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The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon - Stephen King
Member Name: Sue Ellen
The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon - Stephen King
Date: 09/01/01, updated on 09/01/01 (174 review reads)
Advantages: It's by Stephen King - need I say more? Yes? Okay then - gripping, scary, moving - are you happy now?
Disadvantages: Yeah, right ;o)
Right. As soon as my daughter reaches her third birthday, I’m going to read this book to her. I’ll read it to her at bedtime so she’ll have time alone to reflect on the seriousness of the story. Why? Because I’m a parent who has put herself in the place of the little girl in this story and who trembles at the thought of anything like that happening to her own child or any other. Maybe they ought to make a cardboard book of it with lots of bright pictures so that babies can start subconsciously absorbing the moral of this story – namely, not to wander off the path and away from their mummy when walking through huge, scary, wild woods of the Stephen King type.
I thought the days of being scared by Stephen King books were long past me. “Insomnia”, “Hearts in Atlantis”, “The Green Mile” – all of these were exceptional, but they didn’t have the spine-chill factor that “Christine” or “Carrie” had – not that that was a problem! And anyway, I read those last two when I was still a child; I’m a grown adult now with a daughter of my own, quite old enough to know that monsters and ghosts don’t exist (they don’t, do they?).
So I started reading. And to be quite honest, I initially found it a bit boring. Girl wanders off from path, gets lost in woods. Not much of a plot. There was also a lot of description there, and I started to feel my attention getting itchy feet. Any other author, and I would most probably have put this book away and picked up another. But this wasn’t ‘any other author’, this was Stephen King; we have a history, and I knew he wouldn’t let me down. And he didn’t disappoint.
I think it was probably about halfway through that I realised the suspense had got to me so much that I didn’t want to put this book down. Trisha, the nine-year-old star of the story, has been trying to
find her way out of the woods for about five days, and still no sign of civilisation (well there wouldn’t be, would there, seeing as we’re only halfway through). Her daily physical struggles are described in terrible detail: she has to make her way through savage wood and marshland, find food to give her energy to keep moving and fend off exhaustion, and then deal with the violent sickness that results in drinking from the streams in the woods. Not only does she discover an inner voice that seems to relish scaring her witless, she also starts to realise that there is ‘something’ stalking her through the woods. It’s a Stephen King novel, so obviously the ‘something’ isn’t going to be a cute baby deer who just wants to play; no, it’s going to be something big, mean and scary, whose one purpose in life is to make Trisha its next meal.
As time goes on, she starts to have hallucinations which take the form of her baseball hero, Tom Gordon. Well you would, wouldn’t you? He walks along beside her, keeping her company and giving her the strength and support to carry on surviving. Later on, as she becomes more and more exhausted, reality and make believe merge into one another. Although Tom Gordon is with her constantly, she starts to ‘see’ other people as well, although not all of them are on her side.
I won’t elaborate any further on the storyline – it would be such a shame to spoil it for any potential reader. And Stephen King gets paid a great deal more for writing about it than I do, so why should I? But I will say that the suspense is cleverly built up, the atmosphere scary, and the ending will bring a lump to your throat.
Maybe not one of his best novels, no, but I still really enjoyed reading it. It reminded me very much of “Gerald’s Game” in its style of sticking to one situation and the search for a solution; I believe King himself co
mpared the two in his book “On Writing” (Steve, I’m still waiting for that commission cheque for all this plugging of your previous works). Baseball fans may also appreciate the frequent references to the game; they were lost on me, although I don’t think this spoiled the book. I just wish I’d find a book with a netball theme one day.
Stephen King fans will love it, as will anyone else who likes to be gripped and moved simultaneously. Hmm, maybe I should rephrase that when I update this.
Come on now, you didn’t really think I would read this book to my daughter, did you? No way. There is a message in here that any parent should give some serious thought to, but it’s one that I think needs a little soft focus and a little perspective. In the mean time, let me go and shut that window. There’s another one of those pesky wasps…