“Bleachers” (Book Review)

Today I want to tell you about a mighty good vacation read. Yes, I know, my series “What I Did on my Summer Vacation” is over. But now that we’re home and I have added the book to my virtual shelf, I can’t resist sharing it.

Grisham, John. Bleachers. Dell, New York, 2003. I didn’t expect to be particularly interested in this book, since I am no football expert. But I’ve read enough John Grisham to give it a try. Sure enough, Grisham spins a fascinating story about true-to-life characters. Fifteen years after graduating from high school, protagonist Neely Crenshaw and many of his fellow students have gathered in a sort of vigil for their dying coach. For decades Coach Rake had dominated not only the football program, but the whole town. Of course, in a town where football is KING, a winning coach might as well be king too. As the friends relive their teen years, we see how some of their decisions back then have shaped the rest of their lives. Even though the bulk of the events took place in the past, drama and tension abound as the reader pieces those events together from bits of dialogue. Grisham even makes a tape-recorded play-by-play spring to life. I would love for this book to be required reading for all students, athletes or not, because it offers a long-range perspective that may shock them: there is more to life than winning football games.

Thanks for reading,
Jan

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