The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon

Stephen King
The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon Cover

The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon


Baseball metaphors and survival skills combine in this story of a nine year old who is "big for her age." It has been described as a psychological horror book, but it is really a confrontation with the self and the scary things in our own heads - or are they?

I liked the main character, though she seemed way more capable than nine-year-olds I have known. The story is believable, with some fantastic elements. The baseball metaphors may require some explaining - Tom Gordon was the "closer" for the Red Sox, and would come in late in the game to "save" the win. So in this book, the girl who loves Tom Gordon is looking for the "save" - in this case of her own life. All of these elements combine into a smash ending (the chapter is labeled "bottom of the ninth") which satisfies.

It has been said that King was angling towards "Lord of the Flies" with this novel, but to me it felt more like "The Old Man and the Sea". A lot of King fans were likely disappointed, because what horror is here is subtle, or perhaps non-existent. What we learn of the main character is first person train-of-thought, but this reverie is broken at times to describe what was going on the in real world - the hunt for a kidnapper, etc. Would it have been better without, or would fans have been screaming about no way the search would find nothing after a week?

So, I liked it, but I didn't love it. It was more than just OK, but quite a bit short of stellar. The writing is good, the survival stuff is accurate and the baseball is apt, but some spark was lacking.