John Grisham: Calico Joe and Playing for Pizza

Doubleday; Hardcover-198 pages

Grisham should stick to what he does best: the legal thriller.  Though I didn’t hate either of these books, neither of these books  are what I have come to expect from Grisham.

I waited all summer for my electronic  library copy of Calico Joe.  I was excited when I finally loaded it on my NOOK ,and pretty much immediately, I was disappointed.  Calico Joe is  a rookie phenom whose career and life are shattered by an intentional bean ball thrown by the narrator’s mean and self-centered father who is now dying of cancer.   The book seems about redemption, but there is no true atonement.  The writing was stiff and boring.  Did I feel pity for Calico Joe?  I might have if Grisham had let me.   I looked forward to Grisham’s references to White Plains, NY, my hometown, but not to much else.

Playing for Pizza, first published in 2007, was the better read. Rick Dockery, a less-than-average NFL quarterback blows a big game in Cleveland and ends up playing in Parma for the Panthers.  You know the rest: he doesn’t speak the language, his team mates are passionate but hapless, he meets a girl.  That it takes place in Italy and that the protagonist spends a fair amount of time sampling local culture–cuisine and vino– bolsters the formulaic plot.

I am back on the library waiting list, this time for the latest Grisham: The

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