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Calico Joe
Cover of Calico Joe
Calico Joe
A Novel
Borrow Borrow
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A surprising and moving novel of fathers and sons, forgiveness and redemption, set in the world of Major League Baseball…
“Grisham knocks it out of the park.”—The Washington Post


It’s the summer of 1973, and Joe Castle is the boy wonder of baseball, the greatest rookie anyone has ever seen. The kid from Calico Rock, Arkansas, dazzles Chicago Cubs fans as he hits home run after home run, politely tipping his hat to the crowd as he shatters all rookie records. Calico Joe quickly becomes the idol of every baseball fan in America, including Paul Tracey, the young son of a hard-partying and hard-throwing New York Mets pitcher. On the day that Warren Tracey finally faces Calico Joe, Paul is in the stands, rooting for his idol but also for his dad. Then Warren throws a fastball that will change their lives forever.
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A surprising and moving novel of fathers and sons, forgiveness and redemption, set in the world of Major League Baseball…
“Grisham knocks it out of the park.”—The Washington Post


It’s the summer of 1973, and Joe Castle is the boy wonder of baseball, the greatest rookie anyone has ever seen. The kid from Calico Rock, Arkansas, dazzles Chicago Cubs fans as he hits home run after home run, politely tipping his hat to the crowd as he shatters all rookie records. Calico Joe quickly becomes the idol of every baseball fan in America, including Paul Tracey, the young son of a hard-partying and hard-throwing New York Mets pitcher. On the day that Warren Tracey finally faces Calico Joe, Paul is in the stands, rooting for his idol but also for his dad. Then Warren throws a fastball that will change their lives forever.
Available formats-
  • OverDrive Read
  • EPUB eBook
Subjects-
Languages:-
Copies-
  • Available:
    1
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
    5.9
  • Lexile:
    900
  • Interest Level:
    UG
  • Text Difficulty:
    4 - 5

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Excerpts-
  • From the book 1

    The tumor in my father's pancreas was removed last week in an operation that lasted five hours and was more difficult than his surgeons had expected. Afterward, they delivered the grim news that most people in his condition could not expect to live for more than ninety days. Since I knew nothing of the surgery, or the tumor, I was not there when he was given his death sentence. Communication is not a priority with my father. Ten years ago he divorced one wife and had found another before word filtered down to me.

    His current wife—she's either number five or number six—eventually called and, after reintroducing herself, passed along the barest of details about the tumor and its related issues. Agnes explained that my father was not feeling well and didn't want to talk. I replied that he had never wanted to talk, regardless of how he felt. She asked me to spread the news to the rest of the family. I almost asked "Why?" but didn't want to bicker with this poor woman.

    The rest of the family consists of my younger sister, Jill, and my mother. Jill lives in Seattle and, as far as I know, has not spoken to our father in at least ten years. She has two small children who have never met him, and never will. My mother, after surviving twelve years of marriage, got lucky and got out, taking Jill and me with her, and I have a hunch that the news of his impending death will have zero impact on her.

    Needless to say, we do not get together at Christmas and exchange gifts by the fire.

    After the phone call from Agnes, I sit at my desk and ponder life without Warren, my father. I started calling him Warren when I was in college because he was more of a person, a stranger, than a father. He did not object. He has never cared what I call him, and I have always assumed he prefers that I don't call him at all. At least I make the occasional effort; he never has.

    After a few minutes, I admit the truth—life without Warren will be the same as life with him.

    I call Jill and break the news. Her first question is whether I plan to attend the funeral, which is somewhat premature. She wants to know if she should try to visit him, to say hello and good-bye and go through the phony motions of acting as though she cares, when in fact she does not. Nor do I, and we both admit this. We have no love for Warren because he never cared for us. He abandoned the family when we were kids and has spent the past thirty years acting as though we do not exist. Jill and I are both parents now, and we find it inconceivable that a father can have no use for his own children.

    "I'm not going," she finally declares. "Now, or later. How about you?"

    "I don't know," I reply. "I'll have to think about it."

    The truth is that I know I will go see him. He has burned most of the bridges in his life, but there is one rather substantial piece of unfinished business that he has to deal with before he dies.

    My mother lives in Tulsa with her second husband. In high school, Warren was the superjock, and she was the homecoming queen, the most popular girl. Their wedding thrilled their small town, but after a couple of years with Warren all thrills were gone. I know they have not spoken to each other in decades, and why should they?

    "Mom, I have some bad news," I say into the phone, trying to seem sufficiently somber.

    "What is it?" she asks quickly, probably afraid it is one of her grandchildren.

    "Warren's sick. Pancreatic cancer, he has less than three months to live."

    A pause, relief, then, "I was assuming he was already dead."

    And there you have it. His memorial service will not be packed with grieving family...
About the Author-
  • John Grisham is the author of forty-seven consecutive #1 bestsellers, which have been translated into nearly fifty languages. His recent books include The Judge's List, Sooley, and his third Jake Brigance novel, A Time for Mercy, which is being developed by HBO as a limited series.
     
    Grisham is a two-time winner of the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction and was honored with the Library of Congress Creative Achievement Award for Fiction.
     
    When he's not writing, Grisham serves on the board of directors of the Innocence Project and of Centurion Ministries, two national organizations dedicated to exonerating those who have been wrongfully convicted. Much of his fiction explores deep-seated problems in our criminal justice system.
     
    John lives on a farm in central Virginia.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    June 25, 2012
    In his latest, Grisham takes another break from blockbuster legal suspense to explore the world of athletics. Decades after the fact, Paul Tracey looks back on the fateful events of the summer of 1973 involving his drunken and abusive father, Warren—a pitcher for the New York Mets—and a red-hot Chicago Cubs rookie nicknamed Calico Joe. Narrator Eric Singer portrays both Joe and Warren—the former innocent and earnest, the latter a bully—with energy and passion. The narrator lends Arkansan Joe an accent and cadence that are equal parts aw-sucks nonchalance and deer-in-the headlights wonder. In his portrayal of Warren, Singer effectively channels the character’s vitriol both on and off the field; the scenes involving Warren’s abusive coaching sessions with young Paul pack a particularly powerful emotional punch. Singer’s rendering of the labored speech of an aging Joe in the later portion of the book may seem heavy-handed in some respects, but remains compelling nonetheless. A Doubleday hardcover.

  • The Washington Post Praise for Calico Joe

    "Grisham knocks it out of the park."
  • USA Today "An enjoyable, heartwarming read that's not just for baseball fans."
Title Information+
  • Publisher
    Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
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  • Copyright Protection (DRM) required by the Publisher may be applied to this title to limit or prohibit printing or copying. File sharing or redistribution is prohibited. Your rights to access this material expire at the end of the lending period. Please see Important Notice about Copyrighted Materials for terms applicable to this content.

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Calico Joe
Calico Joe
A Novel
John Grisham
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