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April 9, 2012 / Leslie

Review & Giveaway: Calico Joe by John Grisham

Calico Joe by John GrishamCalico Joe
by John Grisham

Genre: Fiction, Sports
Publisher: Doubleday
Publish Date: April 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover | 208 pages
Rating: 4 of 5

Paul Tracey’s father, a former big-league baseball pitcher for the Mets, has just been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Paul hasn’t seen his father, Warren, in years. Neither has his mother or sister, not that any of them really care, for Warren Tracey was not a good father, not a nice man, and in looking back on his life, not a very good human being.

Flashback to 1973. Joe Castle was an up and coming rookie for the Cubs, a future hall-of-famer. He enthralled fans and shattered batting records hitting home run after home run. It was a magical summer until August, when the Cubs faced the Mets, and Warren Tracey threw a fastball that would change everyone’s lives forever.

The novel alternates between 1973 and thirty years later in 2003. Told from the point of view of Paul, we experience his life as a young little league player who loved baseball, kept scrapbooks and newspaper clippings of his favorite players and teams but never received encouragement or affection from his dad. Thirty years later Paul has abandoned the game he loved. Now that Warren is dying, Paul wants him to face up to what happened that summer, to find closure and perhaps forgiveness.

At only 200 pages, this is a short novel written in an easy to read style that both baseball and non-baseball fans will enjoy. Real life teams and players are mixed in with the fictional characters and it is obvious Grisham is a fan of the game. There is enough baseball detail to keep the fans happy but not so much as to overwhelm his longtime legal thriller fans.

As a long-suffering Cub fan, the descriptions of the baseball games and the players on those 1973 teams brought back many memories for me, both happy and sad, of those long ago days. Non-baseball fans bear with me here. In an Amazon Q&A Grisham admits to being a Cardinal fan. There is a huge rivalry between the Cardinal and the Cubs. So it didn’t surprise me that he made Calico Joe a player for the Cubs. One more heartbreak for the die-hard fans. Even though it was fictional, it brought back all the emotion of the real life disappointments I’ve endured following many Cub teams over the decades.

This is a charming, emotional story with a touching ending. Highly recommended.

Giveaway Information

The publisher has generously offered two copies for giveaway.

  • Contest is open to those with an address in the US only.
  • To enter leave a comment. It is not necessary to be a subscriber or follower to enter but new subscribers are always welcome.
  • The deadline for entry is Sunday, April 22nd. I will draw two random winners. They will be contacted by email and have 48 hours to respond with a mailing address.

Contest Now Closed

Source: Review copy.
© 2012 Under My Apple Tree. All rights reserved.


Leave a Comment
  1. sagustocox / Apr 9 2012 12:00 pm

    This sounds like a great gift for someone I know. I’d love to be entered to get that book to him.


  2. Dianne / Apr 9 2012 12:05 pm

    Always enjoy a good story and Mr. Grisham tells a good stoy


  3. sweetopiagirl / Apr 9 2012 1:07 pm

    Reblogged this on Inspiredweightloss.


  4. yarnaddicted / Apr 9 2012 2:03 pm

    I would love a chance to enter, John Grisham is one of my favorite authors!
    Thank you,
    Kim Reid


  5. BermudaOnion / Apr 9 2012 2:11 pm

    This sounds like a great book to read right now! I’m in a baseball mood! No need to enter me.


  6. cmh512 (@cmh512) / Apr 9 2012 2:41 pm

    My husband and our sons would enjoy this book
    very much! Many thanks, Cindi


  7. Suko / Apr 9 2012 3:17 pm

    I’m a basebell fan, and this sounds like a short book I’d enjoy! I’ll post this giveaway in my blog’s side bar. Terrific review, Leslie!


  8. puttputt1198eve / Apr 9 2012 4:00 pm

    I’ve been a huge John Grisham fan for years (yes, I’m that old). I would love to win a copy of this book. Thanks for offering it!


  9. Judy / Apr 9 2012 4:46 pm

    Always a Grisham fan and would enjoy the opportunity to win. Thanks.


  10. Jennifer Ryder / Apr 9 2012 7:16 pm

    My husband and I would have to fight over who gets to read this book first. We both love baseball.
    Go Yankees!!


  11. Sheila K. / Apr 10 2012 6:45 am

    I would love to read this book—please enter me to win!


  12. Shawn Keegan / Apr 10 2012 8:35 am

    I love John Grisham novels,and with a 14 yr old son playing baseball,I can’t wait to read this book.
    I hope this is the first of many sports related books.


  13. Karen B / Apr 10 2012 9:07 am

    Any book by Grisham is a must read for me! Middle son and grandsons will be standing with their hands out to get Calico Joe after I’ve finished it.


  14. Mary / Apr 10 2012 10:58 am

    I liked it and then my husband read it (liked it) and now my son is going to read it. No need to enter me in the giveaway 🙂 Great review, Leslie.


  15. Carol N Wong (@Carolee888) / Apr 10 2012 11:03 am

    I am a Grisham fan. I would love to read this book and then mail it to a great friend,


  16. Robby Howard / Apr 10 2012 11:59 am

    Mr Grisham has just made the baseball season better…..


  17. Lisa Walker / Apr 10 2012 1:58 pm

    I love John Grisham books!
    Thanks for the chance to win!


  18. Pat Lieberman / Apr 10 2012 9:38 pm

    I love baseball and love reading sports related books.


  19. Michael Wanglie / Apr 10 2012 11:12 pm

    It would be fun to read this book.


  20. Carol / Apr 11 2012 1:22 pm

    Glad you enjoyed it. It’s on my list to read this summer.

    (I’m a Pirates fan. Talk about long-suffering.)

    Don’t enter me. I already have a copy.


    • Leslie / Apr 12 2012 2:03 am

      You’ve had some pretty lean seasons the past few years. Looks like I’m going to be suffering through one this year as we’re not off to a very good start.


  21. Helen L. / Apr 11 2012 3:26 pm

    We come from a baseball loving family, so we would all love to read it.


  22. Georgette / Apr 11 2012 10:18 pm

    I am also a long-suffering Cub fan, so I would love to read this book in solidarity. 🙂 I like John Grisham anyway, but am glad to read a good review of it. 🙂 Thank you for allowing us a chance to get a copy.


    • Leslie / Apr 12 2012 2:04 am

      Oh good, I won’t be suffering alone!


  23. JJT / Apr 12 2012 1:53 pm

    Thank you for the giveaway. I saw John Grisham on the CBS Morning news with Gayle King and Charlie Rose and the book sounds great.


  24. Emma Cormack / Apr 13 2012 3:58 pm

    Thanks for this giveaway!! it’s really great. 🙂


  25. Anita Yancey / Apr 15 2012 5:58 pm

    Sounds like a wonderful story. I have always enjoyed John Grisham’s work. I would love to read this book. Please enter me. Thanks!


  26. AEKZ2 / Apr 15 2012 8:24 pm

    My husband would love this book!


  27. Maureen / Apr 18 2012 5:17 pm

    It looks like a good story.


  28. VanillaOrchids / Apr 18 2012 6:55 pm

    My sister loves baseball, so I think she’d love this book. That’s not to say that I wouldn’t like reading it too. 🙂
    Thank you for the chance to win it.



  29. SusanB / Apr 18 2012 8:12 pm

    This sounds like a great a great book. Thanks for the giveaway.


  30. bn100 / Apr 22 2012 3:21 pm

    The book sounds very interesting. Thanks for the giveaway.


  31. gettinganywhere / Apr 22 2012 9:02 pm

    I tweeted!



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