‘Baseball is a game of failure…’
😐 😐 ❓
In a departure from his usual legal thrillers, Grisham here gives us a book about the world of baseball. The first person narrator is Paul Tracey, whose father, Warren, was a pitcher for the Mets in 1973 in the same season as Joe Castle, the Calico Joe of the title, was breaking all records as a rookie player with the Cubs. Warren is now dying and as Paul travels to see him, he tells us about his childhood, his hero-worship for Joe and why his relationship with Warren reached breaking point.
Normally I am a big fan of Grisham but really, there are limits. Firstly it is very short and yet the plot, such as it is, is so slight as to barely maintain interest to the end. Instead the book is filled with extremely detailed descriptions of imaginary baseball games, so detailed that Grisham felt it necessary to give what he calls a summary of the basics of the game. This ‘summary’ runs to 13% of the entire Kindle book and was so dull that I gave up halfway through, deciding to trust that the book would make sense even if I didn’t know what a drag bunt or a pick-off might be. By about the fourth chapter, I was so bored that I was speed-reading through the innings by innings match descriptions that fill easily half the book dropping back in whenever it looked like the plot might move along a little. However, the plot was so uninteresting and clichéd and the characterisation so superficial that it did not make up for all the rest.
I would have given this book 2 stars but I recognise some people will be more interested in baseball and perhaps in interminable scoring statistics, even imaginary ones, than I and so have upped it to an extremely generous 3. Grisham says in his introduction ‘Baseball is a game of failures’. Unfortunately I feel this self-indulgent book is an example of that. Here’s hoping Grisham returns to form (and the legal world) in his next novel.