John Grisham abandons the legal world for American football in Bleachers. What a shame, says Harry Ritchie. Now, as Coach Rake’s “boys” sit in the bleachers waiting for the dimming field lights to signal his passing, they replay the old games, relive the. On Friday nights, the entire town of Messina waited for the gate to open, then rushed to the bleachers where seats were claimed and nervous.

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I often look at the things people obsess about, especially sport, and wonder why. Fifteen years after graduation, Neely Crenshaw, one-time star quarterback of the Messina Spartans, returns home on hearing news of the impending death of tough-as-nails coach Eddie Rake. When he left, Neely had become a local legend as one of the best quarterbacks in Messina High’s history, but a falling out between him and the coach left him bitter and kept him away until this moment.

Rake liked to hit, and no practice session was complete until he angrily threw down his clipboard and grabbed someone by the shoulder pads.

During a grueling unsanctioned Sunday morning practice inMessina player Scotty Reardon died of a heat stroke. He rolled through the red and yellow maples, bright in their autumn foliage.

Every Messina player had seen Rake, on a particularly bad day, throw grishzm body at a running back and take him down with a vicious hit. American football is not something I am familiar with,but Grisham’s skill made me read this book in a few hours. He loved the violence of football and demanded it from every player.

A whole new ball game

They slowly open up to each other sharing stories of the coach, not always glowing ones and in the memories of these players, the character of a dying man comes to life. What a pity that a fine suspense bleacyers had to put all of his fans through this horrible ordeal.

Slowly, the narrative reveals why Rake was fired so suddenly and what happened between him and Neely. Five thousand bucks in cash. Blaechers the way, the players reminisce and look hard at who they have become. The former players gather in the bleachers at the school awaiting the death of the old coach as he succumbs to cancer. This is a very painful novel to read having played high school football myself and I share many of the same feelings towards my old coach as Neely does — and as I’m sure many other former athletes do — despite ojhn fact that I was not a star, hell I wasn’t even a first stringer.


Neely walked over to take a look. Among the returning players is former All-American Neely Crenshaw, who left Messina 15 years earlier, carrying a host of burdens with him from this field.

Why do you think the author chose the setting? At the north end of bleacherrs bleachers, down where the rowdies brisham the county once raised so much hell, an older man moved quietly up to the top row and sat down.

What Somewhere out there is someone who heard that John Grisham was a great author, chose this as their first book of Grisham’s to read, and remains confused about the hype. This coach was extraordinary. Grisham’s success even renewed interest in A Time to Kill, which was republished in hardcover by Doubleday and then in paperback by Dell. Literally read this short novel in a day.

Thanks for telling us about the problem. Grisham took time off from writing for several months in to return, after a five-year hiatus, to the courtroom.

And he heard Rake bark and growl, though his coach seldom lost his cool in the heat of battle. Everyone in life needs a person to help them with pushing yourself to get better more than we would push ourselves.

Whatever Silo heard or saw stopped him on the sideline for a moment, then he climbed the steps with his hands stuck deep in the pockets of his jacket. But Crenshaw played against black kids and the game was faster and tougher. The Mayor was offended. And in that home Miss Lila and her three daughters and all the rest of the Rakes were now gathered, waiting for the Coach to take his last breath. He walked a few steps along the sideline, stopped at the fifty where Rake had coached hundreds of games, and looked again at the silent bleachers where ten thousand people once gathered on Friday nights to pour their emotions upon a high school football team.

This short novel serves as a time-capsule for American sports, bringing readers and sports fans back to a time when football was celebrated for its brutality.


After Rake left they named it after him. Neely is a highly recruited quarterback with a golden arm, fast feet, plenty of sizes, maybe the greatest Messina quarterback ever.

With believable dialogue and vivid description, he takes us right into the heart of the huddle and into the hearts of his characters. It was interesting to hear his southern accent. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. Overall, it’s a nice story.

Mar 18, Belmin Zvekic rated it it was amazing. As Coach Rake’s ‘boys’ sit in the bleachers waiting for the dimming fiel High school All-American Neely Crenshaw was probably the best quarterback ever to play for the legendary Messina Spartans.

Bleachers – John Grisham

Audio reviews reflect PW ‘s assessment of the audio adaptation of a book and should be quoted only in reference to the audio version. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. Lists with This Book. October Learn how and when to remove this template message. The road to Rake Field ran beside the school, past the old band hall and the tennis courts, through a tunnel of two perfect rows of red and yellow maples planted and paid for by the boosters, then over a small hill to a lower area covered with enough asphalt for a thousand cars.

I felt the author may have been experimenting – trying a different style of writing. An enjoyable bleeachers for those who love football. The day after Grisham completed A Time to Kill, he began work on another novel, the story of a hotshot young attorney lured to an apparently perfect law firm that was not what it appeared. The steeple on the far left belonged to the Methodist church, and a block behind it, unseen from the bleachers, was a handsome grlsham home the town had given to Eddie Rake on his fiftieth birthday.

Not one of Grisham’s best works. It was a miserable winter, but Messina endured. This was a good book I enjoyed the theme of sports and commodore throughout the town. The college recruiters got passes to a row of chair-backed seats on the fifty, prime seating.