Thursday, July 18, 2013

Calico Joe - John Grisham

Grisham takes a rare tour outside the legal genre to explore sin and forgiveness, brokenness and redemption within the lens of Major League Baseball.
Calico Joe is a blazing rookie for the Chicago Cubs.  He homers in his first three major league at bats and barely slows down for the next 60 games.
Most of America is ready to admit him to the Hall of Fame before he completes his rookie year.  His hometown, Calico Rock, Arkansas is over the moon in pride and joy for their favorite son.  (By the way, my grandparents lived 20 miles from Calico Rock, so I really enjoyed recognizing the local geography and culture.)
Then, Warren Tracy, a bitter and aging pitcher, mows down Calico Joe with a fastball to the temple.  Joe spends weeks in the hospital and never returns to baseball.
The second third of the book is the somewhat predictable, but no less gratifying story of a wounded sinner trying to make peace with his past.  Spurred on death and his mediating son, Tracy sits down with Joe for a reconciliation.
The plot is not profound.  The characters are not particularly deep.  The story is not suspenseful.   But it is enjoyable and even edifying.  Our actions have consequences.  But even our worst mistakes can experience a measure of healing and redemption.  Forgiveness and reconciliation are worth the effort.

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