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The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon: A Pop-up Book Pop-Up – October 12, 2004

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Trisha McFarland is a plucky 9-year-old hiking with her brother and mom, who is grimly determined to give the kids a good time on their weekends together. Trisha's mom is recently divorced, and her brother is feuding with her for moving from Boston to small-town Maine, where classmates razz him. Trisha steps off the trail for a pee and a respite from the bickering. And gets lost.

Trisha's odyssey succeeds on several levels. King renders her consciousness of increasing peril beautifully, from the "first minnowy flutter of disquiet" in her guts to her into-the-wild tumbles to her descent into hallucinations, the nicest being her beloved Red Sox baseball pitcher Tom Gordon, whose exploits she listens to on her Walkman. The nature writing is accurate, tense, and sometimes lyrical, from the maddening whine of the no-see-um mosquito to the profound obbligato of the "Subaudible" (Trisha's dad's term for nature's intimations of God). Our identification with Trisha deepens as we learn about her loved ones: Dad, a dreamboat whose beer habit could sink him; loving but stubborn Mom; Trisha's best pal, Pepsi Robichaud, vividly evoked by her colorful sayings ("Don't go all GIRLY on me, McFarland!"). The personal associations triggered by a full moon, the running monologue with which she stays sane--we who have been lost in woods will recognize these things.

In King's revealing Amazon.com interview, he said the one book he wishes he'd written was Lord of the Flies. When Trisha confronts a vision of buzzing horror in the middle of the woods, King creates his strongest echo yet of the central passage of Golding's novel. --Tim Appelo --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

"The world had teeth and it could bite you with them anytime it wanted." King's new novelAwhich begins with that sentenceAhas teeth, too, and it bites hard. Readers will bite right back. Always one to go for the throat, King crafts a story that concerns not just anyone lost in the Maine-New Hampshire woods, but a plucky nine-year-old girl, and from a broken home, no less. This stacked deck is flush with aces, however. King has always excelled at writing about children, and Trisha McFarland, dressed in jeans and a Red Sox jersey and cap when she wanders off the forest path, away from her mother and brother and toward tremendous danger, is his strongest kid character yet, wholly believable and achingly empathetic in her vulnerability and resourcefulness. Trisha spends nine days (eight nights) in the forest, ravaged by wasps, thirst, hunger, illness, loneliness and terror. Her knapsack with a little food and water helps, but not as much as the Walkman that allows her to listen to Sox games, a crucial link to the outside world. Love of baseball suffuses the novel, from the chapter headings (e.g., "Bottom of the Ninth") to Trisha's reliance, through fevered imagined conversations with him, on (real life) Boston pitcher Tom Gordon and his grace under pressure. King renders the woods as an eerie wonderland, one harboring a something stalking Trisha but also, just perhaps, God: he explicitly explores questions of faith here (as he has before, as in Desperation) but without impeding the rush of the narrative. Despite its brevity, the novel ripples with ideas, striking images, pop culture allusions and recurring themes, plus an unnecessary smattering of scatology. It's classic King, brutal, intensely suspenseful, an exhilarating affirmation of the human spirit. 1,250,000 first printing; major ad/promo; BOMC and QPB featured alternates; simultaneous audiocassette and CD, read by Anne Heche.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 and up
  • Pop-Up: 16 pages
  • Publisher: Little Simon; Pop edition (October 12, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0689862725
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689862724
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 1.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,044 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #118,697 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Stephen King is the author of more than fifty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. His recent work includes Doctor Sleep and Under the Dome, now a major TV miniseries on CBS. His novel 11/22/63 was named a top ten book of 2011 by The New York Times Book Review and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Mystery/Thriller as well as the Best Hardcover Book Award from the International Thriller Writers Association. He is the recipient of the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He lives in Bangor, Maine, with his wife, novelist Tabitha King.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

137 of 149 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Wohler on December 29, 1999
Format: Hardcover
On one of my bookshelves, next to a series of large tomes by Stephen King, there now stands a small, 200-page book that looks out of place. Between Gerald's Game and Insomnia, King's new book is tucked away, seeming as if it doesn't belong there at all. Yet although The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon is a departure from his normal method of storytelling, it is still vintage King.
The title character is Trisha McFarland, a nine year-old girl (but big for her age), daughter of divorced parents, and the glue that has been holding together her feuding mother and older brother. As they set out for a hike through the woods in Maine (where else?), Trisha stops for a moment to go off the trail in an effort to get away from the family bickering. Separated from her mother and brother, Trisha attempts to find her way back to the trail only to discover that she is completely lost.
With a stoic resolve that King manages to make completely believable, Trisha sets off on an adventure, trying to find her way home. Her only link to civilization is her Walkman radio, which she cares for with a reverence. As she listens to the Boston Red Sox game, she begins to fantasize that closing pitcher Tom "Flash" Gordon is talking to her.
As the hours turn to days, Trisha comes to the realization that something else is in the woods with her, too. She doesn't have a name for it, but she begins thinking of it as "the thing" in the woods and later knows it as The God of the Lost. Little by little, Trisha slips between reality and the dark place where King likes to play. She sees things in the night, feels the breath of it on her neck, but the reader is never sure if it's real or merely the imaginings of a young girl whose stress level is beyond the breaking point.
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40 of 44 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 2, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Stephen King, through the mind of a young girl, gives a graphic picture of the terror one might feel alone and lost in the woods. I would think that anyone who enjoyed The Blair Witch Project would find this book appealing, because it fleshes out the feelings and emotions that were only hinted at in that movie. If your idea of a great Stephen King book is The Regulators, then you will probably want to pass on this one, but if you enjoyed his more thoughtful works, such as the recent Bag of Bones, The Stand, etc. then this should be a good read for you. I will admit, I was starting to worry that maybe my favorite author had lost some of his touch, but my faith has been restored. The things that scare us most are the things we create in our own minds, and The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon chillingly exemplifies that.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Denise Bentley on April 1, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Trisha is out for a hike in the vast woods of Maine with her mom and brother when she finds herself lost and alone. What follows is a trek that covers more miles than this nine year old should have to face alone, with only a pittance of food and a walkman on which she is lulled to normality by listening to the exploits of her favorite baseball team and pitcher, Tom Gordon. What starts out as a little girl trying to cope with a difficult situation ends up being a horrifying expedition leading to hallucinations. Along the way she finds the bloody remains of mauled animal carcasses, and there is this ever-present feeling that she is being stalked.
I admit it was a page-turner, I wanted to know what would happen next, but it was mild compared to some of King's books. I enjoyed how the author developed the main character's change in mentation; we slowly watch her get weaker. The more time that passed the more Trisha's thought process and fears became warped and out of proportion. This book is a short quick read you can probably finish in a day. ....
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 19, 2000
Format: Hardcover
While Stephen King continually gains respect from literary critics, his work remains controversial to many. People often dismiss him out of hand as a crass horror author. Rather than being so narrow minded, I would suggest reading this book. I will freely admit to being a fan of his work since I was in junior high, and as a fan, I felt that this novel took me places that even King's work sometimes misses. I was IN those woods, feeling every bug bite and painful bodily function that Trisha went through. I held my breath and read non-stop to see if she would make it out. And most importantly, I totally bought into her faith in Tom Gordon--if she could just believe enough, he would be her savior. Yet, he was also a part of her own mind, so in essence, she was her own savior. This work displays King's ability to leap outside of the horror pigeon-hole in which so many place him. His writing ascends to the lyric, while retaining its everyman feel. I think that this book could convert even King-haters into his camp. I've recommended it to a few that I know and the results have been completely positive. Even if you do not usually read Stephen King's work, try this--I think that you'll find it hard to put down.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 21, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I am no fan of baseball, and I don't even know what a"closer" is. But I do know little girls (having been oneeons ago) and Tricia was the most real little girl I've read about in a very long time. This is King's genius -- getting into the minds of kids and knowing all the funny little alleys down which their thoughts travel. How on earth does he do this SO WELL? For those who complain this book isn't scary, I agree. It's simply not a horror novel. It's a story of faith and optimism and the incredible strength of the human spirit. I still don't much care for baseball. But he's made me a believer in the sub-audible.
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