Published in 1999, the Tom Gordon in the title was a real pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, and it came out on April 6th that year, opening day for the 1999 Red Sox season. It rose to #1 on the New York Times Best Seller list, and it was King's current book when he was hit by a car that June and almost died. An article that gives great background on this book and King's relationship to it can be found @ http://www.tor.com/2015/07/24/the-great-stephen-king-reread-the-girl-who-loved-tom-gordon/ This 2015 article is written by Grady Hendrix, who is the author of the 2014 novel Horrorstor and the just released My Best Friend's Exorcism.
Description from Publishers Weekly:
"The world had teeth and it could bite you with them anytime it wanted." King's new novel, which begins with that sentence, has teeth, too, and it bites hard. Readers will bite right back. Always one to go for the throat, King crafts a story that concerns not just anyone lost in the Maine-New Hampshire woods, but a plucky nine-year-old girl, and from a broken home, no less. This stacked deck is flush with aces, however. King has always excelled at writing about children, and Trisha McFarland, dressed in jeans and a Red Sox jersey and cap when she wanders off the forest path, away from her mother and brother and toward tremendous danger, is his strongest kid character yet, wholly believable and achingly empathetic in her vulnerability and resourcefulness. Trisha spends nine days (eight nights) in the forest, ravaged by wasps, thirst, hunger, illness, loneliness and terror. Her knapsack with a little food and water helps, but not as much as the Walkman that allows her to listen to Sox games, a crucial link to the outside world. Love of baseball suffuses the novel, from the chapter headings (e.g., "Bottom of the Ninth") to Trisha's reliance, through fevered imagined conversations with him, on (real life) Boston pitcher Tom Gordon and his grace under pressure. King renders the woods as an eerie wonderland, one harboring a something stalking Trisha but also, just perhaps, God: he explicitly explores questions of faith here (as he has before, as in Desperation) but without impeding the rush of the narrative. Despite its brevity, the novel ripples with ideas, striking images, pop culture allusions and recurring themes, plus an unnecessary smattering of scatology. It's classic King, brutal, intensely suspenseful, an exhilarating affirmation of the human spirit.
Pop-up Version of The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon
Audio Version of The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, narrated by Anne Heche