High school All-American Neely Crenshaw was probably the best quarterback ever to play for the legendary Messina Spartans. Fifteen years have gone by ...Show synopsisHigh school All-American Neely Crenshaw was probably the best quarterback ever to play for the legendary Messina Spartans. Fifteen years have gone by since those glory days, and Neely has come home to Messina to bury Coach Eddie Rake, the man who molded the Spartans into an unbeatable football dynasty. As Coach Rake's 'boys' sit in the bleachers waiting for the dimming field lights to signal his passing, they replay the old glories, and try to decide once and for all whether they love Eddie Rake - or hate him. For Neely Crenshaw, still struggling to come to terms with his explosive relationship with the Coach, his dreams of a great career in the NFL, and the choices he made as a young man, the stakes could not be higher.Hide synopsis
This is a small book, so it is easily read in one sitting on a rainy afternoon!
I found it easy to relate to the main character, and was very able to understand the range of emotions that he goes through over the death of a hated/feared coach. I can honestly say that this book made me laugh and cry.
... and before you shout me down, as a UK reader, I really didn't enjoy this book and feel it was because it was so firmly set within US cultural high school mores. I spent my 10th. year in 5th grade of a Miami elementary school, and returned to family in the States throughout my teenage years and beyond - so I 'got' most of the baseball references and aspects of the culture but just couldn't work up any engagement with the characters. The sports coach at my elementary school was indeed an evil sadist - so I could even identify with that aspect of the tale. Maybe it was because the story lines were very tired and cliched. The 'familiar stranger' who revisits his high school haunts and sees everyone with an insight that their lives have been too shallow for them to share... groan. I tried to read the book twice, eventually forcing myself just to finish it and get it over with. It was given to me by a committed Grisham fan here in the UK who felt disappointed with the book and wondered if my knowledge of the US would make a difference. It didn't: we have to recognise that 'Bleachers' just doesn't travel well.
A super fast read! I finished this book in a day.
If you've ever had a tough coach in your high school years, you can easily relate to this tale of teammates looking back on their past. The love/hate relationship is beautifully illustrated and its a pleasure to see Grisham doing something so different from all the law and mystery.
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