The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon (1999)
By: Stephen King
Genre: Fiction, Horror, Supernatural, Survival
While on a day hike with her mother and older brother, nine-year-old Trisha McFarland leaves the trail and falls behind. Attempting to catch up, she thinks she is taking a shortcut, and ends up getting lost in the Maine woods. As night falls, she has to rely on her own instincts and what little supplies she has to withstand the elements. She has to be brave despite her fears. She listens to Boston Red Sox baseball games on her walkman in an attempt to keep her connected to society. She imagines her hero, closing pitcher Tom Gordon, is there beside her as the days wear on and an enemy closes in.
I had a hard time getting into this novel. I liked the heroine, Trisha, fine, but I couldn't really relate to her. I had a really hard time putting myself in her situation. I thought she was very smart in her efforts to survive out in the woods. She knew to conserve her food and water supplies, and follow streams to civilization, yet she never thought about trying to retrace her steps back to the trails she originally left? That didn't make sense to me. I understand that if she had found the trail, there wouldn't have been much of a story, but she could have tried and maybe gotten lost along the way.
The days that she’s lost in the woods seem to drag on, and many of them contain her walking through different parts of the woods and picking berries. There are a few slightly scary moments when she finds some mangled animals, but other than that the story is more about her surviving in the wilderness with nothing but a radio to keep her sane. The only somewhat scary part is the climax of the novel, and even then I wasn’t too worried about what would happen to our scrappy little heroine.
The baseball jargon was hard for me to follow as well. I just found the parts involving baseball and Trisha’s love for it so boring. That is mostly because I find the game itself dull and sleep-inducing. I understood that it was her only link to the outside world, but that didn’t make it easier for me to read about.
It really just wasn't the thrilling novel I was expecting from the cover. I found it to be more about survival and a love for baseball than horror, so I had a hard time really enjoying it. Overall, it is not one of my favorite Stephen King books, but it is still a decent read if you’re not expecting many scares.