Calico Joe by John Grisham

65%

42 Critic Reviews

...while the narrative and settings are solid, the story drifts toward a somewhat unsatisfying, perhaps too easy, conclusion.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

“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
 
“An enjoyable, heartwarming read that’s not just for baseball fans.”—USA Today
 
“Grisham has hit a home run. . . . Calico Joe is a great read, a lyrical ode to baseball, small-town America, youthful innocence and a young boy’s search for heroes.”—The Buffalo News
 
“[A] pleasure . . . Suffice to say [Grisham] knows his way around the ballpark as well as he does a courtroom.”—The Washington Times

Includes an excerpt of John Grisham’s The Racketeer
 

About John Grisham

See more books from this Author
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, and The Broker) and all of them have become international bestsellers. The Innocent Man (October 2006) marks his first foray into non-fiction. Grisham lives with his wife Renee and their two children Ty and Shea. The family splits their time between their Victorian home on a farm in Mississippi and a plantation near Charlottesville, VA.
 
Published April 10, 2012 by Dell. 225 pages
Genres: Sports & Outdoors, Other, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Apr 29 2012
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Weeks as Bestseller
Bookmark Counts:
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Critic reviews for Calico Joe
All: 42 | Positive: 28 | Negative: 14

Kirkus

Below average
Apr 01 2012

...while the narrative and settings are solid, the story drifts toward a somewhat unsatisfying, perhaps too easy, conclusion.

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Book Reporter

Excellent
Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman on Apr 13 2012

It may lack the suspense and fast-paced tumult of his legal thrillers, but its more taciturn style is appropriate for a baseball book because, as he observes early on, baseball is a game “played without a clock.”

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Washington Times

Excellent
Reviewed by Joseph Goulden on May 04 2012

We know Mr. Grisham as the master of the legal thriller. Suffice to say he knows his way around the ballpark as well as he does a courtroom, lingo and all.

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LA Times

Below average
Reviewed by Chris Erskine on May 19 2012

Can a baseball book not leave you with the smell of mustard in your noggin' and brick dust under your nails? This one does. Grisham would've done well to study a little Red Smith or Roger Kahn as a pre-writing warmup drill.

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The Washington Post

Excellent
Reviewed by Steven Roberts on Apr 06 2012

It’s a sweet, simple story, a fable really. And like all fables, it has a moral: Good can come out of evil; it’s never too late to confess your sins and seek forgiveness.

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USA Today

Excellent
Reviewed by Bob Minzesheimer on Apr 09 2012

...Calico Joe is no World Series thriller decided in the last at-bat. It’s more like a pleasant, mid-season afternoon at the ballpark, when the home team slowly rallies and wins.

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Oregon Live

Below average
Reviewed by Glenn Altschuler on Apr 21 2012

Grisham swings, misses with a baseball tale of redemption...not a great baseball novel..."Calico Joe" is a melodrama.

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Express

Excellent
Reviewed by Jeffery Taylor on Apr 15 2012

...a superbly written book which, though fewer than 200 pages long, deserves a place on any family bookshelf.

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Deseret News

Excellent
Reviewed by Trent Toone on Apr 28 2012

"Calico Joe" isn't the greatest baseball story ever told, but the elements of forgiveness and redemption are moving and drive the reader to keep turning pages.

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Deseret News

Below average
Reviewed by Trent Toone on Apr 28 2012

To put it in baseball terms, "Calico Joe" is not a bottom-of-the-ninth, two outs, game-winning hit in the postseason, it's more like the home team coming back to win after trailing by several runs in the fifth inning on a warm summer evening.

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Look At OKC

Good
Reviewed by Phyllis Bennett on Apr 29 2012

...isn't as much about the amazing career of Joe “Calico Joe” Castle, rookie for the 1973 Cubs, as it is about one of his biggest fans, 10-year-old Paul Tracey, and his relationship with his father...Grisham hits a home run with this touching novel.

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Boston.com

Below average
Reviewed by Bill Littlefield on Apr 10 2012

Baseball serves as background to the preposterously unlikely achievements of one character so heroic that his doom is certain...melodramatic...improbable.

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Lincoln Journal Star

Excellent
Reviewed by Ken Hambleton on May 14 2012

Grisham has found the perfect combination of the hopes of the Chicago Cubs, the joy of baseball, the love-hate of father-son, the "Code" of baseball, jealousy, crime, redemption and death.

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Chicago Sun Times

Below average
Reviewed by Bob Minzesheimer on Apr 13 2012

In baseball terms, Calico Joe is no World Series thriller decided in the last at-bat. It’s more like a pleasant, mid-season afternoon at the ballpark, when the home team slowly rallies and wins.

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DNA

Below average
Reviewed by Joanna Lobo on May 13 2012

...it is no World Series thriller...Maybe I was expecting more than just a story on relationships or a family drama.

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Chicago Tribune

Below average
Reviewed by Chris Erskine on May 19 2012

I wanted more brick dust. I wanted more about what the tragedy did to Joe Castle's family.

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Good E-Reader

Excellent
Reviewed by Mercy Pilkington on Apr 30 2012

Grisham makes all of us become baseball fans, at least for the duration of his book.

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Esquire

Excellent
Reviewed by Benjamin Percy on Mar 25 2012

...baseball is a sentimental sport, and with spring training under way, this was exactly the reading experience I wanted.

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Kansas City Star

Below average
Reviewed by Chris Erskine on May 23 2012

Call this one a bloop single for Grisham, a slugger capable of much more. And further evidence that, as a writer, he's probably more Minnie Minoso than Babe Ruth.

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Only A Game

Below average
Reviewed by Only a Game on Apr 14 2012

Still, some of the baseball elements of Calico Joe struck me as carelessly executed, or perhaps insufficiently edited.

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Seamheads.com

Excellent
Reviewed by Eddie Gilley on Apr 12 2012

... the book is a good reminder of the fragility of our innocence and the fallen nature of all of us, even our greatest heroes...for those who are baseball fans, it is a must read!

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Cornell

Below average
Reviewed by Special to the Oregonian on Apr 21 2012

Grisham swings, misses with a baseball tale of redemption.

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Yahoo! Voices

Below average
Reviewed by Anthony Kendrick on Apr 17 2012

It might not be the timeless classic that baseball fans always hope for, but like a utility infielder it was strong up the middle with a serviceable bat.

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Luxury Reading

Good
Reviewed by Vera on May 11 2012

... Grisham layered the details of Joe’s first few games, and baseball geeks will love it, but Calico Joe is really a book about people, forgiveness and relationships.

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Bookfan

Good
Reviewed by Mary on Apr 10 2012

Grisham’s story is heartfelt... it will resonate with other baseball fans as well.

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BookPage

Good
Reviewed by Martin Brady on Apr 01 2012

As with all Grisham novels, it is a smart, smooth read--and it's guaranteed to entice thoughtful fans of the summer game.

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Under My Apple Tree

Good
Reviewed by Leslie on Apr 09 2012

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

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Onyx Reviews

Below average
Reviewed by Bev Vincent

It's a story governed more by emotion than suspense. Grisham pulls out all the stops to manipulate his readers.

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Knitting and Sundries

Good
Reviewed by Julie on Apr 17 2012

I don't know what RBIs mean-I don't know what the numbers for batting averages mean, but I know an engrossing, page-turning book when I read one. After a few pages, you will not want to put it down.

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Live Your Dream

Good
Reviewed by Sayed Khadri on Jun 14 2012

...this book is a must read for all! This is a story of family, passion for sport(baseball in this case), disappointments,forgiveness and resilience.

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Just Another New Blog

Good
Reviewed by Dina on Apr 22 2012

A surprising and moving novel of fathers and sons, forgiveness and redemption, set in the world of Major League Baseball.

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Compass Book Ratings

Good
Reviewed by Matthew on May 21 2012

The story may be fiction, but the way in which the characters come to terms with their issues and demons gives hope to those who may have some of the same issues.

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Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer

Good
Reviewed by Billy Burgess on May 14 2012

The story is heartbreaking and realistically written, mixing in real people, events, and places with fiction.

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The Mystery Lady

Good
Reviewed by Marcia Applegate on May 08 2012

If you’re a baseball fan, you will most likely enjoy Calico Joe. If you’re not a baseball fan, you will most likely enjoy Calico Joe.

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Wrighty's Reads

Good
Reviewed by Debbie on Apr 18 2012

Grisham weaves an interesting tale filled with drama and heart...The ending is very satisfying and brings a form of closure to a broken little boy as well as the reader.

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C Mash Reads

Good
Reviewed by C. Mash on Mar 21 2012

It was much more than a “sports related” book, it was about making amends, truth and coming to terms with a relationship between father and son.

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nccoast.com

Good
Reviewed by Curt Finch on Jun 25 2012

...your heart may experience a little tug and even a smile or two may automatically appear on your face as you get close to the end. This kind of progression in the drama is the stuff of great writing.

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Ethan Casey

Good
Reviewed by Ethan Casey on Jun 24 2012

Calico Joe is wonderful...it’s good enough that the passage of time might well validate the immodest claim of the dust jacket blurb that it’s a classic.

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Mississippi Press

Good
Reviewed by Sid Salter on May 21 2012

"Calico Joe" is a wonderful book that begs to be made into an iconic movie.

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Two Weeks Notice

Below average
Reviewed by Greg Weeks on May 16 2012

Corny? Well, yes. If you don't like baseball, you might gag.

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Chronicles of Natalie

Good
Reviewed by Natalie on Apr 09 2012

As anyone who loves baseball or has a family member who loves baseball knows, those stats come as easily as breathing, and John Grisham moves easily between the world of baseball to the private stories of the men and boy in this story.

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Sippy Cup Mom

Good
Reviewed by Sippy Cup Mom on Mar 27 2012

Calico Joe is perfect for celebrating the upcoming MLB Opening Day and also Father’s Day.

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Reader Rating for Calico Joe
75%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 3383 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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Jon Gausewitz 13 Jun 2013

Rated the book as 3.5 out of 5

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