The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon

Stephen King, Author Simon & Schuster $16.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0-684-86762-5
""The world had teeth and it could bite you with them anytime it wanted."" King's new novel--which begins with that sentence--has teeth, too, and it bites hard. Readers will bite right back. Always one to go for the throat, King crafts a story that concerns not just anyone lost in the Maine-New Hampshire woods, but a plucky nine-year-old girl, and from a broken home, no less. This stacked deck is flush with aces, however. King has always excelled at writing about children, and Trisha McFarland, dressed in jeans and a Red Sox jersey and cap when she wanders off the forest path, away from her mother and brother and toward tremendous danger, is his strongest kid character yet, wholly believable and achingly empathetic in her vulnerability and resourcefulness. Trisha spends nine days (eight nights) in the forest, ravaged by wasps, thirst, hunger, illness, loneliness and terror. Her knapsack with a little food and water helps, but not as much as the Walkman that allows her to listen to Sox games, a crucial link to the outside world. Love of baseball suffuses the novel, from the chapter headings (e.g., ""Bottom of the Ninth"") to Trisha's reliance, through fevered imagined conversations with him, on (real life) Boston pitcher Tom Gordon and his grace under pressure. King renders the woods as an eerie wonderland, one harboring a something stalking Trisha but also, just perhaps, God: he explicitly explores questions of faith here (as he has before, as in Desperation) but without impeding the rush of the narrative. Despite its brevity, the novel ripples with ideas, striking images, pop culture allusions and recurring themes, plus an unnecessary smattering of scatology. It's classic King, brutal, intensely suspenseful, an exhilarating affirmation of the human spirit. 1,250,000 first printing; major ad/promo; BOMC and QPB featured alternates; simultaneous audiocassette and CD, read by Anne Heche. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/05/1999
Release date: 04/01/1999
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Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-671-04585-2
Compact Disc - 192 pages - 978-0-671-04586-9
Hardcover - 261 pages - 978-0-7838-8639-8
Paperback - 261 pages - 978-0-7838-8640-4
Open Ebook - 224 pages - 978-0-684-83583-9
Prebound-Other - 978-0-606-18369-7
Prebound-Glued - 272 pages - 978-0-613-23717-8
Paperback - 978-84-01-01408-6
Paperback - 978-2-253-15136-4
Mass Market Paperbound - 240 pages - 978-1-4000-0220-7
Mass Market Paperbound - 272 pages - 978-0-671-04285-1
Hardcover - 261 pages - 978-0-7540-2239-8
Hardcover - 261 pages - 978-0-7540-1322-8
Hardcover - 7 pages - 978-0-689-87422-2
Hardcover - 16 pages - 978-0-689-86272-4
Hardcover - 978-0-689-03841-9
Mass Market Paperbound - 264 pages - 978-1-4165-2429-8
Book - 192 pages - 978-0-7435-6339-0
Compact Disc - 978-0-7435-7818-9
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