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The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon

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The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon PDF, ePub eBook Nine-year-old Trisha McFarland strays from the path while she and her recently divorced mother and brother take a hike along a branch of the Appalachian Trail. Lost for days, wandering farther and farther astray, Trisha has only her portable radio for comfort. A huge fan of Tom Gordon, a Boston Red Sox relief pitcher, she listens to baseball games and fantasizes that her h Nine-year-old Trisha McFarland strays from the path while she and her recently divorced mother and brother take a hike along a branch of the Appalachian Trail. Lost for days, wandering farther and farther astray, Trisha has only her portable radio for comfort. A huge fan of Tom Gordon, a Boston Red Sox relief pitcher, she listens to baseball games and fantasizes that her hero will save her. Nature isn't her only adversary, though - something dangerous may be tracking Trisha through the dark woods.

30 review for The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lyn

    I could say that Stephen King “hits a home run” with The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon but that would sound trite and campy. But what the hell. King hits a home run, this is a great book. It’s about a nine year old girl (but big for her age) who gets lost in the woods – and a lot more. This is about fear, deep primal fear that is at the roots of our childhood and never really goes away, just retreats back into a far, dark corner to wait. Most everyone has a memory from childhood when a hand held was su I could say that Stephen King “hits a home run” with The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon but that would sound trite and campy. But what the hell. King hits a home run, this is a great book. It’s about a nine year old girl (but big for her age) who gets lost in the woods – and a lot more. This is about fear, deep primal fear that is at the roots of our childhood and never really goes away, just retreats back into a far, dark corner to wait. Most everyone has a memory from childhood when a hand held was suddenly - not held; when a parent was there – and then not there. When a path in the woods was suddenly lost. Everyone has a memory from when they were suddenly alone. King knows better than most any writer today about fear, and here he demonstrates his incredible ability to awake in the reader a deep primal fear that we all can recognize, and what better illustration of that recognition than a little girl lost in the woods? Trisha realizes when she “felt the first winnow flutter of disquiet” that she was lost in the woods, and from there King leads us in an uncomfortable, suspenseful long walk in the woods with a very likable protagonist. Reminiscent of Algernon Blackwood in his brilliant The Willows and especially in The Wendigo, King creates an antagonist in an almost personified menace of “the woods” or “the wild” and finally in a mystic representation of a wild god. And of course – baseball. BRILLIANT! As a baseball fan himself, King plays on the spiritual quality of the game while adopting baseball’s natural rhythm in the novel’s structure. *Tom Gordon really did have a phenomenal season in 1998, an all-star election and 46 saves, finishing 69 games.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Reed

    Let me begin by saying I am an ardent Stephen King fan and have been since reading "The Stand" back in 1978. First, I like the genre. Second I believe him to be the best story teller alive on the planet today. That being said, even though I have read nearly everything he has written under any pen name, this is the only review I plan to write for the extensive King library. What is unique about this book was that it barely stepped into the usual worlds of Stephen King. It is a story about how a y Let me begin by saying I am an ardent Stephen King fan and have been since reading "The Stand" back in 1978. First, I like the genre. Second I believe him to be the best story teller alive on the planet today. That being said, even though I have read nearly everything he has written under any pen name, this is the only review I plan to write for the extensive King library. What is unique about this book was that it barely stepped into the usual worlds of Stephen King. It is a story about how a young girl survives being lost in the woods. And while there are some supernatural elements in it, they are not the overriding storyline. The focus is more on her psychological battle to survive. It's a tale of courage and the strength of will. You don't have to be a soldier or an athlete to be strong, you simply need the heart and mental toughness to never quit. This is a book you won't put down until you've finished it.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Brina

    With my holidays finally coming to a close after a busy month, I was in need of a quick, fast paced read. A few of my goodreads friends in a group I regularly participate in, the reading for pleasure book group, engage in many buddy reads of thrillers and spooky stories that are otherwise out of my comfort zone. Psychological thrillers have been known to give me the creeps, and I still can not watch a scary movie past three in the afternoon in case it plants an idea in my head that would give me With my holidays finally coming to a close after a busy month, I was in need of a quick, fast paced read. A few of my goodreads friends in a group I regularly participate in, the reading for pleasure book group, engage in many buddy reads of thrillers and spooky stories that are otherwise out of my comfort zone. Psychological thrillers have been known to give me the creeps, and I still can not watch a scary movie past three in the afternoon in case it plants an idea in my head that would give me a nightmare. Yet, when the small group decided to read Stephen King's The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon I decided to join them. King is an ardent Boston Red Sox fan and even owns a minor league team, so what could be better than a book by an impassioned baseball enthusiast read during baseball's post season. Trisha McFarland is nine going on ten and tall for her age. Her parents had gotten divorced the year before and her mother won custody. Both Trisha and her older brother Pete would have rather lived with their father Larry McFarland. Even though he on occasion could down a few beers too many, he still lived in the house that they knew as home, and they would be allowed to stay in the same schools. Trisha also shares a bond with her father, a love of baseball, specifically the Boston Red Sox. Larry saw how much the divorce had taken a toll on his kids so he wrote to Tom Gordon, Boston's closer at the time of this book (1998) and Trisha's favorite player, and asked him to sign a Sox cap for her. This cap cements the bond that Trisha shares with her father and becomes her most prized possession. While Trisha and Pete prefer the company of their father, their mother Quilla Andersen over compensates by dragging them on outings each Saturday when Pete would rather be playing video games and Trisha hanging out with her friend Pepsi or watching the Red Sox. After the divorce, Quilla appeared to lose sense of who her children were, becoming self-centered and uncompromising. Her staunch behavior would come back to haunt her. On a seemingly normal Saturday outing, Quilla has dragged Pete and Trisha to an Appalachian Trail hike near the Massachusetts-New Hampshire border. Instantly, Quilla and Pete commence on one of their classic arguments, losing site of Trisha. Immediately, she becomes lost in the woods. King paints a picture of a girl on the cusp of adolescence who is forced to come of age before her time. Relying on basic survival skills taught by both her parents and in science class, Trisha is forced to utilize her knowledge to not succumb to the big bad woods. The one link to the outside world that Trisha has left is her Walkman radio and with it Red Sox broadcasts each night as long as her batteries last. It is Trisha's imagination and her love of the Sox and Tom Gordon that have her creating life imparting wisdom from Gordon as a means for survival. This wisdom comes from being the ninth inning pitcher, the one called on when the game is on the line, who must have ice water in his veins at all times. In creating these imaginary scenarios in which Tom Gordon is her safety net and guiding light, Trisha attempts to defeat the opposition, the woods, unscathed. In his prose that comes from being a master of his genre, one can see that King can create a scary story in no time at all. Yet, for someone who is scared if a person walks up behind her, I was not scared at all. Part of this is having an imagination as rampant as Trisha's, especially an imagination that created scenarios with a childhood me having conversations with my favorite baseball players. That time is based on when the Red Sox play and how the team kept her tethered to reality felt normal to me. If I ever got lost as child, g-d forbid, I would probably have had imaginary conversations with baseball players in my head too, if it meant staying focused on the task ahead of me. Empathizing with Trisha's situation and having a similar imagination, I did not scare when she created big bad monsters, real or imagined. All along I figured that Tom Gordon would save Trisha just as baseball players saved me from a recurring nightmare I had as a kid. For someone who does not enjoy being spooked, I was not scared at all by reading Stephen King. I viewed this story as a coming of age tale of a girl who is a product of divorce and finds herself lost in the woods, using baseball as her anchor. It is evident from reading The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon that Stephen King is a huge fan of the game, as he inserts baseball facts and statistics within the story. Perhaps for someone who does not have as large of an imagination as I have or who is not a fan of baseball, this book would be scary. After all, the woods, as King states initially, is a scary place, especially for a girl who is nine turning ten and big for her age, who finds herself lost. If I really want to get scared, I will maybe just maybe read another of King's non-baseball centric stories at a later date. That is, if I read it before three in the afternoon so it doesn't give me nightmares. 3.5 stars

  4. 4 out of 5

    Nandakishore Varma

    Stephen King has confessed that he suffers from “literary elephantiasis”: that is, his novels tend to bloat. I would agree. Compared to the three- to five-hundred page efforts of his early days, the current productions weigh in starting at a thousand plus: even though his books remain eminently readable, I for one prefer the early, slimmer King novels before he caught this disease. But in between these gargantuan tomes, Steve produces small novellas rather like master chefs produce snacks once in Stephen King has confessed that he suffers from “literary elephantiasis”: that is, his novels tend to bloat. I would agree. Compared to the three- to five-hundred page efforts of his early days, the current productions weigh in starting at a thousand plus: even though his books remain eminently readable, I for one prefer the early, slimmer King novels before he caught this disease. But in between these gargantuan tomes, Steve produces small novellas rather like master chefs produce snacks once in a while as a break from five-course dinners. While many of them are light reading by his standards, suitable to while away an afternoon but nothing to write home about, some exceed expectations. The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon is such a book. The world had teeth and it could bite you with them anytime it wanted. Trisha MacFarland discovered this when she was nine years old. This is a suspense novel about a girl lost on the Appalachian Trail. On a hiking trip with her mother and brother, young Patricia MacFarland wanders off the path, ostensibly to take a piss but actually to get away from the constantly bickering pair of her parent and sibling. A small miscalculation and wham! She suddenly finds herself lost in the woods, frantically searching for a way out. As her situation grows more and more desperate, she has only her walkman for company; and through it, Tom Gordon, the Red Sox player. Soon, Tom (who points to the sky as if invoking God as he throws deadly balls to pluck out victory from the jaws of defeat) joins Trisha in her increasingly hallucinatory journey and his advice proves to be her salvation in the gripping climax. Stephen King is a master of infusing the fantastic into the humdrum. He tells us that the facade of normalcy is only a sham which can tear at any moment and expose the terrifying visage beneath: that your parents may tell that there is no boogeyman in the closet but we know better, don’t we? Trisha’s trip across uncharted woods soon turns into a metaphorical passage across the primeval forest of the psyche: and the monster stalking her takes on mythical dimensions. When human beings reach the end of their tether, they call out to God even if they don’t believe in Him: but what God? Steve gives us three choices: the New Testament God (the one Tom prays to with his finger pointed to the sky) who physically intervenes, but not always to one’s benefit; the God who is immanent in the universe but non-intrusive (Trisha’s father’s “subaudible”, more of a dormant force than a person); and the terrifying ogre God of all primitive religions including the Old Testament, the “God of the Lost” who comes from the thing in the woods. Trisha has to choose – and when the time comes, she enters into “the zone” (as sportsmen like Gordon would say) – and closes. As Tom says, it’s God’s nature to come out in the bottom of the ninth. Modern sports have a lot of things in common with tribal religion. Even though I don’t know anything about baseball, I could imagine a youngster like Trisha in India bonding with a cricketer like, say, Sachin Tendulkar. Stephen King has used this trope perfectly to craft a delicious little tale.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Susan May

    This isn't a big book, but it's one of my fave Stephen King books. It's brilliantly written and I think any lost-in-the-woods book will pale against it. King keeps his "I digress" waffling moments out of this one. Don't get me wrong I love his waffling most of the time ... it makes for great characters. The ominous feeling of the little girl being stalked by something unknown is so powerful. I read this in one sitting. Any reader who thinks Stephen King isn't a literary genius should read this boo This isn't a big book, but it's one of my fave Stephen King books. It's brilliantly written and I think any lost-in-the-woods book will pale against it. King keeps his "I digress" waffling moments out of this one. Don't get me wrong I love his waffling most of the time ... it makes for great characters. The ominous feeling of the little girl being stalked by something unknown is so powerful. I read this in one sitting. Any reader who thinks Stephen King isn't a literary genius should read this book. This man is never more formidable when he is writing in a small set with one character. This book should be studied in schools. Also, there's a moral. Don't wander off on paths in the woods, kiddies! Bad things can happen. Listen to your parents, too. Or bad things will happen. lol.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Rodney

    Once upon a time, I could buy Stephen King books with confidence it would be a good read. I think this book is the worst one I've read by King, and maybe one of the worst I've ever read, period. I do not have to words to properly express how crappy this book was.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne

    3.5* One of my biggest fears is to get lost in the woods. Stephen King makes a story out of this horrifying situation with a 9 year old little girl. It has all the eliminates that one would experience in a situation like this: paranoia, hunger, sickness, and even a predatory stalking her. This is a quick read, which is not common for a King book, but like most King books you will not regret reading it!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Edward Lorn

    This was my first time reading this book. I know, I'm just as shocked as you are. So why hadn't I, our resident King fanboy, read The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon? Well... I was homeless when it was released. That period of my life was the first of three times I would live on the streets. In 1999, I had successfully alienated myself from my immediate family (my mother and sisters; Dad had moved back to California by this time) due to my abuse of drugs and alcohol, and had moved into an apartment wi This was my first time reading this book. I know, I'm just as shocked as you are. So why hadn't I, our resident King fanboy, read The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon? Well... I was homeless when it was released. That period of my life was the first of three times I would live on the streets. In 1999, I had successfully alienated myself from my immediate family (my mother and sisters; Dad had moved back to California by this time) due to my abuse of drugs and alcohol, and had moved into an apartment with this heroin addict named Jill. Four months later, Jill got herself cleaned up and decided to kick me out. I was replaced by a guy I came to think of as Studhammer McSwingin'-Dick. In reality, his name was Kirk. Kirk was an addict, too, but his drug of choice was weightlifting. I would eventually come to write about Kirk. Some of you know the character of whom I speak. All that is still no excuse for me having not read The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon. I could have very well read it once I got my shit together, but I didn't. For the longest time, I thought it was an internet-exclusive novella, like Mile 81 and UR, and I was waiting for it to be released in a collection. It wasn't until last year (2014), that I realized the damn thing was actually a full-length (albeit short) novel. Am I mad it took me so long to get around to it? Not really. The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon is an okay little book written in the vein of Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea; one of those human-versus-nature books that values life lessons over plot devices. But, in this case, Hemingway's novella is far superior. There's not a whole lot going on in King's book, and the majority of the problems I had with it have to do with the cast. The characters within are some of King's shallowest. Our MC Trisha is a one-note kiddo who's obsessed with real-life baseball player Tom Gordon, a relief pitcher for King's most favoritest bestest team in all the land, the Boston Red Sox. Her brother Pete is your typical whiny-ass teen who prefers Dad to Mom in the world of New Divorce. Mom and Dad are just there; I got no feel for their characters at all. One of the plus sides of the book is something King refers to as Wasp-Priest. What a creepy thing that was. The first time Wasp-Priest is mentioned is some of the creepiest work King's done since Pet Sematary. "The God of the Lost" is a cool name, too, but the reveal at the end of the book was kinda shit. What Trisha ended up facing off with was rad and all, but the way King delivered the reveal was anti-climactic. I literally said, "Fucking really? Dude, you didn't even try." I think King was hoping to rely on the build up he'd created earlier in the book to carry over to the end. Unfortunately, it carried about as well as a sack with a hole in the bottom. Overall, I give The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon a pretty "Meh" rating. It is, without a doubt, mediocre King material. There are far better King books, but there are far shittier ones, too. In fact, two of his shittiest novels are up next on my reread list. Back to back: Dreamcatcher followed by From a Buick 8. I might read Hearts in Atlantis and Nightmares and Dreamscapes in between. Haven't decided yet... Anyway, after From a Buick 8, it's another Decade with King post. Obvious tie-ins: The novel takes place around TR-90, which is the location of of Mike Noonan's vacation home, Sara Laughs (Bag of Bones). This puts The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon inside the Dark Tower universe--guilty by association. Trivia: This is the last book King released before a van ran him down while he was out on his daily walk, almost killing him. King would write about the experience in On Writing and The Dark Tower. Other novels influenced by the accident are Dreamcatcher and Duma Key. In summation: The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon is a highly-readable, mostly actionless novel with cardboard characters and an ending lacking any luster whatsoever. You probably won't regret reading it, but, if you choose to skip it, you won't be missing anything special. Final Judgment: Contains more walking than The Hobbit and the entire The Lord of the Rings saga combined.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Lena

    I very much enjoyed this story about a nine 'but big for her age' year-old girl who gets lost in the Maine wilderness. For the most part. So let's get down to it. What I liked: The girl who loved baseball. Yep, that pretty much sums up why I loved this book. I mean, how can you not love a nine-year-old who loves baseball, in large part because she shared it with her absent-through-divorce father. And maybe I'm a little biased because I was a kid who loved basketball, and then baseball, and then I very much enjoyed this story about a nine 'but big for her age' year-old girl who gets lost in the Maine wilderness. For the most part. So let's get down to it. What I liked: The girl who loved baseball. Yep, that pretty much sums up why I loved this book. I mean, how can you not love a nine-year-old who loves baseball, in large part because she shared it with her absent-through-divorce father. And maybe I'm a little biased because I was a kid who loved basketball, and then baseball, and then football. Yep, I had favorite players, I could recount their stats. I knew who they pitched against, if they had trademark moves, etc. And for sure I could understand why and how baseball was her link to the world, how she listened to the games for solace and sanity and hope, for escape and, well, everything we love about sports as children or adults. And the girl was tough-as-nails but not unrealistically so. I didn't even mind that she cried ALL the time. I mean, not only was it realistic, but it didn't annoy me how, say, reading YA books about girls crying all the time makes me want to throw the book against the wall. No, when Trisha cried, it fit into the story and didn't make her seem like a spoiled whiny brat (sorry, I have a thing against girls who cry a lot in books). Instead of giving up and feeling sorry for herself, our plucky little heroine gets her resourceful butt up and goes on. Which, incidentally, brings me to the next part of my review: what I didn't like so much. First of all...I may have read this wrong, but I'm pretty sure this is how it happens. Girl hiking in woods with family. Girl comes to fork in the road, goes off in the MIDDLE to pee, and gets lost. She tries to slant off to one side to catch up with her family on the trail, taking the short cut. Okay, so maybe the trail winds away somewhere and she wouldn't intersect it that way. So what does she do? She keeps walking. FOR NINE DAYS!!!!! Hello, why not just turn around? She's in the middle of a fork. When she realizes she's lost, if she'd turned around and gone back, she'd have to either run into one of the two trails or come back to the intersection. It's geographically not possible that she wouldn't. Draw a picture if you don't believe me. For such a smart, resourceful kid to not think of something so simple...I don't believe it for a minute. Not for a kid who knows what to eat in the woods better than I do, and I'm an adult who happened to grow up, that's right, IN THE WOODS! The next thing that sort of bothered me was how she got sick from drinking clear pure stream water. That's pretty much a myth. If you drink stream/river water that comes out of a farm where there's runoff from animal dung, maybe. In the middle of a pristine forest? Not so much. I'd buy it if the swamp water, or the puddle water, made her violently ill ie food poisoning, but not the clean water. And the last thing. Yeah, I know, SK points out that this was her first bad decision, to go north towards Canada instead of south when she got to almost civilization. I could see how she'd miss when she was so close. I could see how she didn't hear the town. But who goes north? Come on, she's seen maps, right? She lives in Maine, right? Can anyone name a town north of Maine besides, um, Canada? Can anyone name a town south of Maine? Yeah, that's what I thought. This girl was way too smart to make those mistakes. If she'd been an idiot, I'd buy it. But then, she wouldn't have lived. So I guess my final word would be this: come on, Mr. King. Don't fall back on the same lame old lost-in-the-woods cliches. Your fans expect more. Also, like most of King's almost could-happen books, I didn't need the supernatural stuff. It was hokey. There's plenty of horror in real life, plenty of scary situations for a girl lost in the woods. We really don't need wasp-gods to know it's scary. Really. I like King's supernatural books fine, but some of them, I always think, are more plausible (aka scary) without it. Those elements just ruin the spine tingling "this could REALLY happen" vibe and distract/detract from the suspense. Maybe he just adds it bc he thinks the fans like that? I know I don't need it in every book. Not. At. All. I definitely fell in love with the character in this book, which is one of the things that Stephen King does SO well. I just didn't buy all the circumstances. But overall, it was a satisfying, if not exactly terrifying, story. I'd recommend to younger King fans or those just getting into his work. And YA readers. And people who have gotten or would like to get lost in the woods.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Hershey

    This book was a huge sucker for me. I'm not a fan of horror and only when the planets align themselves properly and when the sun doesn't shine for three days do I ever pick up books from this genre. Apparently there was a fault in the alignments because I didn't like or enjoy this book one bit. I didn't hate it either but lack of any emotions is just as bad. The plot sounded quite promising. A girl lost in the creepy woods... what scary things might await her? NOTHING! Unfortunately, I didn't find This book was a huge sucker for me. I'm not a fan of horror and only when the planets align themselves properly and when the sun doesn't shine for three days do I ever pick up books from this genre. Apparently there was a fault in the alignments because I didn't like or enjoy this book one bit. I didn't hate it either but lack of any emotions is just as bad. The plot sounded quite promising. A girl lost in the creepy woods... what scary things might await her? NOTHING! Unfortunately, I didn't find anything scary in this book. Nothing made me look under my bed during the cold dark nights. There were pretty gross scenes but that doesn't count as scary because they only made me want to vomit. I also didn't like Trisha, our main character. She's only 9 years old and would have been quite interesting to read about but I just found her too boring and was also quickly losing interest. I guess, in other words, that this book was not meant for me. This was also my first Stephen King's book and I'm pretty sure this won't be the last. I've heard great things about his other novels and will surely pick it up when you know, the planets and the sun do their job. For a better review, click here. To know what the whole plot is about, click here. I would suggest you find something else to read because this ain't a good book.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ashley Daviau

    I first read this book in high school and I loved it just as much (if not more) this time around as I did back then. Although it's quite a short book, it manages to make me FEEL so much every time I read it. I think a big part of why it resonates with me so much is that I'm someone who has an incredibly terrible sense of direction and one of my greatest fears is getting lost and not being able to find my way back. And this book brings that fear to life for me and makes me feel like I'm lost alon I first read this book in high school and I loved it just as much (if not more) this time around as I did back then. Although it's quite a short book, it manages to make me FEEL so much every time I read it. I think a big part of why it resonates with me so much is that I'm someone who has an incredibly terrible sense of direction and one of my greatest fears is getting lost and not being able to find my way back. And this book brings that fear to life for me and makes me feel like I'm lost alongside Trisha. I don't think I'd be as strong as her in the same situation though. She is one HELL of a fierce child, no matter how scared she is or how much she feels like giving up, she just keeps pushing past it and surviving. She is and always will be one of my favourite King characters. I really love how the supernatural aspect is present but just kind of lingers on the edges, making you wonder if it's really there, just like Trisha finds herself doing. It really adds to the atmosphere of the story and makes it all that much more terrifying!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    Warning: Don't Get Skulled........Being stranded in the mosquito infested woods of the Appalachians is no fun for nine year old Trisha McFarland. With visions of The Thing following her and frightening words from The Cold Voice, her love of baseball and Boston Red Sox closer Tom Gordon is her only salvation.This 1999 Stephen King audio adventure (narrated by Anne Heche) is not really scary, but is entertaining with one hell of a final pitch!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Thomas Strömquist

    Stephen King reading project #35 Safe to say this one did not do it for me. Writing is as good as ever, but this feels like something King should be able to write in his sleep (and he almost sent me there on more than one occasion, the New York Times reviewer that wrote the cover blurb should stay far away from really scary books as to not having to sleep with the lights on for all future). Can't shake the feeling that SK has written this story before; lost, watched and vulnerable protagonist ech Stephen King reading project #35 Safe to say this one did not do it for me. Writing is as good as ever, but this feels like something King should be able to write in his sleep (and he almost sent me there on more than one occasion, the New York Times reviewer that wrote the cover blurb should stay far away from really scary books as to not having to sleep with the lights on for all future). Can't shake the feeling that SK has written this story before; lost, watched and vulnerable protagonist echoes of Cujo, Misery and Gerald's Game. Common for these three is that they are all scary (and recommended). Without kids on my own I think I can still understand the horror of a 10 year old girl getting lost in a large forest, but the fact is really not enough for a book and King has described hardships and terror very much better and more effective than this. If you are not interested (or even understand) baseball, that is another nail in the coffin. Final one was the ending, which annoyed me mightily. Recommended for completionists only.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Chung

    One of my favorite stories to read are survival stories. They really push the main character to the farthest capacities of their mind, body and soul. In this story "The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon", it was no different. The main character really struggles, but maintains her strength in a faith she doesn't know she has. Giving this book 5 stars. It wasn't my favorite of King's read, but there isn't any flaws that I could complain about so it gets the ol' 5 star treatment. Trisha McFarland is 9, almo One of my favorite stories to read are survival stories. They really push the main character to the farthest capacities of their mind, body and soul. In this story "The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon", it was no different. The main character really struggles, but maintains her strength in a faith she doesn't know she has. Giving this book 5 stars. It wasn't my favorite of King's read, but there isn't any flaws that I could complain about so it gets the ol' 5 star treatment. Trisha McFarland is 9, almost 10 and big for her age. Her parents are divorced and her older brother is a complaining numskull. Pete hates his new middle school because he has no friends. He hates the fact that his parents are no longer together and blames them for putting the kids in the middle. One Saturday morning, Quilla, Trisha's mom decides that they will all go on a hike in the Appalachian mountains. The hike was said to be moderate and only 6 miles. From the moment the trio stepped out of the van on that early morning, the subaudible was already in motion. Pete and Quilla started arguing, which continued on the hike. Trisha couldn't take it anymore and decided she had to go pee. Scare them a bit for not paying any attention to her. Trisha could see the path from where she was squatting. However, instead of going back to the trail the way she came she cuts through the path at an angle. This was her downfall. She ended up veering from the original path and getting lost. The thing that saved her was a talk she had with her father about the subaudible, Tom Gordon, her walkman, and the knowledge that checkerberries and beechnuts are edible. The most important not mentioned above was her strength in herself to keep going. I found the story to be slightly unbelievable because as a mother of two boys, there is no way they would have survived that long in the woods alone with only their wits. Maybe if my kids were in boy scouts and was taught a little about surviving in the woods. Trisha isn't that savvy. She learned a little from her mom who is a plant enthusiast. She learned a little bit in school and t.v., but mostly she winged it. She was lucky. I have heard of other small children surviving in woods after being lost and it always amazes me. I'm a grown adult and I'd probably die in 3 days. I listened to this book on audio and it was read my Anne Heche, the actress. It was such a pleasant read. She did great being the voice of our 9 year old protagonist and really kept me in the game. I normally don't like books with sports in it, but this one was minimal only talking about the closing pitcher and fictional Tom Gordon. It was such a huge factor in the story to move Trisha along that I didn't mind. A friend commented that this book is a YA version of Gerald's Game and I can definitely see the resemblance. A female character on the verge of death having to use her own wits and own voices to help her escape. There is also a supernatural entity watching closely hoping she doesn't succeed. I enjoyed this book. This is the fourth book by Stephen King that I can remember that has a female protagonist. That may not be interesting to most, but I'm keeping track.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede

    I missed the greatness of The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon the first time I read the book. Then, I decided to give the book another go since I hardly remembered the book. That was a wise move. Every step of the way of the book I was with Trisha as she tried to find her way back to civilization. I walked with her, I slept by her side, I suffered with her; I felt her pain when she was sick and hurt and I was with her the moments she listened to the radio, her only joy. She is only nine years old (tal I missed the greatness of The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon the first time I read the book. Then, I decided to give the book another go since I hardly remembered the book. That was a wise move. Every step of the way of the book I was with Trisha as she tried to find her way back to civilization. I walked with her, I slept by her side, I suffered with her; I felt her pain when she was sick and hurt and I was with her the moments she listened to the radio, her only joy. She is only nine years old (tall for her age) lost in the woods, but what a tough cookie. I loved this book! I loved how King can write a story so good that the reader is pulled into the story!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Rade

    I really tried to like this book, but it just did not work for me. A girl gets lost in a forest thanks to a woman who is a candidate for "The Worst Mother of the Year" award, and tries to keep it cool while coming to realization that she has no idea where she is or which way to go to find help. She is nine but big for her age but giving her situation, I got to say that she keeps it together, despite her situation. She looks for food, rations her water, and even talks to Boston Red Sox relief pit I really tried to like this book, but it just did not work for me. A girl gets lost in a forest thanks to a woman who is a candidate for "The Worst Mother of the Year" award, and tries to keep it cool while coming to realization that she has no idea where she is or which way to go to find help. She is nine but big for her age but giving her situation, I got to say that she keeps it together, despite her situation. She looks for food, rations her water, and even talks to Boston Red Sox relief pitcher, Tom Gordon. He acts as her conversation buddy even though she knows he is not there. Him, as well as her Walkman which she turns on every once in a while to listen to baseball announcer, keeps her from going insane. I just did not like this one. Maybe I did not like baseball, maybe I did not like the lack of exciting things happening, or maybe it was something else. Overall, the girl in the book was brave, quick on her feet, and kept her cool in all of the situations where she was nervous or scared of what is out there, lurking. I think this novel could have been compressed into a short story with a lot of things omitted and few things added in for suspense.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Crystal

    First of all, I need to point out that this book is *nothing* like the standard King lineup. Its a refreshing change of pace for his Constant Reader. Strangely enough, I think Stephen King felt the same way. There's a passion in the lines of this one that almost makes the words glow on the page. If I were to recommend a Stephen King book to a "fraidy cat" this would be the one. Its not scary, not even really creepy, although it does have some fairly tense scenes. You'll love this little girl by t First of all, I need to point out that this book is *nothing* like the standard King lineup. Its a refreshing change of pace for his Constant Reader. Strangely enough, I think Stephen King felt the same way. There's a passion in the lines of this one that almost makes the words glow on the page. If I were to recommend a Stephen King book to a "fraidy cat" this would be the one. Its not scary, not even really creepy, although it does have some fairly tense scenes. You'll love this little girl by the first page, laugh and cry with her through the middle, and cheer when she throws the most important ball of her life. The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon is a page turner, with a main character you'll not soon forget.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Marc-Antoine

    It has been a long time since a story has had me wanting to flip to the last page to make sure everything turns out all right. I resisted the urge, and for that I am grateful. One of Sai King’s best in my opinion.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Abbie | ab_reads

    A really quick little read about a brave and resilient little girl who gets lost in the woods. I read it in a couple of hours last night and really admired Trisha! In her situation I would have curled into the foetal position and just given up, honestly!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Louise A

    I love this book. It's one of my favorites of all time. I love Stephen King to begin with, but I think any one - even people who don't like his style or genre typically - would like this book. It's a great, simple story about the power of the human will to survive and the strength of the human spirit - it's bravery, humor, resilience and ingenuity - in the face of great obstacles. It is really a fantastic book for anyone who has, or is, going through a tough time. The plot is very simple - a you I love this book. It's one of my favorites of all time. I love Stephen King to begin with, but I think any one - even people who don't like his style or genre typically - would like this book. It's a great, simple story about the power of the human will to survive and the strength of the human spirit - it's bravery, humor, resilience and ingenuity - in the face of great obstacles. It is really a fantastic book for anyone who has, or is, going through a tough time. The plot is very simple - a young 11 year old girl gets lost in the woods in Maine. Its about her journey through the woods, the days she spends there, and the things she learns about herself and life. It's a great 'girl power' book without being cheesy. The little girl is very captivating without being 'cute' and I think everyone could see some of themself in her. Very good read - not too long, and uplifting.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Emma♔☯ (Bookishfix)

    “The world had teeth and it could bite you with them anytime it wanted.” This was a little different than the other King books i've read but still quite enjoyable. A 9 year old city girl, fighting for survival after straying off a trail path ,her mother and brother bickering yet again and to distracted to notice her gone. This book focused on fear, imagination, things that go bump in the night with a twist of the supernatural. The visual imagery King uses makes you feel like you yourself are “The world had teeth and it could bite you with them anytime it wanted.” This was a little different than the other King books i've read but still quite enjoyable. A 9 year old city girl, fighting for survival after straying off a trail path ,her mother and brother bickering yet again and to distracted to notice her gone. This book focused on fear, imagination, things that go bump in the night with a twist of the supernatural. The visual imagery King uses makes you feel like you yourself are lost in the woods, fighting to survive, feeling like you're being watched from a distance. This book definitely gave off creepy vibes at times but also helped us relate to the little girl Patricia quite easily by the words/slang used or the fear of an imaginative child. Parts where a little slow, as it as just a girl walking lost through the woods but it was done very well and kept the reader interested in what will happen to this young girl and her road in surviving. Patricia (Trisha) Mcfarlane is only 9 years old, but fairly bright for her age when her mother decides to take her and her sulky brother Pete into the woods for a hike. Trying to compensate for her recent divorce, this is a common occurrence on weekends to spend some family time just the three of them, except for weekends they spend with their father. Pete wished he had stayed with his father , 'Dont know why we have to pay for what you guys did wrong' being the last thing Trisha hears before she falls back from the bickering and ends up getting lost in the woods with nothing but the backpack on her back. Trying to find food, trying to keep warm, sickness/injury, bugs, fear; all the things Trisha must face as she embarks on the trip back to civilization. But something out there is watching her, she can feel it and at times she can almost see it. Just out of reach, but not far enough to totally lose scent of her, and she feels like it wants her, and once she is consumed with enough fear, it will. Being a fan on Baseball pitcher Tom Gordon, Trisha often imagines him accompanying her and keeping her safe, talking to him if only not lose all her sanity. “It was like drowning, only from the inside out.” This novel is done over 10 days, 9 days in which Trisha is lost. I quite liked Trisha's character, she is smart for her age, a fighter, had a great imagination and wit. Although the main story is based around her, we get to know her family life through her memories of them and the days before the divorce that divided them. I'm not a baseball fan in anyway, but i liked how Trisha was and the fact she is a bit of a tomboy. Her heartthrob Tom Gordon felt almost essential in her survival and helped push her on. Most kids have an idol or someone they look up to and im glad Trisha had her eyes and heart set on Gordon. Wanting to be like him, with 'ice in his veins' helped her in times where she cried or had had enough of being lost. This is set in 1998, so there are no iphones or high tech stuff we have today which was not only refreshing but kind of nostalgic too. Walkmans! i know i had one, and loved it, took it to school with me everyday listening to whatever music i felt was hip back then. Overall this was an interesting read about survival of a young girl lost in the woods, totally alone and using skills she has picked up from school, her mother, ect, or her own common sense. The supernatural twist was quite interesting too, i kept feeling like ' omg she's gonna die' ' its coming to get her now for sure' while reading this. Being so young, you feel for Trisha, she has a hard journey being lost for 9 days, trying to do what she can to survive. I honestly dont know if i would survive in the woods for 9 days, maybe survival mode would kick in for me too but i doubt it, im not that great at the whole hunter, gather stuff, camping or knowing what to eat and what not too, so i bet i would have died by day 4 probably due to my own stupidity or stravating. Recommended for: Horror/ Contemporary/Thriller

  22. 5 out of 5

    Andre Gonzalez

    Not his best, not his worst book. This was a quick moving story about a young girl stranded in the woods. There's only so much that can happen in these types of stories that come down to a single character stuck in a bind, but King pulls it off with great storytelling, weaving in characters from the young girl's past as she thinks back on her normal life at home. For me, what saved this book were all the baseball references. As a lifelong baseball fan, there wasn't a term or reference I didn't k Not his best, not his worst book. This was a quick moving story about a young girl stranded in the woods. There's only so much that can happen in these types of stories that come down to a single character stuck in a bind, but King pulls it off with great storytelling, weaving in characters from the young girl's past as she thinks back on her normal life at home. For me, what saved this book were all the baseball references. As a lifelong baseball fan, there wasn't a term or reference I didn't know, and I remember watching Tom Gordon pitch as well. I can see how non-baseball fans might have a hard time with this read, but it did the trick for me!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kaila

    4/5 stars “The world had teeth and it could bite you with them anytime it wanted.” Girl gets lost in a forest. That's already a scary premise to me, as I'm someone who has absolutely no navigational skills (don't even get me started on what's left and right). But Stephen King has to take it that one step further, making it creepier and increasing the horrifying stakes. This means that the novel practically made my heart stop many times, out of both suspense and fear. I've also come to realise t 4/5 stars “The world had teeth and it could bite you with them anytime it wanted.” Girl gets lost in a forest. That's already a scary premise to me, as I'm someone who has absolutely no navigational skills (don't even get me started on what's left and right). But Stephen King has to take it that one step further, making it creepier and increasing the horrifying stakes. This means that the novel practically made my heart stop many times, out of both suspense and fear. I've also come to realise that I love books where the character's body has been pushed to the extreme. In this case, I could vividly feel and imagine Trisha's starvation, thirst, desperation and paranoia. I was so enveloped in the book that I suddenly felt like I was there, experiencing it with the main character. That is the brilliance of this author's writing as I wasn't just a bystander but had an active role in the novel, which was both wonderful and terrifying. Nine-year-old Trisha was sick and tired of her mother and brother fighting incessantly. During their hike on a part of the Appalachian Trail, Trisha veers from the path for only a short time, but it was this choice that resulted in her being very lost and alone. With no hope of finding her family or any help quickly, Trisha decides to try to find her own way back to civilisation. With little food, no company and no shelter, she must rely on herself and her Walkman to keep her from going crazy, if she were to survive at all. But being lost in the woods alone isn't Trisha’s only problem. She knows that it's probably just her imagination and paranoia, but she has a strong feeling that she isn't alone in the woods and that if she doesn't make it out alive, the being following her would surely be her end. As a reader, I didn't just sit back and watch the events of this book unfold before me. I was in the action and felt as if I was right there with Trisha, feeling the pain, desperation and fear that she was. I picked this up at night, only expecting to read a couple of chapters before going to bed. Things definitely didn't go to plan and I didn't end up going to sleep that night until I had finished the entire book. By the end my palms were sweating, my heart was pounding and my thoughts were erratic. This book just brought the worst emotions out of me as I was fully enveloped in the creepy and lonely world of Trisha’s thoughts. Truth be told I found it every difficult to get to sleep that night, not only because of the adrenaline coursing through my veins but also due to the fear that this book subjected me to. This is definitely one of the more simple stories by Stephen King that I've read, but I still think it was very well constructed on top of being insanely entertaining and addictive. I really grew to like the character of Trisha. She was strong-minded, admirable in her determination and resourceful but still held the innocence of a nine year old. I really loved reading from her point of view because she was undeniably intelligent and witty but I also rooted for her so strongly throughout the novel. What I love a lot about characters being thrown into desperate circumstances are the small moments where we learn about their lives, their relationships and what matters most to them. This is what I loved in King’s The Long Walk and equally enjoyed in this novel as we learnt about the backstory of Trisha’s family and how her love for Tom Gordon helped keep her strong throughout the ordeal. “The world is a worst case scenario and I'm afraid that all you sense is true” I really love books in which the characters are pushed to physical and emotional extremes, and the plot of being lost in the woods for days really ties in with this. As soon as I read that this book was about a girl lost in the wilderness I was satisfied, but Stephen King didn't stop there. Very quickly I realised that this book was about a lot more than just the desperation of a young girl, it had a much more nightmarish twist to it. The sense that something else, we don't know what, was following Trisha was downright spine-chilling. It left this uncomfortable feeling in my stomach and stroked the feeling of Terror in my mind. This also made the book so much more suspenseful and high stakes, because not only did Trisha need to survive her environment but she also needed to escape whatever was following her. I particularly enjoyed the ambiguity as to whether this being was just Trisha’s paranoia or if it was a real monster. King effortlessly blended nightmares and childlike terror with reality so it was practically impossible not to get drawn into the creepy world myself.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kyriakos Sorokkou

    Stephen King is a great fan of baseball, and a great supporter of Boston Red Sox I don't give a shit about baseball. Well, that's a bit harsh; let me rephrase it: I don't care about baseball. I'm not a sports person, I hated PE back in school, I... yada-yada-yada! Stephen King wrote 3 books about baseball, a novella called Blockade Billy later added in the short story collection The Bazaar of Bad Dreams. He also co-wrote a non-fiction book entirely about baseball Faithful: Two Diehard Boston Red Sox Stephen King is a great fan of baseball, and a great supporter of Boston Red Sox I don't give a shit about baseball. Well, that's a bit harsh; let me rephrase it: I don't care about baseball. I'm not a sports person, I hated PE back in school, I... yada-yada-yada! Stephen King wrote 3 books about baseball, a novella called Blockade Billy later added in the short story collection The Bazaar of Bad Dreams. He also co-wrote a non-fiction book entirely about baseball Faithful: Two Diehard Boston Red Sox Fans Chronicle the Historic 2004 Season, which is going to be the very last book I'll read by him. And lastly he wrote The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon. So you can imagine me dreading to start this book. In the end there where no more than ten pages in total about baseball games and players, so I can say I enjoyed this book even though it's not his best. This book has many similarities with Gerald's Game a book which I read in the spring of 2016. Both books have a female protagonist all alone in the forest, haunted by her thoughts and her subconscious, seeing imaginary (?) beings. Gerald's game is much more scary and disturbing than Tom Gordon's Girl. The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon is a nine year old girl lost in the woods and in her thoughts trying to find a way to get back to civilisation, trying to find a way to survive. Her only connection to civilisation is her Walkman that she uses to tune into baseball broadcasts and listen about her favourite baseball team, Boston Red Sox, and the performances of her favourite baseball player, Tom Gordon. I really like woods and I really like books taking places in the woods, and that's the main reason I enjoyed this book. There's nothing else to talk about this book it seems. . . P.S. In 2017, since I started reading the Dark Tower series one per month it seems that I will keep doing this; reading one Stephen King per month until the end of the year. 7/10

  25. 5 out of 5

    Book Concierge

    Book on CD performed by Anne Heche A young girl who loves baseball (and particularly one Red Sox player) takes a few steps off the path when on a hike through the Appalachian Trail with her mother and older brother. In the blink of an eye, she is lost and trying very hard not to be terrified. King is a master craftsman and he is never better than when playing on all our childhood (and adult) fears, magnifying them tenfold and letting his (and our) imagination carry us away. I loved Trisha McFarla Book on CD performed by Anne Heche A young girl who loves baseball (and particularly one Red Sox player) takes a few steps off the path when on a hike through the Appalachian Trail with her mother and older brother. In the blink of an eye, she is lost and trying very hard not to be terrified. King is a master craftsman and he is never better than when playing on all our childhood (and adult) fears, magnifying them tenfold and letting his (and our) imagination carry us away. I loved Trisha McFarland! She’s resilient, intelligent, and brave. She’s also young and makes some wrong decisions which get her farther into trouble. (Number one rule of being lost in the woods – STOP moving, stay put and wait for rescue … but if she’d followed that rule there wouldn’t be much to the novel.) I grew up going camping with my family. We slept out in the open (no tent), though we usually had a tarp of some kind to keep off the rain. But I don’t think I could fare half so well as young Trisha did. She remembered a science class that helped her, and lessons her mother imparted on other nature hikes helped her forage for a few berries or edible ferns. This is not to say that she had an easy time of it. The “tough tootsie” voice in her head definitely shoots holes in each theory and idea Trisha has, filling her with doubt and increasing her fears. The noises and violence of nature can be frightening and shocking to anyone, let alone a nine-year-old town girl, not accustomed to such experiences. It’s easy to imagine boogie men and monsters lurking in the dark (not to mention the real dangers of snakes, poisonous plants and predators). The best thing she did, however, was keep her spirits up by relying on her beloved Tom Gordon, the Red Sox “closer.” It was those “conversations,” and using her Walkman to listen to the ball games, that sustained her and gave her hope and courage. Anne Heche did a marvelous job of performing the audio version. She knocked it out of the park! 5***** for her narration.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ron

    One of the many things that make this book special is the unexpected way Stephen King can come across in a story. His books live within the horror genre but he transcends it with each story he writes. The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon is many things in one small book. It is at the same time a coming-of-age story; homage to baseball; an adventure and the battle with fear. When 9-year old Trisha makes the mistake of stepping off the Appalachian Trail and away from her mom and brother for a pee break, s One of the many things that make this book special is the unexpected way Stephen King can come across in a story. His books live within the horror genre but he transcends it with each story he writes. The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon is many things in one small book. It is at the same time a coming-of-age story; homage to baseball; an adventure and the battle with fear. When 9-year old Trisha makes the mistake of stepping off the Appalachian Trail and away from her mom and brother for a pee break, she gets lost in a big way. As she follows voices towards what she believes is the correct way back to safety, she heads deeper into the woods. Are the voices she hears the first of her encounters with the “special thing”, a presence in those woods? This is only my conjecture because we only know that she heads in the wrong direction. Besides a small lunch and a soda, she has practically nothing. To keep her company in the dark she has only her walkman, the love of the Red Sox, and their closing pitcher Tom Gordon. What I like about this little book is the feeling of being there with Trisha, that fear of being lost as a child in a big and sometimes scary place. Some of the directional decisions she takes are exasperating, and I never really feared the “other thing” in the woods, but I can get past those minor details. This is my second time reading this one. All in all, I liked it as I did the first time, especially Trisha’s wit, and her courage in the bottom of the ninth inning.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kelsey

    Not really a 'scary horror'. It was more about our imagination, fear and the way we deal with the unknown. I guess in some respects that is more scary than anything. We each perceive and deal with the 'thing' in the book slightly differently. Some of us may dismiss it on a scientific basis, others may be terrified, and others may simply be intrigued and curious. It was a suspenseful story for me; scattered here and there with moments that were genuinely creepy and others that were quite entertain Not really a 'scary horror'. It was more about our imagination, fear and the way we deal with the unknown. I guess in some respects that is more scary than anything. We each perceive and deal with the 'thing' in the book slightly differently. Some of us may dismiss it on a scientific basis, others may be terrified, and others may simply be intrigued and curious. It was a suspenseful story for me; scattered here and there with moments that were genuinely creepy and others that were quite entertaining. Being able to vividly see Trisha become weaker, but also grow in strength was great. She may have been lost in the woods, but she didn't lose herself. The world had teeth and it could bite you with them anytime it wanted.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Brown

    A little girl gets lost alone in the woods. But for better or worse, no one is ever really alone… The world had teeth and it could bite you with them any time it wanted. Trisha McFarland discovered that when she was nine years old. Sounds like Cujo, doesn’t it? Sometimes bad things happen and it’s nobody’s fault, just the way of the world. Sometimes all the courage and willpower in the world isn’t enough to save you. And sometimes it is. Along with the Dark Tower series, this unique little book wa A little girl gets lost alone in the woods. But for better or worse, no one is ever really alone… The world had teeth and it could bite you with them any time it wanted. Trisha McFarland discovered that when she was nine years old. Sounds like Cujo, doesn’t it? Sometimes bad things happen and it’s nobody’s fault, just the way of the world. Sometimes all the courage and willpower in the world isn’t enough to save you. And sometimes it is. Along with the Dark Tower series, this unique little book was my favorite of the new-to-me King books I read this year. While it has a lot of aspects that I like about King in addition to tropes I like in general, it’s different from his other books I’ve read (much pithier, for one thing) and a bit sui generis overall. If you read survival memoirs, you’ll notice that many real people who got lost in the wild, in addition to their suffering and fear and physical breakdown, also had some kind of transcendent or spiritual experience. In between periods of misery and despair, they came to understand themselves, the natural world, and some kind of greater force in a way which felt deeply and lastingly important to them, though many say that no attempt at description can convey what it was really like. King delves into this phenomenon, giving the book an atmosphere at once delicate and powerful, full of realistic and suspenseful wilderness details balanced with a satisfyingly ambiguous exploration of that which is inherently unknowable and indescribable. Nine-year-old Trisha goes with her mother and older brother for a short hike on the Appalachian Trail. When she steps off the path for a pee break, she realizes that she’s fallen behind and tries to take a short cut to catch up with them. One easy-to-make mistake leads to another, and Trisha is soon lost in the woods. Very, very lost. That’s the entire book: the extraordinary journey of an ordinary girl. But Trisha is extraordinary too, in the way that anyone may become if they hit the exact right— or wrong— circumstances to bring out their full potential, whether to do right or wrong or simply endure. If you’ve been following my King reviews and thinking, “Man, these books sound interesting, but so dark! Does he ever write anything that wouldn’t traumatize me if I read it?” Unless you’re very sensitive to children in danger, this could be the one. The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon is way more emotionally realistic (and so harrowing) than something like Hatchet, but it’s more like that than it is like Carrie, and it’s a lot less traumatizing, to me anyway, than Julie of the Wolves. (No rape, no deaths of sympathic animals.) It’s a character and theme-driven adventure/survival novel with ambiguous fantasy elements and some scary moments, not a horror novel. There’s some snippets of Trisha’s family freaking out, but they get little page time. Trisha suffers, but she’s also very resilient. [If you just want to know if she survives, (view spoiler)[ she does. (hide spoiler)] Trisha has no special woodsy knowledge. Brian from Hatchet she’s not. Very unusually for a wilderness survival novel with a child hero, Trisha doesn’t do anything that a smart and resourceful but untrained kid couldn’t plausibly have done. The average kid wouldn’t have survived as long as she did, but that’s just statistics. She doesn’t build her own snowshoes, start fires with flint, befriend wolves, or trap rabbits. She eats stuff she finds, she makes a primitive lean-to from fallen branches, and she walks. And walks. No matter how bad things get, she doesn’t stop. She does it all with nothing but a little bit of food and water, plus her Walkman, which picks up the broadcast of a Red Sox game in which her favorite baseball player, Tom Gordon, is playing. As she gets more and more lost, and is forced to reach deeper and deeper into her mind and body and soul to survive, she calls upon others to help her out: her memories of her family and her parentally disapproved-of friend Pepsi Robichaud, who could only be considered a bad influence if you’re nine and sheltered, her crush and idol Tom Gordon, and various conceptions of God or Godlike forces. As time goes on, Tom Gordon becomes Trisha’s imaginary companion, becoming more and more of a presence as she goes from simply needing him more to outright hallucinating from hunger and illness. So another of King’s perennial themes comes into play, the relationship of the fan to the fan-object, and how real and important it can be, for better or worse. (You do not need to know or care about baseball to read this book. I don’t. Technical details are minimal, and King tells you everything you need to know.) But there are other things in the woods which Trisha didn’t call, except in the sense that she attracted them by being there and vulnerable. Maybe it’s whatever animal predator happens to be around. Maybe it’s a specific animal that’s tracking her. Or maybe it’s supernatural. This part of the story is exceptionally well-done and comes to a very satisfying conclusion. Back to God, King’s perennial question of “Does he exist and if so, where is he and why does he let bad things happen?” is prominent in this book. While lost, Trisha considers and possibly encounters multiple concepts of God. One is the mainstream idea of an interventionist God, whom Tom Gordon petitions with a gesture during games; if that God answers an athlete’s prayers to win, will He answer Trisha’s to live? Another is the Subaudible, which Trisha’s father explained to her when she asked him if he believed in God: "It had electric heat, that house. Do you remember how the baseboard units would hum, even when they weren't heating? Even in the summer?" Trisha had shaken her head. "That's because you got used to it, but take my word, Trish, that sound was always there. Even in a house where there aren't any baseboard heaters, there are noises. The fridges goes on and off. The pipes thunk. The floors creak. The traffic goes by outside. We hear those things all the time, so most of the time we don't hear them at all. They become... Subaudible. “I don't believe in any actual thinking God that marks the fall of every bird in Australia or every bug in India, a God that records all of our sins in a big golden book and judges us when we die— I don't want to believe in a God who would deliberately create bad people and then deliberately send them to roast in a hell He created— but I believe there has to be something. “Yeah, something. Some kind of insensate force for the good. “I think there's a force that keeps drunken teenagers— most drunken teenagers— from crashing their cars when they're coming home from the senior prom or their first big rock concert. That keeps most planes from crashing even when something goes wrong. Not all, just most. Hey, the fact that no one's used a nuclear weapon on actual living people since 1945 suggests there has to be something on our side." Much of the book interrogates the idea of a Subaudible, particularly the question of just how conscious it is and if we're our own Subaudible. It also introduces the idea that the Subaudible may have a less benevolent counterpart. This is the God of the Lost, which may be the thing (if there is a thing) stalking Trisha through the woods. If so, is it malevolent or simply dangerous? Is it another insensate force, or conscious and concrete? What will determine Trisha’s fate? God and the Devil? The Subaudible and the God of the Lost? No supernatural forces at all, just human beings and nature and Trisha herself? Or some combination of those? I normally find religion the most boring topic on Earth. I did not find it boring in this book. It comes up naturally, and it’s in the form of open questions rather than preaching. I excerpted the part about the Subaudible because it’s easier to quote than to summarize, not because it’s presented as the One Truth. The prose, which swings easily from King’s usual not-quite-stream-of-consciousness interspersed with bits of omniscient narration to some passages of striking beauty, doesn’t try to imitate a child’s speech. But though the language is adult, the content of Trisha’s inner world did mostly feel convicingly nine-year-old. That’s an age when many kids are thinking about God and why bad things happen. I’ve had children that age talk to me unprompted about those issues in simple language but using pretty sophisticated ideas. The Subaudible isn’t Trisha’s idea, it’s her father’s, but I believed that once he told her about it, she’d keep on chewing over it. Cut for spoilers. I would not read these if you might read the book; they spoil the climax, which is quite beautifully orchestrated. (view spoiler)[ A few bits I didn’t want to spoil but I wanted to mention because they felt so emotionally realistic: the bit early on where Trisha packs her scraps because she was taught not to litter, never thinking that she should leave them as markers. That was so believable as a kid’s mindset. Also, go King, you finally wrote a poop scene that actually felt like it needed to be in there. Trisha gets sick and has a miserable night, then comes to the consoling realization that if she never mentions it, no one will ever know. I think a lot of us have had some humiliating bodily issue followed by that exact thought. I had so much empathy for poor Trisha on that one. And there was just enough detail to show what was going on and why she felt that way about it, without tipping into shit-weasel unreadable grossness. The use of omni was also very well-done, with King dropping in to explain what would have happened if Trisha had gone in the other direction, missed the fence post, etc. He does it just enough to satisfy curiosity, provide a plausible mix of good and bad luck, and give us some “Arrgh, go the other way!” moments. The ambiguity of the fantasy/supernatural/spiritual elements really worked for me, mostly because the emotional meaning was consistent regardless of how you interpret them. Because King sometimes drops into omniscient, we know something is sniffing around Trisha. But what? An animal? Different animals? Or something else? My interpretation is that the Subaudible and the God of the Lost are real, but they’re not quite as personal or anthropomorphic as Trisha sometimes sees them. I think the bit where they and Tom Gordon’s God actually talk to her is Trisha putting a human-understandable face and voice on forces that are not really within human comprehension. When she finally meets the bear-demon, yes, I think it was sent by the God of the Lost… but I think it was a regular bear that got a nudge to go there, get her. Her perceptions are real, but she’s seeing the spiritual truth beneath the surface, not a literal physical demon-bear with literal bugs for eyes. I think both she and the God of the Lost were working with and through natural forces, so the Walkman scared off the bear because you can scare off bears by throwing things at them. But she also defeated the God of the Lost on a spiritual plane, and that’s why the bear fled rather than getting pushed into a second try. The guy with the gun only saved her by getting her to a hospital; Trisha took out the bear all by herself. I’m with Trisha’s Dad on the existence of the Subaudible as a real thing existing in the world of the book, with the extension that it includes Trisha herself and all of humanity, from the real Tom Gordon to her fannish relationship with him. So it’s mostly the sum of what’s good in humanity. But the Walkman’s possible but unlikely ability to pick up a signal, and its suspiciously long battery life? I think the Subaudible gave that one to her. (Or possibly Tom Gordon’s God. But as King hilariously points out, God does not appear to be a Red Sox fan.) Similarly, I think the God of the Lost is real, but not as anthropomorphized as Trisha perceives it to be. It’s amoral in the sense that morality does not apply; it goes after her not out of evil or cruelty or any personal desire to get her, but because she stepped into a situation that was inevitably going to kill her if she didn’t escape first. It’s the embodiment of “nature will kill you because that’s what nature does.” Then again, there’s Trisha’s brief but unsettling perception that the Subaudible is the God of the Lost. But even if that's correct, it still doesn't settle things: maybe the only goodness is us, or maybe the universe consists of us, a vast inimical force of questionable consciousness, and a conscious benevolent God. Ultimately, the book refuses to take a stand on things that are inherently unknowable, and I think that’s the right way to go. Trisha’s final confrontation is beautifully written, perfect in prose and theme. She faces a bear and a God and the random machinery of death, and her response is to move from having Tom Gordon as a companion and inspiration to taking what she needs from him and making it her own. She’s a dying little girl squared off against a God, a demon, or maybe just (just) a fucking huge hungry bear— but she’s got icewater in her veins, the words of her fannish love in her mouth, and the willingness to give everything she has in this last fight, spit in the face of her greatest fear, and live or die on her feet. Throwing the Walkman as a pitch was satisfyingly heroic— a perfect story climax— while still being something a kid could plausibly do. It brings together all the themes and plotlines— baseball, Tom Gordon, the Walkman itself, the forces against her, the forces protecting her, the entire question of spirituality, civilization versus nature, the idea that fannish love can literally save your life, and her own indomitable spirit even at death’s door— and makes the same crucial points no matter what interpretation you take of exactly what she faced or did. Was it an ordinary bear that had been stalking her from hunger? A new bear that turned up then for the first time? A bear sent by the God of the Lost? A supernatural being? An incarnation of Mid-World’s Shardik? A hallucination? (The last is unlikely, because there was a witness… but he’s not the most reliable witness.) Or some combination of those, like a regular bear with added hallucinatory details? Whatever it was, Trisha exerted the utmost heroism to save herself with the tools she had, and that’s true even if it was purely hallucinatory: she thought she fought it, and she certainly saved herself by walking that far. The same coherence of theme with ambiguity of interpretation goes for the forces that help Trisha. The guy who finds her: was he sent in some way? By God? By the Subaudible? Or was he just an ordinary guy who happened to be there because she’d gotten far enough to hit a place where people were? And the times when she gets lucky: is luck alone, or did she get a nudge from the Subaudible or God? Any interpretation is satisfying, because none of them could have helped her if she hadn’t already gotten so far out of sheer persistence. But in the end, when even her extraordinary determination isn’t enough by itself, even when her spiritual perception, whether right or wrong, is that the universe is nothing but teeth, she still doesn’t go down. Instead, she takes a battle that has never been on her turf and that she could only ever survive by going somewhere else, and drags it to a place where she belongs. After an entire book of trying to bring Tom Gordon into the wilderness, Trisha wins by taking the God of the Lost out to the ball game. (hide spoiler)]

  29. 5 out of 5

    Marianna Neal

    This is unlike any other Stephen King book I've read (so far). I can't say that I loved it, but I was definitely very invested in the story, and 100% rooting for Trisha. What a determined little fighter!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Lexy

    If you ever want a Quick read I suggest you read this book cuz it's not as scary as Stephen King's other books it's about baseball and if you like playing baseball I suggest you read this one

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