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Bleachers by John Grisham
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Bleachers (2003)

by John Grisham

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,258481,696 (3.11)84
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  1. 10
    Playing for Pizza by John Grisham (KimSmyth)
    KimSmyth: Another sports themed Grisham book that is really not about sports after all
  2. 00
    The Best Short Stories of Ring Lardner by Ring Lardner (Cecilturtle)
    Cecilturtle: sports fan will enjoy this collection on baseball
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» See also 84 mentions

English (46)  German (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (48)
Showing 1-5 of 46 (next | show all)
I'm not a football fan, so I admit to having glazed over some of the passages which were a little heavy on the jargon. However, I did enjoy the descriptions of small town life, the passion for the game and its excesses. The character of Rake was well defined: neither a saint nor a demon but somewhere in between, a personality to big for a small town but one to remember it by. I enjoyed the little bits of suspense without which this would have been a rather dull read.
A light summer book, perfect for a long plane ride! ( )
  Cecilturtle | Jul 5, 2014 |
This is by no means Grisham's greatest work. The chapters are painfully long. The story-line may be of interest to those who are keen followers of American football or small-town America. A certain level of knowledge about American football is ideal to understand all parts of this book. I read this book to in my effort to read all of John Grisham's novels, but I certainly wouldn't rave about it. ( )
  adeej | May 20, 2014 |
I probably would have liked this better if I was a football enthusiast. The non-football parts (relationships other than with the coach) were what I liked best. ( )
  shesinplainview | Apr 10, 2014 |
A nice read about making peace with your history. Grisham writes well, of course. The book centers around past football players in a small Southern town as they gather to await the death of their former coach, the man who took them and the town to the pinnacle of football glory -- multiple state football championships. The good, the bad, the painful, and finally the acceptance are the story of Bleachers. ( )
  wareagle78 | Feb 8, 2014 |
Amazon.com Review With Bleachers John Grisham departs again from the legal thriller to experiment with a character-driven tale of reunion, broken high school dreams, and missed chances. While the book falls short of the compelling storytelling that has made Grisham a bestselling author, it is nonetheless a diverting novella that succeeds as light fiction. The story centers on the impending death of the Messina Spartans' football coach Eddie Rake. One of the most victorious coaches in high school football history, Rake is a man both loved and feared by his players and by a town that relishes his 13 state titles. The hero of the novel is Neely Crenshaw, a former Rake All-American whose NFL prospects ended abruptly after a cheap shot to the knees. Neely has returned home for the first time in years to join a nightly vigil for Rake at the Messina stadium. Having wandered through life with little focus since his college days, he struggles to reconcile his conflicted feelings towards his former coach, and he assays to rekindle love in the ex-girlfriend he abandoned long ago. For Messina and for Neely, the homecoming offers the prospect of building a life after Rake. Physically a narrow book, Bleachers is a modest fiction in many respects. The emotional scope is akin to that of a short story, with a single-minded focus on explorations of nostalgia and regret. The dialogue, especially that of Neely's friend Paul Curry, is sometimes wooden as characters recall Messina history in paragraphs that were perhaps better left to the narrator. But Grisham has otherwise written a well-made, entertaining--if a bit sentimental--story. --Patrick O'Kelley From Publishers Weekly Grisham demonstrated he could produce bestsellers without legal aid with The Painted House and Skipping Christmas, and he'll undoubtedly do so again with this slight but likable novel of high school football, a legendary coach and the perils of too early fame. Fifteen years after graduation, Neely Crenshaw, one-time star quarterback of the Messina Spartans, returns home on hearing news of the impending death of tough-as-nails coach Eddie Rake. Neely knows the score: "When you're famous at eighteen, you spend the rest of your life fading away." It's a lesson he's learned the hard way after destroying his knee playing college ball and drifting through life in an ever-downward spiral. He and his former teammates sit in the bleachers at the high school stadium waiting for Rake to die, drinking beer and reminiscing. There is a mystery involving the legendary '87 championship, and Neely has unfinished business with an old high school sweetheart, but neither story line comes to much. Readers will guess the solution to the mystery, as does the town police chief when it's divulged to him (" `We sorta figured it out,' said Mal") and Neely's former girlfriend doesn't want to have anything to do with his protestations of love ("You'll get over it. Takes about ten years"). The stirring funeral scene may elicit a few tears, but Neely's eulogy falls curiously flat. After living through four hard days in Messina, the lessons Neely learns are unremarkable ("Those days are gone now"). Many readers will come away having enjoyed the time spent, but wishing there had been a more sympathetic lead character, more originality, more pages, more story and more depth.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. ( )
  Hans.Michel | Sep 13, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 46 (next | show all)
Mr. Grisham's stories -- even the short, anomalous ones like his last small book, ''Skipping Christmas'' -- generally have more storytelling force than ''Bleachers'' does. His purpose this time seems more reflective than showy, and his love for this sports-related subject matter is palpably real.
 

» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John Grishamprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gyllenhak, Ann-SofieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gyllenhak, UlfTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Ty, and the wonderful kids he played high school football with;
their superb coach;
and the memories of two state titles
First words
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.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0385340877, Paperback)

With Bleachers John Grisham departs again from the legal thriller to experiment with a character-driven tale of reunion, broken high school dreams, and missed chances. While the book falls short of the compelling storytelling that has made Grisham a bestselling author, it is nonetheless a diverting novella that succeeds as light fiction.

The story centers on the impending death of the Messina Spartans' football coach Eddie Rake. One of the most victorious coaches in high school football history, Rake is a man both loved and feared by his players and by a town that relishes his 13 state titles. The hero of the novel is Neely Crenshaw, a former Rake All-American whose NFL prospects ended abruptly after a cheap shot to the knees. Neely has returned home for the first time in years to join a nightly vigil for Rake at the Messina stadium. Having wandered through life with little focus since his college days, he struggles to reconcile his conflicted feelings towards his former coach, and he assays to rekindle love in the ex-girlfriend he abandoned long ago. For Messina and for Neely, the homecoming offers the prospect of building a life after Rake.

Physically a narrow book, Bleachers is a modest fiction in many respects. The emotional scope is akin to that of a short story, with a single-minded focus on explorations of nostalgia and regret. The dialogue, especially that of Neely's friend Paul Curry, is sometimes wooden as characters recall Messina history in paragraphs that were perhaps better left to the narrator. But Grisham has otherwise written a well-made, entertaining--if a bit sentimental--story. --Patrick O'Kelley

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:48:29 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

"High school all-American Neely Crenshaw was probably the best quarterback ever to play for the legendary Messina Spartans. Fifteen years have gone by since those glory days, and Neely has come home to Messina to bury Coach Eddie Rake, the man who molded the Spartans into an unbeatable football dynasty." "Now as Coach Rake's "boys" sit in the bleachers waiting for the dimming field lights to signal his passing, they replay the old games, relive the old glories, and try to decide once and for all whether they love Eddie Rake - or hate him. For Neely Crenshaw, a man who must finally forgive his coach - and himself - before he can get on with his life, the stakes are especially high."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

» see all 7 descriptions

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