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Customer Review

on 12 April 2012
First you need to know that I have read every book that John Grisham has written. Despite the fact that a few years ago he seemed to lose the plot and several of his books were not up to his usual standard, I can't help but buy the next John Grisham because I hope that it will be as brilliant as most of his novels. This book was described as a book about relationship and family breakdown, so I hoped it was a new branch of his writing that he'd nail. Sadly it isn't, and this is Grisham's worst book ever. I only kept reading because of my insane loyalty to him. If it had been any other author I doubt I would have read more than two chapters. This is definitely sport fiction, with a tiny bit of badly written 'family breakdown' added for padding. Imagine you are listening to a radio broadcast of a sport that you are really not at all interested in, and you have to listen to match after match after match. Bored yet? Now listen to fans talking about the matches. Transfer that to the page and that's what you're reading. The saving grace is that the book is so short! Sadly, I could not empathise with the main storyteller, the son who is travelling to meet with his dying father, because there is so little character portrayal. His story is sad, but the narrative is emotionless. Even the hero of the book, who I could have a little sympathy for, I couldn't empathise with because I had no grasp of him as a human being. Grisham describes baseball in a forward because his London publishers told him we wouldn't understand the book otherwise, but we didn't need 14 pages of description! Had the narrative been good, the rules would have been almost unnecessary. I was reminded of how J K Rowling described an exciting match, with such precision and tension that the reader couldn't help but be enthralled and on the edge of the seat, even though the sport was fictional! That is the quality of writing I expect from John Grisham, because he is capable of great writing, but this is poor. Maybe this book will be a success with baseball fans in America. And I suppose a good number of the books will be sold in the UK to Grisham fans like myself, but I suspect most of those books will remain unread. John Grisham's vocation seems to be to expose the failings of the US law systems and excite us with legal and criminal wranglings, and he needs to get back in the courtroom fast or he'll loose his following in the UK. Such a shame! If you're thinking about buying this book, spend your money on something else. If, like me, you just have to try it anyway, wait until you can buy it cheaply from a charity shop, because that's where a lot of copies will end up very soon!
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