I really don’t know how much work John Grisham puts into his novels, but his writing style is effortless and simply seductive. You start reading a few pages, thinking, “eh, could be an OK book,” and 100 pages later you’re gripped by the characters, the plot, the sheer marvelous story crafted by the Mississippi-lawyer-turned-brand-name-author.
Such is Bleachers (2004).
I am by no means a devourer of Grisham. Those who anxiously await his latest book release, read it, and wait again. I believe I picked up Bleachers because someone mentioned it was about football in the south and it was by an author not known – at the time – for writing on the subject. Grisham, of course, made his name in legal thrillers that go on to be made into movies starring Matthew McConaughey (A Time to Kill), Tom Cruise (The Firm), and Matt Damon, (The Rainmaker). Bleachers, then, is a rare departure.
Bleachers is the story of Neely Crenshaw, former star quarterback for Messina High School, who returns home 15 years after the end of his high school career to bury his old coach, Eddie Rake. Rake, who was 418-62 as a head coach with 13 state titles, casts a long shadow across the lives of his former players, both as a tyrant and father-figure. Neely and the men who gather for the funeral must come to terms with their own past relationship with Coach Rake, a man who they loved and hated.
What better way to prepare for football season? At just 242-pages, you can have Bleachers read before the first game kicks off.