Customer Reviews


1,823 Reviews
5 star:
 (903)
4 star:
 (510)
3 star:
 (246)
2 star:
 (98)
1 star:
 (66)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


184 of 199 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Short But Satisfying
Calico Joe had every kid's baseball fantasy - lightening start in his big league debut, the lifting of a sad-sack team (the Cubs) to contender status, broken records, the adulation of his teammates and fans - and then he didn't. John Grisham has written a very good and captivating story - more than a baseball story, though America's game is the canvass upon which this...
Published on March 23, 2012 by Wayne A. Smith

versus
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Weak effort...
John Grisham can be a great writer. He's written chapters where there is excitement around someone using a copier. Calico Joe though is a very weak story. The only positive aspect was its' length...it's very short. Frankly, this should have been a short story. This just seemed like a half-hearted effort.

As for the actual story...The character development is...
Published on May 9, 2012 by Ken Esq


‹ Previous | 1 2183 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

184 of 199 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Short But Satisfying, March 23, 2012
By 
This review is from: Calico Joe (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Calico Joe had every kid's baseball fantasy - lightening start in his big league debut, the lifting of a sad-sack team (the Cubs) to contender status, broken records, the adulation of his teammates and fans - and then he didn't. John Grisham has written a very good and captivating story - more than a baseball story, though America's game is the canvass upon which this tragedy is painted.

Warren Tracey was also a big leaguer - a pitcher - with the kind of stats that define most careers in the bigs: occasionally good, usually mediocre and sometimes awful. He was destined to never be remembered except by trivia hounds once his career reached its uncelebrated end - until his involvement in a baseball drama that ensured his name would be written in baseball lore, though not in any manner he would have desired.

The story is told through the eyes of Warren's eleven year old boy Paul and alternates between 1973, the year Calico Joe and Warren were in the game together, and thirty years later when all three characters are still living lives vastly influenced by the events of that year. Warren not only contributed to one of the game's great "what ifs," but also through his wretched performance as a father and husband, ensured that his family would bear the influence of being of and with Warren Tracey.

I won't go into more because detail would give away the drama to this slim book. Although not nearly as long as most Grisham novels, this story is worth the read. It is perfect for a single-evening immersion, so if you are the type of reader who likes to occasionally fully immerse yourself for a couple of hours with a good story and see it through to the end, this is your book. It reminded me somewhat of Grisham's book "The Testament" in that it touches on some of the same themes. It also is in the vein of "Bleachers" and "Painted House."

A good, though short, story that is engaging with a satisfying conclusion.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


201 of 230 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful story of fathers, sons, regrets, and forgiveness, March 21, 2012
This review is from: Calico Joe (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This was really 4 1/2 stars for me. I love baseball and John Grisham's books, so I was not surprised at my response to this book.

Often, young athletes take plenty of sideline coaching from their Dads, and it is not always positive. Paul Tracey had it harder than most as his dad was Warren Tracey, a major league pitcher. When Warren was playing for the Mets, one play involving a rookie will ruin their carreers with one pitch; and not just any rookie, but one that was breaking records from his first at bat in the major leagues, Joe Castle aka Calico Joe.

that one play ruined both careers and this is the story of what happened when the spotlight dimmed. 30 years later, Paul Tracey attempts to re-unite the two players. Will both parties agree to meet? Will the truth be told after all these years? Will forgiveness be withheld or given? Will a father and son finally come to terms with their relationship?

To find out you will have to read this memorable story filled with wonderfully developed characters and love, hate, forgiveness, and redeemation.

It is not just a baseball story.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Grisham: Gripping and Riveting Story, April 28, 2012
By 
Zack Ford (Louisville, KY) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Calico Joe (Hardcover)
"What if a pitcher intentionally hit a batter, a young star? What if both careers were ruined? And what if they met years later to try to come to grips with what happened in a split second?" These are some of the opening words of John Grisham to the reader explaining his rationale for writing this book.

I must say, I began this book very conflicted. First off, I am not a big baseball fan, AT ALL! The sport has always bored me and I have had no interest in it whatsoever. However, John Grisham is one of my absolute favorite authors. So here was the dilemma I was in: My favorite author writing on one of my least favorite topics. How would it go?

After finishing the book, I was not conflicted at all! I absolutely loved the book. While the book definitely centers around baseball as the skeleton for its storyline, it moves in the same rapid and gripping style that one would expect from a Grisham book. Your emotions are stirred to love Joe Castle and hate Warren Tracey, but just when you think you have it all figured out, you begin to have just a little bit of compassion for Tracey and are conflicted in your emotions.

I think that Grisham found the perfect harmony between length and in-depth details in this work. There is enough baseball jargon to engage the avid fan, but not enough to turn away someone like myself.

Go buy the book and enjoy this short, but excellently written piece of American fiction. Grisham has hit one out of the park in this one (pun intended).

In accordance with FTC regulations, I would like to thank Doubleday Publishing for providing me with a review copy in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


60 of 74 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Grisham pitches another winner, March 26, 2012
This review is from: Calico Joe (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Calico Joe---John Grisham
One of America's best storytellers, Grisham departs from his usual tales of crime and trials to write a baseball story. This book tells the story of a small town Arkansas boy who bursts on the sports world in 1973 to become an instant sensation. Alas, his career is to be very short. But the reason for that is for the telling.
Grisham alternates between the 1973 story and the modern day and flows easily between the two. His baseball knowledge is extensive but,unlike what often happens in baseball, he does not allow the book to become mired in minutia and statistics. He gives just enough baseball information as needed to move the storyline. Baseball fans will certainly appreciate that he blends real players from 1973, from multiple teams, with fictitious ones. Non-baseball fans will enjoy the book as well because it has well developed characters and a moving story.
Grisham has another hit with this new book. It is good to see an extremely successful writer willing to use his talent to write a story that veers from his usual courtroom/crime formula.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Weak effort..., May 9, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Calico Joe: A Novel (Kindle Edition)
John Grisham can be a great writer. He's written chapters where there is excitement around someone using a copier. Calico Joe though is a very weak story. The only positive aspect was its' length...it's very short. Frankly, this should have been a short story. This just seemed like a half-hearted effort.

As for the actual story...The character development is weak...and the ending is rather predictable yet unsatisfying. Perhaps Mr. Grisham should leave the baseball books to others and stick to writing thrillers.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brief but enjoyable, April 2, 2012
This review is from: Calico Joe (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I was kind of split on this book before I started reading it. I've always enjoyed Grisham's legal thrillers more than his other novels, so I wasn't sure what to expect. I thought I might like the baseball piece more than the family piece, but I found the opposite to be true.

Without recounting the plot, which has been done nicely by many others already, I'll say that the brevity of the novel did hamper slightly the development of its characters. Paul Tracey, the lead, is well-developed, but his father, as well as his baseball idol Joe Castle, don't seem to have much in the way of complexity. Maybe that's what Grisham was going for, but I thought it detracted slightly from the book since they were both critical components. At the same time brevity may have negatively impacted character development, I believe in some ways it also helped by keeping the story moving briskly and never becoming bogged down in unnecessary detail.

As a huge baseball fan, I did have some issues with Joe and his performance. I understand how Grisham was trying to present his meteoric rise, but it went well beyond the believable pretty quickly. I think he could have presented Castle's rise without Little League-type hitting numbers, but that's really a minor complaint. I did like the manner in which these fictional characters were mixed in with actual players of the era (Mays, Seaver, Oates, etc.).

Overall, I'd say that this one got better as it went along and became less about baseball and more about the father/son relationship. Baseball is a central part of the driving action in the novel, but I felt like its role was slightly confused. Does Paul love the game, or hate it for what it did to his family? Again, maybe I'm just hung up on this because I'm a fan of the game. Either way, this is still what I would consider Grisham's best non-thriller book to date and I'd recommend it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


35 of 46 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Shallow, far fetched, sappy, but fun read, April 3, 2012
This review is from: Calico Joe (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This book will never be confused with literature, but it is an easy, quick, and sappy baseball story that will be a fun read for baseball fans. Grisham has a tendency to find a sport and then craft a story around something that gives him an excuse to write a short novella. I've read Bleachers, and Playing for Pizza. While Bleachers had more of a story line and it had a more serious message, Calico Joe is sort of caught between a couple of concepts and just doesn't get there entirely.

There is an attempt to take on the old "bean ball" mentality of early vintage baseball and Grisham gets a little preachy on that topic. The brushback pitch was a standard in the old days when a hitter got a little too much to handle. Grisham brings this topic to the forefront as a collision of a new career hitter and the end of an "old line" career pitcher comes down the pages careening out of control. The reader sees it coming from the opening pages and Grisham does little to hide what's coming. It is like using the Hitchcock movie method, but there is never attempting to add an element of surprise. I expected something - anything, but the story was pretty vanilla.

Trying to fit a broken home life, a mistreated kid, an angry and ill tempered aging pitcher with a character that fits a little better in the movie, The Natural, all in less than 200 very lightly written pages, Grisham has stretched any level of character credibility.

The reason that I did enjoy reading it has more to do with loving a baseball story than reading a good baseball story. I do think that it is enjoyable, but there are plenty of flaws that make it just an average 3 star rating.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A story of baseball, family, and forgiveness from best selling author John Grisham, March 24, 2012
By 
Bill Garrison (Oklahoma City, OK USA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Calico Joe (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Bestselling author John Grisham finally gets to write about baseball, a lifelong passion of his, and the result is CALICO JOE, a story about fathers, sons, and forgiveness.

After a string of injuries to the 1973 Cubs, Joe Castle is called up to the majors and sets the league on fire. The young rookie, nicknamed Calico Joe, becomes the hero of many young boys, including Paul Tracey. Paul's father is Warren Tracey, a pitcher for the Mets, and anything but a hero. He drinks too much, cheats on his wife, and is never around for the kids.

Calico Joe and Warren Tracey's lives collide and result in a horrific tragedy. Thirty years later, Warren Tracey is dying, and Paul goes on a journey to bring healing to all those involved in that tragic night many years ago.

Grisham tells two stories here. He tracks the rise of Joe Castle in the summer of 73, and he also follows Paul Tracey's journey to Arkansas to find out whatever happened to Calico Joe?

Problems with the novel: It isn't a novel. It is called a novel, but is really short and can easily be read in two hours. I'm a big time baseball fan so I loved that part of the story, but others with no interest in baseball might not like all the baseball detail.

Why I liked the novel: Aside from the baseball, I really enjoyed the relationship between Paul, his father, and Joe Castle. Warren Tracey is a horrible man who has damaged the lives of many around him. Yet Grisham shows there is goodness in everyone, at least for a little while.

I liked the story, and the ending provided a satisfying emotional punch. Grisham is a great story teller, but some my be let down by the story he tells here. I just don't know if it is for everyone, especially non baseball fans.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A HOME RUN FOR MR. GRISHAM!!!, April 14, 2012
This review is from: Calico Joe (Hardcover)
ou would think having a dad who is a Major League Baseball pitcher playing for the Mets would be a cool thing for a young man but for young Paul Tracy it is not so cool. His dad is never home and when he is both Paul and his mom wish he wasn't.

It's 1973 and this summer all eyes are are on a kid from Calico, Arkansas. He has been brought into the Chicago Cubs organization and is hitting one home run after another. He is shattering rookie records right and left. He is a switch hitter and a heck of a first baseman too. He has played baseball all his life and is thrilled to have made it to the big "show".

Paul Tracy is even collecting all the press releases and newspaper articles about "Calico Joe" for a special scrapbook. He has made several for the great players like Tom Seaver and Willie Mays. He had started on one for his dad but his dad doesn't get a lot of press.

Paul is so excited when the Cubs finally get to play the Mets. He is in the stands cheering on both his idol and for his dad. He doesn't know everyone's lives are about to be changed in just one split second. Yet when it happens he is really not surprised.

Dollycas's Thoughts
I am so glad John Grisham finally wrote this book. Baseball seems like a natural topic for a Grisham novel. He has hit it out of the park with this story. He takes us out of the courtroom onto the ball diamond with complete ease. Grisham's love for the game shines! America's favorite pastime blended with fathers and sons, family and forgiveness. When what happens on the field comes home, up close and personal.

Paul Tracy is real and his story can be heartbreaking and then uplifting. Joe Castle is a class act with strong values that he never sets aside for anything. Warren Tracy is the exact opposite. He is an abusive husband and father, a drunk and a mediocre player who thinks he is better than everyone.

How all their lives collide makes for a superb story. A story I see quickly becoming a classic. A story everyone will love whether you love baseball or not. A definite home run here Mr. Grisham!! It should break all records!!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A "baseball book" that fans and non-fans alike will enjoy, April 20, 2012
This review is from: Calico Joe (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
With Calico Joe, Grisham presents the reader with an intriguing departure from his traditional lawyer-based genre. Having always enjoyed Grisham's novels, and as a long-time baseball fan, I welcomed an opportunity to preview Calico Joe. Overall, I enjoyed the story a great deal. It was a quick read that I consumed over a day or two while on vacation last week. Although not a page turner with a gripping climax like some of Grisham's other works, Calico Joe kept a steady pace and held my interest from start to finish. I liked the way that Grisham effectively bounced back and forth from the present to the past to tell his story.

As someone who lived in both the Chicago and New York City areas in the early `70's and had a detailed knowledge of the players on both the Mets and the Cubs from watching many games on TV, the inclusion of actual players in this fictional work provided me with a nostalgic trip down memory lane that was an added bonus. Although I was drawn to the book due to the baseball theme, I don't think one need in any way to be a baseball fan to enjoy this book. Baseball provides the context but there is plenty to the story for a non-fan to enjoy. (In fact, my wife, who dislikes baseball, is reading the book right now and based on her comments to me seems to be enjoying it as well.) Pick this up and give it a try.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2183 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Calico Joe: A Novel
Calico Joe: A Novel by John Grisham
$5.99
Add to wishlist See buying options
Search these reviews only
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.