Sunday, May 8, 2022

Review of "Bleachers," by John Grisham

 Review of

Bleachers, by John Grisham ISBN 0385511612

Five out of five stars

An unusual look back at the glory days

 While a winning high school football team is the main plot premise of this book, it is much more about retrospective to the glory days of high school. Under the brilliant and at times sadistic control of Coach Eddie Rake, the Messina High School football team was nearly unbeatable. With a winning streak spread over several seasons, the Rake was a hero, and the team was the biggest thing in town.

 Neely Crenshaw was a high school all-American quarterback at Messina, and he seemed destined for the NFL until his knee was destroyed in college. It is fifteen years after Crenshaw starred at Messina and Coach Rake is on his deathbed. Many of his former players are coming back to town in order to pay their respects. Groups of them meet in the bleachers at the football stadium, hence the title of the book.

 As the former players reminisce about their glory days and reflect on their lives, what they have become is a cross section of what people do after high school. Their “professions” range from prison inmate to career criminal to various professions. It is a story of how they all both loved and hated Coach Rake and how each of them dealt with him as well as each other.

 In sports, the number of people that had glorious high school sports careers and then little after that far outnumbers the number that went on to additional glory in college and beyond. This book is about them, how they manage to come together and once again become a band of brothers when their former coach passes away.

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