The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon is everything you don’t want to happen on a family hike in the woods. The story opens with Trisha explaining her parent’s divorce and the following family outings her mother plans to keep her and her children close. Through Trisha’s eyes this plan doesn’t seem to be working very well. Pete and their mother constantly bicker back and forth about every situation and it makes their trips together more painful than enjoyable.
The same thing is happening on their currently family hike. The entire trip has the background noise of family arguments and Trisha decides to fall back behind them to avoid the arguing. It is here she makes her first mistake; she walks off of the path for a bathroom break. After she has taken care of business she decides to walk through a patch of woods that she is positive lead straight to another branch of the path they are walking on but she is wrong. She wonders the woods with a small lunch trying but failing miserably to find her family. Luckily, she pulls out her Walkman in her loneliest moments to listen to the baseball games of her favorite player, Tom Gordon.
Trisha conserves what little food she has and eats what she knows is safe in the woods. By this time Trisha’s family is back at their car and notifying the police of the situation. Trisha curls up for the night but the combination of her current circumstances causes her to hallucinate. There are strange supernatural events occurring around her and something is waiting on the outskirts of her vision to come and get her. As hours pass into days she begins to see people that she knows walking with her and her hero, Tom Gordon, makes appearances to her. Eventually she believes that it is the “God of the Lost” who has been slowly hunting her down. At the end of the novel she comes across a road and is confronted by a bear who she believes to be the god of the lost. According to Trisha his mouth is swarming with bees and moving strangely. She realizes that she is in the bottom of the ninth inning and must close the game, like Tom Gordon, if she is to survive. She faces off with the bear and a hunter kills it. Trisha collapses and awakes in the hospital the next day ridden with pneumonia and surrounded by her family.
The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon is another psychological horror novel from the mind of Stephen King. As always his writing is great and his metaphors are even greater. King understood how to write a younger protagonist in the woods and made her survival knowledge believable. I am always drawn in to King’s creepy characters and Trisha’s hallucinations are no different. He plays on inner fears and knows what the mind can make up when it is left alone for an extended period of time. The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon was a fantastic read and would be a great introduction to Stephen King’s brand of horror since it has a happy ending. I recommend it to anyone interested in the scarier side of life.