Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Calico Joe, John Grisham, Fiction.  Too bad I am a few weeks late - THIS is the perfect baseball book to give your Dad for Father's Day.  Grisham crafts a compelling, lively and quick read about a young boy whose father, a pitcher for the Mets, throws a pitch and goes down in history as one of the most hated men in baseball.  Grisham weaves together the past, when the nation is taken by storm with the young Joe from Calico Rock, AK, who breaks baseball records left and right, AND loves his mom, with the present day and his father Warren dying of cancer.  Paul always wanted his father to be better - a better husband, a better father, a better pitcher.  When he sees the chance for his father to be a better man, he wants Warren to jump at the chance.  But will he?  Can a man, after a lifetime of arrogant denials and running away from problems redeem himself at the last minute?  I like this book better and better as I write this review, because Grisham gives us a sweet story about remembering childhood and the way it feels to live through crushing disappointment as a young man. Paul is lucky - he has the ability to see what was wrong in his father and not only change the behavior in himself, but specifically tell his father he was wrong, and as his son he needs to see him apologize for one of his worst mistakes.    Heartwarming?  Sure.  Good ending?  You bet.  Great baseball scenes?  Yup.  Your dad, and maybe you, will love it.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Deadlocked, Charlaine Harris, Fiction, Fantasy.  Sookie Stackhouse is at it again, dodging vampires, werewolves, fairies, elves and other assorted supernatural beings in Harris's 12th book in the series.  Sookie is at the beck and call of the vampire community, without having any fun. While trying to balance her sense of duty to her vampire "husband" Eric with her longing for a normal life, Sookie is on autopilot throughout this book.  There is a lot of information about other periphery characters in this edition of the doings of Bon Temps, and frankly, it isn't very interesting.  This is the first time I felt that Sookie may have started to regret her involvement with the supernaturals and wish for something quieter.  What DOES she want, Ms. Harris?  This book feels like it was written out of obligation, not to show us what Sookie can do when confronted with a corpse or someone valiantly trying to pull her out of her car to behead her.  Where is the sense of adventure, the thrill? When a person starts looking for something extraordinary in a story about vampires fighting over you, that is a bad sign.  Read the book to keep up with Sookie, but not to be impressed with her latest adventure.

Friday, June 8, 2012

The Good Father, Noah Hawley, Fiction.  In The Good Father, Noah Hawley tells the story of a young assassin through the eyes of his father.  Disbelief, shock, disappointment, and guilt are all emotions that Hawley delicately and thoroughly explores as he treads through the months leading up to the shooting of a US Senator and Presidential hopeful.  The story is told mainly from Paul, the father's, point of view, and is filled with questions - was I not a good enough father?  Does my relationship with David's mother have something to do with this?  Was I not there when he needed me?  As a mother, I think that these questions can be asked about any child, but it is the answers that we get from David's journals that make him different, and make him able to pull the trigger.  And to answer Paul's questions, everything had to do with David's decision.  I enjoyed Hawley's ability to write from both the perspective of the son and the father. During Paul's search for answers Hawley introduces us to other infamous shooters of the past, and their backgrounds.  Paul desperately tries to reason that his son is nothing like these other people who have so publicly tried to take the life of an influential American.  Scenes from this book have stayed with me - the exact moment that decides the Senator's fate in David's eyes, a moment from David's childhood that could have happened (and did) happen to anyone that he pivots his childhood upon, and a weather disaster that almost takes David's life.  It is the lasting impression of Hawley's writing that makes me want to tell you to read this book - but carefully.  It will make you cry.