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With Bleachers John Grisham departs again from the legal thriller to experiment with a character-driven tale of reunion, broken high school dreams, and missed chances. While the book falls short of the compelling storytelling that has made Grisham a bestselling author, it is nonetheless a diverting novella that succeeds as light fiction.
The story centers on the impending death of the Messina Spartans' football coach Eddie Rake. One of the most victorious coaches in high school football history, Rake is a man both loved and feared by his players and by a town that relishes his 13 state titles. The hero of the novel is Neely Crenshaw, a former Rake All-American whose NFL prospects ended abruptly after a cheap shot to the knees. Neely has returned home for the first time in years to join a nightly vigil for Rake at the Messina stadium. Having wandered through life with little focus since his college days, he struggles to reconcile his conflicted feelings towards his former coach, and he assays to rekindle love in the ex-girlfriend he abandoned long ago. For Messina and for Neely, the homecoming offers the prospect of building a life after Rake.
Physically a narrow book, Bleachers is a modest fiction in many respects. The emotional scope is akin to that of a short story, with a single-minded focus on explorations of nostalgia and regret. The dialogue, especially that of Neely's friend Paul Curry, is sometimes wooden as characters recall Messina history in paragraphs that were perhaps better left to the narrator. But Grisham has otherwise written a well-made, entertaining--if a bit sentimental--story. --Patrick O'Kelley --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
As this poignant story begins, famed high school football coach Eddie Rake, who was known for producing one extraordinary team after another until he was fired, lays dying. Still, he remains a legend in Messina, a small town that comes together every week "to pour their emotions upon a Friday night football team." Indeed, in this town the football field is "more sacred than a cemetery." Neely Crenshaw, perhaps the best quarterback ever to play for Coach Rake, had vowed he'd never come back to Messina while Rake was alive. Yet he returns to share a vigil with the team members he left behind 15 years ago. Slowly, the narrative reveals why Rake was fired so suddenly and what happened between him and Neely. Along the way, the players reminisce and look hard at who they have become. This is a story of men's loyalty, their toughness and their clumsy affection for each other. Grisham's voice calls to mind that of Martin Sheen; he reads quietly and doesn't modulate his voice as the various team members tell their stories. He doesn't need to. His understated, stellar performance outshines the book's cloying story line.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Slow moving. Not up to the usual Grisham standards. Too much reminiscing for me without much plot development.Published 1 day ago by David Gennrich
A great story about a Superstar Jock in high school whose actual future didn't really meet his expectations back then. There were also some regrets (" the girl"). Read morePublished 4 days ago by Richard L. Dudas
I have read a few John Grisham novels and this was the one that signaled the end of my reading his new books. Read morePublished 19 days ago by Book Reader
This book was recommended to me because of the introspection and personal revelations in the wake of the coach's impending death. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
For those of us who were athletes "back in the day," and our "crowning athletic achievements may have been by the time we were 17/18 years old, I found the author's... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
I really enjoyed listening to this book. John Grisham did a great job of narrating it. I'm not sure I would have liked it as much had I read it instead of listened. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Quincy Parker
The writing, not the plot, kept me reading. I know little about the inner workings of high school football, and have read maybe one other book by this writer. Read morePublished 1 month ago by APR