Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Today, I finished reading the shortest novel I've read all year - and one of the best. To my great surprise, it's the new novel by John Grisham, Bleachers. This novel, only 183 pages, explains more thoroughly than anything I've ever read, or anyone I've ever heard, the pull of high school sports: on its players, on its fans, and on the athletes whose lives have to go on somehow after having been the Kings (and Queens) of their small towns. Bleachers centers around a small southern town, its football team, and most of all, its longtime coach, who's on his deathbed at the start of the novel. Grisham, whom I haven't read in eons (likely since The Client, which I read after seeing the film), has an alarming ear for dialogue, and knows football like John Madden. Any sports fan - especially any high school sports fan - needs to read this quick and rather brilliantly executed novel.

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