Stories about baseball always seem to involve fathers and sons and reconciliations with a few play by play narratives thrown in. Some are better than others. John Grisham’s short novel, Calico Joe, includes all of these, although the reconciliation part is questionable, in fact for me, it was a big question.
Paul Tracey is twelve years old in 1973. His father, Warren Tracey, is a mediocre some-times pitcher for the Mets whom Paul hates – and for good reason. Joe Castle of Calico Rock, Arkansas is the rookie Cubs phenom whom Paul idolizes. A fateful encounter between the two players brings both of their careers to an abrupt end.
Thirty years later, Paul wants to get his dying father and Joe together for a reconciliation of sorts. This is the part that I found questionable. Nothing about the relationship between Paul and his father makes me convinced that this meeting between Warren and Joe would ever happen; however, it does and it seems to do something for Paul, although I’m not sure exactly what. He states that he doesn’t want to hear a “few eleventh hour apologies” from his dad but it seems like that’s what the novel wants.
It has a sentimental ending that I didn’t find horrible and it was about baseball so it can’t be all bad.
Did I mention that the book is short?