Book Review: The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King
The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon is a short novel written by Stephen King.
The story follows a 9 year old girl who finds herself lost in the woods after straying from her arguing mother and brother to pee. She continues to wander around the woods for nine days, trying to find her way out. On the way she encounters mosquitoes, wasps, snakes, swamps and lack of food and water. She begins hallucinating and talk to her hero, baseball player Tom Gordon, for company. When she finally finds her way out of the thick woods she is helped by a farmer after warding off a bear with her Walkman and his rifle, and she wakes up, after passing out, to find that she in a hospital bed surrounded by her family.
The version of this book that I have is 217 pages long. It took me around 3 days to read as I made sure to pace myself. I was also reading other books for university, and I didn't want to get each storyline confused. I have heard of people reading this book in 12 hours, but I'm not sure how true that is.
The book is very well written, as are all of his books (in my opinion). I loved the way that this one was less fictitious than his others normally are. It really got to me as it is not difficult to imagine yourself lost in the woods and feeling terrified when the night sets in. It is a much more believable storyline than that of Pet Semetery or The Shining, for example.
I also found myself really liking Trisha, the main character. She was complex and clearly had a lot of thought put into her. However I feel that for 9 she is described as extremely (and maybe a little too) mature for her age. When I was 9 I couldn't even cook myself pasta, let alone navigate myself through thick forest, catch fish with a raincoat hood or distinguish North from South. For all the characters' realness, this let it down. To me it just seemed too unrealistic for a 9 year old town girl to know how to survive more than a week in the middle of the woods.
However, as I said, the settings, scenes and storyline were all very realistic and believable, and it was these things that scared me the most. I couldn't stop reading once I had gotten 20 pages in.
There are a few things that I didn't like though, and the ending is most of them. Throughout the book, the unnamed narrator tells us that Trisha feels like something is watching her. Then they tell us that she is in fact being watched, and its not just a feeling. The suspense to find out what it is that is watching her had me completely hooked. And then you find out.
Despite my intense love for Stephen Kings work, he let me down here. The ending was completely predictable, the 'thing' was incredibly boring, and the whole book became tainted for me. I had followed this girl around a wood, cared about her, and wondered what awful thing could possibly be waiting for her and wanting to harm her. I had guessed very early on that the sensible thing for it to be was a bear of some sort, but this is Stephen King. He doesn't even know what a bear is, right? He is ghouls and vampires.
Now, I know Stephen King fans may read this and think that I should be burned at the stake for this. But hear me out. I am a massive fan, and I did thoroughly enjoyed this book.The problem that I had though, is that, lets be real, nothing really happens. We go through the whole book and about the most interesting thing that happens is when she hallucinates some scary looking priests and falls in her own shit. When I was nearing the end I was preparing myself for anything. Maybe some tragic ending where searchers are just minutes too late to save her, or some crazy phantom pops up and takes her as one of his minions. Yet none of this happened. She got out alive, and I must say I was relieved, but the majority of me wanted a much more exciting ending.
Overall I would rate this book 3/5, simply because I know he has much better work out there. And would I recommend this to a friend? Not before they have read some of his other books.
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