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(From Goodreads) Whatever happened to Calico Joe?
 
     It began quietly enough with a pulled hamstring. The first baseman for the Cubs AAA affiliate in Wichita went down as he rounded third and headed for home. The next day, Jim Hickman, the first baseman for the Cubs, injured his back. The team suddenly needed someone to play first, so they reached down to their AA club in Midland, Texas, and called up a twenty-one-year-old named Joe Castle. He was the hottest player in AA and creating a buzz.
 
In the summer of 1973 Joe Castle was the boy wonder of baseball, the greatest rookie anyone had ever seen.  The kid from Calico Rock, Arkansas dazzled Cub fans as he hit home run after home run, politely tipping his hat to the crowd as he shattered all rookie records.
 
Calico Joe quickly became the idol of every baseball fan in America, including Paul Tracey, the young son of a hard-partying and hard-throwing Mets pitcher. On the day that Warren Tracey finally faced Calico Joe, Paul was in the stands, rooting for his idol but also for his Dad. Then Warren threw a fastball that would change their lives forever…
 
In John Grisham’s new novel the baseball is thrilling, but it’s what happens off the field that makes CALICO JOE a classic.

I would never be what you called a baseball fan. I like going to live games well enough but really that’s for the awesome burritos we get at a little place near our stadium. Well, that and we have a really nice stadium here in San Diego so that always makes it nice. But as for the game itself, it’s just sort of dull to me. I totally understand why people love it (my husband for one) I’m just not one of them.

But here’s the thing, I love the idea of baseball. Have you ever seen Field of Dreams? If you haven’t you should it really is a good movie. If you have, remember that scene when James Earl Jones talks about baseball and our connection to it? Here it is just in case:

Anyway, I love this scene and wish that actual baseball made me feel this way. This book makes me feel this way. Not so much the way it portraits baseball all the time. But the way Paul loves baseball and the magic of what could be when Joe Castle gets called up the the big leagues. That’s the baseball that was in this book.

But besides just baseball this is a story about fathers and sons and coming to terms with your past. The story of what happened to Joe and how his family and town rally around him and Paul’s plan to try to make amends for the catastrophic events his father created kept me engrossed. I wanted to know whether Paul would be successful in his mission and if he would come to terms with the demons of his past.

This was a very quick read, not just because of it’s less than 200 pages but also because the story moved at a great pace without feeling rushed. I used to read a lot of John Grisham’s legal thrillers ages ago but kind of fell out of the habit. And then I read A Painted House and was impressed how well he did something completely different. I’m so glad that I got a ARC of this novel because I don’t think I would have read it if I didn’t and would have really missed out. This makes me want to give his other non-legal novels a try. Heck, it also reminds me what a good writer he is and makes me know I have to head back to his legal thrillers , too.

If you’d like to win a copy of Calico Joe for yourself or maybe for Dad, with Father’s Day coming (I know it’s seems like Father’s Day is a long way off but really it’s just around the corner)…. anyway leave a comment by Midnight (PDT) on April 30th and one lucky winner will be picked by random.com. Good Luck!!

Thanks to Doubleday for this giveaway and for my review copy.

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