There are a few guys in baseball fortunate enough to be able to bring it late in their career: Roger Clemens was one, and Nolan Ryan was another one. And I’d like to be that kind of a writer, who’s still able to bring the fastball.
It’s way too easy for Pennywise to steal your game ball.
I think I was in high school the first time I read Stephen King’s The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon (I’ve been reading Stephen King since I was fourteen — don’t judge). So this recent foray through the book was actually a re-read. I am always astonished at the details I had forgotten about whenever I read a book for the second (or third… or fourth…) time. In this case, I was pleased to discover that this book is even better than I remembered it.
The novel tells of the adventures of Trisha McFarland, who gets lost in the New England woods after leaving the path while hiking with her mother and brother. All she really wanted was a bit of respite from her family’s squabbling, but instead finds herself unable to find her way back to the path and travels deeper and deeper into the woods. With her, all she has are a bottle of water, two Twinkies, a hard-boiled egg, a tuna sandwich, a bottle of Surge (can we make Surge mainstream again?), a poncho, a Game Boy, and a Walkman.
Trisha is a huge Boston Red Sox fan, and she is especially a fan of pitcher Tom Gordon, who was the Sox’s closer at the time the novel was written. Each night, as she journeys through the woods, she places the ear buds of her Walkman in her ears and listens to Red Sox games. During the day, she attempts to ration her meager supplies, and once they run out, she survives on berries and creek water.
Eventually, however, the stress of her situation causes Trisha to start hallucinating. Among her hallucinations, she imagines Tom Gordon is traveling with her, and they have conversations along the way about the secrets of closing. Her baseball knowledge is quite impressive for a nine-year-old girl, and the advice that her hallucinatory Gordon gives her helps Trisha to survive her ordeal.
I won’t go into detail on how the book ends, though I will say that this novel serves as another depiction of how much of a baseball fan Stephen King really is. Oh yes, there is also a bear involved, but I won’t give away anything beyond that. You’ll just have to read the book yourself — I promise it’s worth it.
Baseball is a good thing. Always was, always will be.
A couple days ago, I sat down and read Stephen King’s novella, Blockade Billy. As a baseball fan and a Stephen King fan, I don’t know how I managed to not hear about this book for so long, but a few weeks ago, I stumbled upon a review and knew that I had to check it out.
Very briefly, it is a story about a young, rookie catcher, William Blakely, as told by New Jersey Titans third base coach, Granny Grantham. Billy is small in stature and a bit slow in the head, but he’s also a phenomenal ballplayer, whose willingness to stand in the way of any baserunner coming down the third base line earns him the nickname “Blockade Billy.” Keep in mind, however, that the writer of this tale is Stephen King, not W. P. Kinsella. I won’t give away the ending, but I will say that it was precisely the kind of twist that one would expect from the author.
It’s not quite as graphic as some of King’s other writing, but his trademark style and voice definitely shine through. That being said, this obviously isn’t meant to be a bedtime story for the kiddos as they get tucked into bed tonight. It does make for an interesting bedtime story for a grown-up, however, as the story is so short, I’m not sure it even qualifies as a “novella.” Even with large print, the book is only 125 pages long, and I was so caught up in the story, it seemed even shorter than that.
If you’re looking for a short, entertaining-but-blood-chilling read, I’d definitely recommend Blockade Billy.