Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Reviewer Rating: No Stars!
Book Review by Vincent W. Sakowski
On the cover, the book has written on the bottom: a novel. Perhaps the word count just squeaks by the minimum, but there’s a lot of empty space between the covers: Pregame starts on page 9, the type is large, the margins are wide, and there are quite a few blank pages. Add on an over-inflated price, and you’ve gone beyond insult to injury and you’ve just entered The I Lost A Reader Zone.
Still I read it, and still I say it’s no novel: not simply because the story itself is so short, but because it is also too long. As in the case of King’s Gerald’s Game, this book is really a short story stretched beyond any reasonable limit. Had King been willing to submit himself to a fair but judicious editor in both cases, each could have had the potential to be great short stories. (Well, maybe great . . . good at the very least . . . way better than intolerable as they both are in their present forms.)
But back to Gordon . . .
Here’s the basic run down: Trisha McFarland, age nine, gets lost in the woods, while her brother and mother are arguing about the mother’s broken marriage. Trisha gets lost . . . stays lost . . . while a search is made . . . and she has an obsession with Tom Gordon, a Red Sox closer. Now multiply this idea by two hundred and more pages, and you have one dull story.
Certainly, all of the characters are well drawn– King could never really be accused of creating a thin character; although one or two once in awhile would be nice, and give the reader a break. Most of the story is spent on Trisha and her predicament/adventure/journey/whatever, and that’s where the story really drags. (Had King really wanted to punish the reader, I suppose he could have gone into greater detail about what every other character did in the book, so I guess there is something to be thankful for.)
How it drags, is that for almost every major action Trisha takes, a memory is sparked, a flashback has begun, a conversation has started with one of the voices in her head– another Kingian crutch leaned on far too often — or the action itself is drawn out in excruciating detail. For example, at one point she is listening on her Walkman while Gordon tries to close a game, and it takes as long to read it as it would to be sitting there watching it. Thanks but no thanks for the ultra-realism. It may be accurate, it may give a bit of insight and a bit of entertainment, but really it is simply boring. No, there doesn’t always have to be wild action or funny, snappy dialogue. Being still and introspective can be enlightening and entertaining, but writing something interesting would be nice . . . something unique.
I didn’t raise an eyebrow until page 142, and that only lasted for a page or so, and it was back to same old same old. Trisha is confronted a few times by pretend people, including the God of the Lost, which may or may not be just a big black bear. Wow! Add that to such past glories as the Hand of God touching off a nuclear device, (The Stand), or a space spider which isn’t really a spider, (IT), and King has outdone himself once again.
Avoid The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon at all costs, even in paperback, even if it’s free from the library.
You can’t get the time back.