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Bleachers [Hardcover]

John Grisham
2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)

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Book Description

10 Sep 2003
Neely was once star quarterback for Messina High School's football team, but his playing days ended with an injury. For 15 years he's been trying to forget his past as sporting hero but has been unable to move on. That is until the man who moulded him, Coach Eddie Rake, reveals he's dying.


Product details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Century; First Printing Large Print Edition edition (10 Sep 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844134571
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844134571
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 14.4 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 888,725 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Long before his name became synonymous with the modern legal thriller, he was working 60-70 hours a week at a small Southaven, Mississippi, law practice, squeezing in time before going to the office and during courtroom recesses to work on his hobby--writing his first novel.

Born on February 8, 1955 in Jonesboro, Arkansas, to a construction worker and a homemaker, John Grisham as a child dreamed of being a professional baseball player. Realizing he didn't have the right stuff for a pro career, he shifted gears and majored in accounting at Mississippi State University. After graduating from law school at Ole Miss in 1981, he went on to practice law for nearly a decade in Southaven, specializing in criminal defense and personal injury litigation. In 1983, he was elected to the state House of Representatives and served until 1990.

One day at the DeSoto County courthouse, Grisham overheard the harrowing testimony of a twelve-year-old rape victim and was inspired to start a novel exploring what would have happened if the girl's father had murdered her assailants. Getting up at 5 a.m. every day to get in several hours of writing time before heading off to work, Grisham spent three years on A Time to Kill and finished it in 1987. Initially rejected by many publishers, it was eventually bought by Wynwood Press, who gave it a modest 5,000 copy printing and published it in June 1988.

That might have put an end to Grisham's hobby. However, he had already begun his next book, and it would quickly turn that hobby into a new full-time career--and spark one of publishing's greatest success stories. The day after Grisham completed A Time to Kill, he began work on another novel, the story of a hotshot young attorney lured to an apparently perfect law firm that was not what it appeared. When he sold the film rights to The Firm to Paramount Pictures for $600,000, Grisham suddenly became a hot property among publishers, and book rights were bought by Doubleday. Spending 47 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list, The Firm became the bestselling novel of 1991.

The successes of The Pelican Brief, which hit number one on the New York Times bestseller list, and The Client, which debuted at number one, confirmed Grisham's reputation as the master of the legal thriller. Grisham's success even renewed interest in A Time to Kill, which was republished in hardcover by Doubleday and then in paperback by Dell. This time around, it was a bestseller.

Since first publishing A Time to Kill in 1988, Grisham has written one novel a year (his other books are The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, The Chamber, The Rainmaker, The Runaway Jury, The Partner, The Street Lawyer, The Testament, The Brethren, A Painted House, Skipping Christmas, The Summons, The King of Torts, Bleachers, The Last Juror, The Broker, Playing for Pizza, The Appeal, and The Associate) and all of them have become international bestsellers. There are currently over 250 million John Grisham books in print worldwide, which have been translated into 29 languages. Nine of his novels have been turned into films (The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, A Time to Kill, The Rainmaker, The Chamber, A Painted House, The Runaway Jury, and Skipping Christmas), as was an original screenplay, The Gingerbread Man. The Innocent Man (October 2006) marked his first foray into non-fiction, and Ford County (November 2009) was his first short story collection.

Grisham lives with his wife Renee and their two children Ty and Shea. The family splits their time between their Victorian home on a farm in Mississippi and a plantation near Charlottesville, VA.

Grisham took time off from writing for several months in 1996 to return, after a five-year hiatus, to the courtroom. He was honoring a commitment made before he had retired from the law to become a full-time writer: representing the family of a railroad brakeman killed when he was pinned between two cars. Preparing his case with the same passion and dedication as his books' protagonists, Grisham successfully argued his clients' case, earning them a jury award of $683,500--the biggest verdict of his career.

When he's not writing, Grisham devotes time to charitable causes, including most recently his Rebuild The Coast Fund, which raised 8.8 million dollars for Gulf Coast relief in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. He also keeps up with his greatest passion: baseball. The man who dreamed of being a professional baseball player now serves as the local Little League commissioner. The six ballfields he built on his property have played host to over 350 kids on 26 Little League teams.

Product Description

Review

'...an intelligent book. Cleverly written and easy to read...' -- Independant 4th October 2003

'..an easy-going but not over-sentimental read...' -- Evening Standard 8th September 2003

'I defy even the hardest jock not to shed a tear.' -- Daily Mirror 12th September 2003

Book Description

John Grisham's sixteenth novel is a tale of fleeting youth, sporting legends and heroes, and the many ways boys become men. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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First Sentence
The road to Rake Field ran beside the school, past the old band hall and the tennis courts, through a tunnel of two perfect rows of red and yellow maples planted and paid for by the boosters, then over a small hill to a lower area covered with enough asphalt for a thousand cars. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Another Legal Thriller 17 Sep 2003
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
After a somewhat return to form with his last book (King of Torts).John Grisham returns with another book less than a year unfortunatly this is no legal page-turner but a story of a returning high school football hero attending his old coach's funeral.
Neely Crenshaw is the former all star quarter-back who has issues about returning ti his old high school,but once he meets up with his old buddies they start to re-live their former glories.This is were we start to find out about coach Eddie Rake's methods of training the football team, and also about the legacy he has left not just on the field but also in the town of Messina.
Bleachers is only a short story and won't take very long to read(a couple of hours) but it does have some good emotional moments which will have you reaching for your handkerchiefs.
A good stop gap till Mr Grisham gives us his next legal caper.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars John Grisham branches out but fails to engage 17 Jan 2005
Format:Paperback
Sometime last year, I read The Runaway Jury. I was hooked almost immediately and ended up buying all his books (except this, Skipping Christmas and A Painted House) on-line. I read every single one, enjoying some (The Firm, The Runaway Jury) more than others (The Partner, The Pelican Brief).
A few months ago, after forgetting about John Grisham for a while, I bought The Last Juror which reawakened my love of his books. Inevitably, I bought Bleachers, thinking that I would enjoy it despite the bad reviews from the non-Americans. They can't be die hard Grisham fans like myself, I thought.
I have to apologise to those who warned me - this book is just as pointless and impenetrable as I heard. The main character returns to his home town, after a fifteen year absence, to wait for his old high school football coach to die. The coach, it seems, has touched the lives of many men, a large proportion of whom meet up at the football field and sit in the bleachers, waiting for the inevitable.
What John Grisham is trying to do is well beyond that which can be achieved in such a short story. Neely, the main character, has very little to recommend him. He's just not been developed enough - we get little snatches of his life, his friends, his past loves but there's very little emotion evoked. I know that in a book about American football I shouldn't expect the characters to share their feelings at the drop of a hat but I did expect a wider range of emotions on Neely's part.
What we see is a town in mourning. The men that Neely commanded on the field seem shell shocked to a degree that doesn't fit in with the story.
Also, the plot is very weak. Nothing happens in this book to keep you turning the pages.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
I am a huge fan of John Grisham's early works, so when I heard that Bleachers was being published, I was really excited and pre-ordered the book straight away.
Bleachers is a short tale about the lives of american football players who have been touched by their coach, even after his pupils stop playing the game. Most of the plot is centred around Neely, the infamous All-American player who left his home town after a sporting injury, and only returning 15 years later to pay homage to his coach, who lays on his deathbed. Neely relives the character of the coach through meeting with former players and team mates on the bleachers of the playing fields, and we discover just how much the coach is admired - and hated - through his passion and dedication to the sport.
Half way through the novel, the old team of '87 meet and relive an historical game, that turns out to be the focal point of Neely's & the coach's careers. These 30 pages are a bizarre distraction to the natural discourse of the book, set out like a play with a commentary of the match intertwined. A clever piece of writing, but it made the book seem very disjointed.
The meagre 160+ pages only took me an evening to read. Even only a short way into the book, I did not believe that Bleachers was written by the same man who wrote the hits such as A Time To Kill, and The Firm. Bleachers is a 'nice' enough tale, but I feel it lacks any substance and the desire to turn the next page. I would not recommend Bleachers to someone who is expecting the next great legal crime novel - certainly not one that will be made into a film. If you are passionate about american football, then maybe this is the book for you. For me, I am happy for Bleachers to remain on my bookshelf gathering dust, and not get so excited about his newest novel next time...
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surviving the Sword of Damocles- again. 18 Dec 2004
Format:Paperback
The title speaks of the fact that when 'A Painted House' came out, people were quick to bring the sword down just because it was a departure from his usual subjects. But thankfully people bought the book. When Grisham leaves his home territory of the legal thriller people think he is out of his depth. I am delighted to say that as with his first attempt, 'Bleachers' emphasizes that he has a wider palate than the legal thriller.
It will probably be of more interest to a sports fan (5 stars if an American football fan) but it is the spirit of the book that captures the reader. The effect one man has on many people, with the eulogies at the funeral being the pinnacle of emotion. The stories, dialogue, actions and reactions wash the reader into the story at a pace that doesn't rush anyone.
The only minor issue is the presence of Tim Nunley from'A Time to Kill'- wasn't he killed by the Klan? This is minor and only for people like me who remember pointless details.
An excellent read, a rarity with much emotion driven by a relatively short number of pages.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars BORING BLEACHERS
Boring,only of interest to fanatics of baseball. A boring book for non interested readers. I would not recommend this book
Published 1 month ago by Allan H
3.0 out of 5 stars Bleachers
was based on a sport i know nothing about ,so could not give an honest opinion.Certainly nothing like the Grisham books i am used to reading.
Published 5 months ago by Mr. R. Fleming
1.0 out of 5 stars Rubish
This was not up to his usual standard. I can add nothing more other than to say I will think twice before buying anymore of his books.
Published 5 months ago by Malcolm G Taplin
5.0 out of 5 stars BOOK
BOUGHT FOR A PRESENT AND VERY SUITABLE AS IT WAS FOR AN AVID READER AND I HAVE BOUGHT MORE FOR HIM
Published 7 months ago by Mrs. M. L. Dorsett
1.0 out of 5 stars The most boring book i have ever bought
I have over the years read all of the Grisham books including the Painted House and have enjoyed reading them all until I came across this book. Read more
Published 7 months ago by eleganttips
5.0 out of 5 stars 5
I love this book have read almost all his books. This one was one of the best he has written. Excellent and well presented.
Published 8 months ago by mercia i williams
4.0 out of 5 stars Not a typical Grisham
I only picked up this book because of its title, I didn't know what a bleachers was / were. I have been a little bored with the lawyer theme normally associated with this author... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Simon Nixon
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice book to read
A nice book to read.
I would suggest it definitely to someone for a pleasant time.
A very good choice
Published 8 months ago by evangelos
4.0 out of 5 stars not what you would expect from John Grisham
a pleasant, soft and deep story well written and deeply satisfying. As always character betrayal is excellent and the local atmosphere captured by this artful craftsman. Read more
Published 9 months ago by david27
5.0 out of 5 stars I have now read and own his entire collection
John Grisham, is a very good writer and I have enjoyed reading every one of them, so those who are sceptic, take the plunge and enjoy the reading
Published 13 months ago by Gordon Fodder
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