Author: John Grisham
Pages to Date: 229
Bleachers taps into the nostalgia for youth felt from those who peaked in high school. The pace is fast, with strong imagery that sucks the reader into a world obsessed with small town high school football. Not enough mainstream literature deals with the fallen hero, the disgraced former star who simply never reached his full potential; Bleachers unflinchingly examines the emotions felt by a man who will never escape the giant shadow cast by his 17 year-old self. Furthermore, the scenes portraying former teammates discussing triumphs from years past are extremely real. Only three years removed from high school myself, I cannot help but be reminded of conversations I have with former teammates that are eerily reminiscent of the dialogue in Bleachers. Overall, a wonderful mixture of how wistfulness regarding the past holds one back and the lifetime bonds created through sports.
The "mystery" of the national championship of the main character's senior season was completely devoid of suspense; honestly, it just dragged the book down a notch. Furthermore, there is a completely disproportionate amount of wonder towards achieving a college scholarship. Yes, it takes a lot of hard work and there is plenty of great high school players who never play at the college level; but when several Geneva High School grads are playing right now at Northern Illinois, I have a really hard time taking the notion that barely anyone from a school described as an unbelievable powerhouse goes to play DI football.
Despite the page count over 200, Bleachers is a fast read with skinny pages. While it will not expose you to any revolutionary ideas or concepts, it is absorbing. I recommend it to anyone who enjoyed high school, enjoys football, or just wants to read about the type of futile exist destined for those who yearn to relive their high school glory days.