Bleachers really caught me
off guard. Mainly because itís a good book that was written by John Grisham. Iím by no
means a Grisham fan. Since the release of Pelican Brief, all of his books seem to
be the same one with the names and places changed to make them seem different. I only
picked it up because I was scheduled for a small outpatient procedure and needed
something simple to read while I was off my feet for a day or so. |
book is completely different. Set almost entirely in the bleachers of a small southern
townís football stadium, it examines the effect of one man on an entire community. The
legendary head coach is on his deathbed and most of his players have made their way back
to be near him. The coach has asked that only family come to the house, so his players
hold a vigil at the field named for him. The All-American quarterback from the townís
last state championship team narrates the story.
The book shows exactly
how wrapped up in a football team a small town can get. Every facet of this town is
connected to the team and the boys who are gods while they are on the team. It captures
the mood of small football towns perfectly. What really makes this 168-page book good is
that it proves that Grisham can still write.
After years of turning out
made-for-screenplay-legal-novels, Bleachers packs the emotional punch of A Time
to Kill. Each of the characters feels like a real person, and the dialog is pitch
perfect. He keeps the narrative to a bare minimum so the readerís attention stays on the
middle-aged men that both love and hate their coach. Grisham makes the coach more than
just a driven taskmaster with a big heart. Instead we get a man who has much more depth
than the stereotype we might expect. That depth is brought out in small glimpses.
This book feels personal and thatís what makes it such a good read. Itís
nice to know that John Grisham still has this kind of story to tell.