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Calico Joe: A Novel Paperback – March 26, 2013


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Dell; a edition (March 26, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345541332
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345541338
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 4.2 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,878 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for Calico Joe
 
“Grisham knocks it out of the park.”—The Washington Post
 
“An enjoyable, heartwarming read that’s not just for baseball fans.”—USA Today
 
Praise for John Grisham
 
“Never let it be said this man doesn’t know how to spin a good yarn.”—Entertainment Weekly
 
“Grisham may well be the best American storyteller writing today.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer

About the Author

John Grisham is the author of twenty-five novels, including, most recently, The Racketeer; one work of nonfiction; a collection of stories; and a series for young readers. The recipient of the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction, he is also the chairman of the board of directors of the Mississippi Innocence Project at the University of Mississippi School of Law. He lives in Virginia and Mississippi.

More About the Author

Long before his name became synonymous with the modern legal thriller, John Grisham was working 60-70 hours a week at a small Southaven, Mississippi law practice, squeezing in time before going to the office and during courtroom recesses to work on his hobby--writing his first novel. Born on February 8, 1955 in Jonesboro, Arkansas, to a construction worker and a homemaker, John Grisham as a child dreamed of being a professional baseball player. Realizing he didn't have the right stuff for a pro career, he shifted gears and majored in accounting at Mississippi State University. After graduating from law school at Ole Miss in 1981, he went on to practice law for nearly a decade in Southaven, specializing in criminal defense and personal injury litigation. One day at the DeSoto County courthouse, Grisham overheard the harrowing testimony of a twelve-year-old rape victim and was inspired to start a novel exploring what would have happened if the girl's father had murdered her assailants. Getting up at 5 a.m. every day to get in several hours of writing time before heading off to work, Grisham spent three years on A Time to Kill and finished it in 1987. Initially rejected by many publishers, it was eventually bought by Wynwood Press, who gave it a modest 5,000 copy printing and published it in June 1988.That might have put an end to Grishams hobby. However, he had already begun his next book, and it would quickly turn that hobby into a new full-time career. When he sold the film rights to The Firm to Paramount Pictures for $600,000, Grisham suddenly became a hot property among publishers, and book rights were bought by Doubleday. Spending 47 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list, The Firm became the bestselling novel of 1991.The successes of The Pelican Brief, which hit number one on the New York Times bestseller list, and The Client, which debuted at number one, confirmed Grisham's reputation as the master of the legal thriller. Grisham's success even renewed interest in A Time to Kill, which was republished in hardcover by Doubleday and then in paperback by Dell. This time around, it was a bestseller. Since first publishing A Time to Kill in 1988, Grisham has written one novel a year (his other books are The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, The Chamber, The Rainmaker, The Runaway Jury, The Partner, The Street Lawyer, The Testament, The Brethren, A Painted House, Skipping Christmas, The Summons, The King of Torts, Bleachers, The Last Juror, The Broker, Playing for Pizza, and The Appeal) and all of them have become international bestsellers. There are currently over 225 million John Grisham books in print worldwide, which have been translated into 29 languages. Nine of his novels have been turned into films (The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, A Time to Kill, The Rainmaker, The Chamber, A Painted House, The Runaway Jury, and Skipping Christmas), as was an original screenplay, The Gingerbread Man.

Photo credit Maki Galimberti

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Toni Osborne on April 9, 2013
Format: Paperback
"Calico Joe" is a breezy little novel coming just under 200 pages , it is the first-person account of a fictionalized beaning of a Chicago Cubs prodigy by the name of Joe Castle, from Calico Rock , Ark. The story is narrated by Paul Tracey, son of Warren, the head-hunting power pitcher for the New York Mets who aimed a fast ball at the head Joe Calico and took him out of the game and ended his career.

In the summer of 1973 Joe Castle was the boy wonder and the greatest rookie anyone had ever seen and quickly became the idol of every baseball fan in America, including Paul Tracey. One day when Warren Tracey finally faced Calico Joe. Paul was in the stands, rooting for both his idol and his dad. Then the fatal pitch came and their life changed for ever.

In vintage Grisham fashion the story picks up pace as the story unfolds and jumps ahead almost four decades. Joe Castle is barely a functional groundskeeper at a school back in Calico and Warren Tracey is dying of cancer at home in Florida. Paul who had abandoned baseball a long time ago decided to track down Castle for reconciliation between him and his dad.

This novel is worthy of our valuable time whether you are a baseball fan or not. It is a total contrast to Mr. Grisham typical novels that are full of twists and turns and tension, "Calico Joe" is simply a sweet and simple story with a moral and of a relationship between a father and son. The beginning of the book is a detailed account on how the game is played with all the rules and jargon. This is rather a sad plot with very moving elements of forgiveness and redemption and the main drive that kept me turning the pages. The narrative and setting are solid and shifts back and forth between 1973 and 2003, keeping track of the changing periods was challenging at times. Although the data is not accurate according to the author's notes the recreation is nevertheless fun and does capture enough of the excitement for anyone, fan or not to enjoy.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jakob Bruhl on June 5, 2013
Format: Paperback
I hadn't read a Grisham novel in a while and picked this one up on a whim. As others have noted, it is a very quick read - something I enjoyed about other Grisham books. It's also a good story. Is it an incredibly well-developed plot line with complex characters? As many reviewers have noted: no. But that doesn't make it a bad story or not worth reading.

Most people don't pick up John Grisham's books looking for a deep read that brings to light new insights into human character. They likely pick up his books looking instead for a captivating story that keeps them interested from page to page, chapter to chapter. For me, this book did just that.

The story was interesting and the way Grisham bounced between the 1973 season when Paul Tracey was an 11-year old kid and the present as he sought to bring some closure to what happened during that season was well done. I think it's a bit of a stretch to say that the characters, while rather simple, are one-dimensional. Some real emotions are dealt with: grief, bitterness, grudges, and forgiveness. In all, it's a story about family, relationships, growing up, and reconciliation. And it's a story that is worth the little bit of time it takes to read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By clifford bowman on July 29, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
great book very easy read, john does a good job of putting the reader right in the story. I can see a movie in the future. it's my first john grisham book there will be more.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By H. Cordell on June 2, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My husband is reading this novel, now, and says it's excellent as is all of John Grisham books. I'm certain he'll want me to order more of them.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By bbsteele on May 15, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have always enjoyed reading John Grisham books, but this one was a bit of a let down. Very predictable ending, very weak "blindside", but very good character development. I enjoyed seeing all of the baseball player names from the 1970's, and enjoyed the history of baseball in this book.

It was very short, very easy to read, just predictable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By David Anderson on October 1, 2013
Format: Paperback
Not a home run of a baseball novel, I'd call this not even a ground-rule double, but more of a bloop single.

The mixture of real-life baseball names like Yogi Berra with fictitious ones like Joe Castle is at times interesting and at times distracting.

Non-baseball fans won't be interested, and hardcore baseball fans will be distracted by the unreasonable exploits of Calico Joe. The novel's hero is an implausibly good baseball player, the villain pitcher Warren Tracey is an implausibly bad human being, and the story bringing them together is unlikely, and weight down by hackneyed dialogue and prose.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By John Clifford on May 18, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book took me back to when I was growing up listening to the Cubbies , the Reds, the Dodgers, and the Red
Sox on both the radio and TV. The players mentioned in the story made Calico Joe even more real to me as I was reading the mystery around what happened to him after the bean ball incident. Bring in a boy wonder of baseball character made the story even more intriguing. This is a great time of year to pick up the book and devour it ... for all baseball lovers and those who don't know anything about the game.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Suzanne G. Beyer on April 27, 2013
Format: Paperback
Loved Calico Joe! It's a simple, easy-to-read story with a moral lesson. Perfect length for an airplane trip! Grisham captures your attention right from the start, then it gets better and better.
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