story of his eleven year old son; and a rookie phenom nicknamed Calico Joe who is setting records left and right coming up to the majors with the Chicago Cubs.

From the three perspectives: alcoholic abusive father; young impressionable son; and talented young phenom Graham develops the story over what happens to each of these key “players” over the next thirty years. Without giving away the plot – the story keeps you gripped as you hope for a great ending. Grisham delivers (as usual) on developing a great plot that does not disappoint.

The reader is drawn in to the story from the get go, and Grisham continues to draw the reader into the story. It’s as if you are involved emotionally, spiritually, and at times, even physically with the characters of the story. The story is one of great lessons: the wasted or  unexamined life isn’t worth living; death is approaching fast – so make your life and relationships count; second chances are available; redemption and forgiveness are possible for everyone. I highly recommend this book as a terrific read that with an ending that is insightful, wise, and full of hope.