Genre Horror Publisher Simon & Schuster Year Published 1999 Review Posted on 12/21/2001 Reviewer Rating
No Stars! Reader Rating
7 out of 10
The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, by Stephen King
Reviewed by Vincent W. Sakowski
If you've read this book, why not
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.
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Comments on The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, by Stephen King
Posted by davefelts on 1/7/2002
King has always been hit or miss with me. I enjoyed The Stand, but most of his other books fell pretty flat as far as I was concerned. That didn't stop me from giving most of them a go though. TGWLTG was pretty poor, as the review commented. I read it in a night or two (there's not much to it) and wasn't impressed. Go read Bag of Bones - much better.
Posted by kumar on 10/11/2006
the book isn't as great as expected but i have to do a report on it if i were u i would choose another book this one just isnt the type of book u wanna waste your time reading i very much agree with the sawkowski guy or whtvr
Posted by Ariel on 12/5/2006
ok since every1 is talking bad about this book i just want to say some good things about it. i am a 13 yr old girl but i read it when i was 12. i dont know if that makes any difference. i really liked the book and i would recomed it to every1. i have only read a few of his other book tho. i am big into reading "scary" books but i liked TGWLTG too. although it isnt as "scary" as his other books it is still great. so plz give it a try.
Posted by Brian on 1/25/2008
I have to totally disagree with this review. I have read every word King has ever had published, and besides the Darktower series, and the Talisman, The Girl Who Love Tom Gordon is one of King's strongest works. The reviewer that found the book boring, either lacks an attention span, or likes cookie cutter characters. The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon is one of King's most upliting stories, much along the same lines as Rita Hayworth & The Shawshank Redemption or The Stand. While not as long as either of those novels, Tom Gordon still is just as powerful in its telling of the power of the human spirit and the way in which it overcomes tremendous odds. I would encourage anyone interested in King's work to disregard the poor review this book was given on this sight, and go read it and decide for yourself.
Posted by Trudi on 5/13/2009
You people just don't get it...
Posted by Alice on 9/28/2013
I completely disagree with this review. I have read almost all of King's books and I will say this has to be my favourite. It is an utterly riveting book and totally entertaining. To dislike a book because it's not short enough for your attention span is something you should keep to yourself.
Posted by Woppy on 2/5/2014
Just finished it, and have to agree with the review. I thought it had some good ideas, but was stretched for too long for the amount of material actually contained.