“The world had teeth and it could bite you with them anytime it wanted.”

the-girl-who-loved-tom-gordon-by-stephen-king-L-1mbmQyThe Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon is a psychological thriller that centres around a nine year old girl – Trisha McFarland – that also has a baseball theme to it.

Yes, you heard that right – a BASEBALL theme.

But relax (those of you who don’t know anything about baseball or hate the sport) because aside from the chapter headings, a fictional player called Tom Gordon and a little bit of radio commentary, this novel is just a good old fashioned ‘girl-gets-lost-in-the-woods-story.’

King informs the reader of this fact in the opening paragraph,

“At o’clock on a morning in early July she was sitting in the back seat of her mother’s Dodge Caravan, wearing her Red Sox batting practice jersey (the one with 36 GORDON on the back) and playing with Mona, her doll. At ten thirty she was lost in the woods.” (p.3)

Trisha, who is on a day out with her mother and brother wanders off the main trail in search of a tree to have a pee… Well you know the rest!

NEVER WANDER OFF THE GODDAMN TRAIL!!!

If you’ve ever been in the woods, then you’ll be familiar with the way it can play tricks on the mind. You may think you are walking in a straight line, but in actual fact you’ve just done a 360 and end up where you started. King captures the characteristics of the forest brilliantly.

The Sounds, The Dark Shadows and The Thing that watches from within:

“The dead trees began to look less and less like trees and more and more like gaunt sentinels standing with their gnarled feet in the still black water. Be seeing faces in them again pretty soon, she thought.” (P.136)

As Trisha struggles through the forest, night after night, the lines between reality and tricks of the mind become blurred. In typical King fashion little voices of doubt begin to creep into Trisha’s consciousness:

“It’s a special thing Trisha – the thing that waits for the lost ones. It lets them wander until they’re good and scared -because fear makes them taste better, it sweetens the flesh – and then it comes for them. You’ll see it. It’ll come out of the trees any minute now. A matter of seconds, really. And when you see its face you’ll go insane.” (p.110)

imgresOn her walkman she can listen to the Red Sox commentary, and seek advice from her favourite player Tom Gordon who materialises as part of her imagination.

Or is it? Can Trisha keep her grip on reality long enough to escape the forest?

These are the questions that kept me reading right to the end.

Overall, I really enjoyed  The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon. It’s short with a simple plot and has hardly any characters which makes this an easy read.

Does Trisha make it out? Why not grab a copy, relax, get lost in the woods and find out for yourself.

What did you think of the novel? As always Literature Fiend would love to hear any discussions points, or suggestions for further reading. Please contact us, or leave a comment below, it would be great to hear from you.