Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon
- 264 pages (February 2000)
Pocket Books; ISBN: 0671042858
Trisha McFarland is a plucky 9-year-old hiking with her brother
and mom, who is grimly determined to give the kids a good time on their
weekends together. Trisha's mom is recently divorced, and her brother
is feuding with her for moving from Boston to small-town Maine, where
classmates razz him. Trisha steps off the trail for a pee and a respite
from the bickering. And gets lost.
Trisha's odyssey succeeds on several levels. King renders her consciousness
of increasing peril beautifully, from the "first minnowy flutter of
disquiet" in her guts to her into-the-wild tumbles to her descent into
hallucinations, the nicest being her beloved Red Sox baseball pitcher
Tom Gordon, whose exploits she listens to on her Walkman. The nature
writing is accurate, tense, and sometimes lyrical, from the maddening
whine of the no-see-um mosquito to the profound obbligato of the "Subaudible"
(Trisha's dad's term for nature's intimations of God). Our identification
with Trisha deepens as we learn about her loved ones: Dad, a dreamboat
whose beer habit could sink him; loving but stubborn Mom; Trisha's best
pal, Pepsi Robichaud, vividly evoked by her colorful sayings ("Don't
go all GIRLY on me, McFarland!"). The personal associations triggered
by a full moon, the running monologue with which she stays sane--we
who have been lost in woods will recognize these things.
In King's revealing Amazon.com interview,
he said the one book he wishes he'd written was Lord
of the Flies. When Trisha confronts a vision of buzzing horror
in the middle of the woods, King creates his strongest echo yet of the
central passage of Golding's novel. --Tim Appelo
April 15, 1999
BOOKS OF THE TIMES
'The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon': A Modern Fairy Tale of the Dark North Woods
By CHRISTOPHER LEHMANN-HAUPT
Even if you stay on the Appalachian Trail, things can get plenty scary, as
Bill Bryson makes clear in his recent best seller, "A Walk in the
Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail." But wander
just a little way off of it, and the world can all but come to an
end. Or so it would seem from Trisha McFarland's experience in Stephen
King's frightening new novella, "The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon."[read
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