Page by Devaun Swafford
Buy *Bleachers* online
Buy *Bleachers* online

Biography of John Grisham
Devaun Swafford
John Grisham was born on February 8, 1955 in Jonesboro, Arkansas. As a child John dreamed of being a professional baseball player. He began to realize the likely hood in going pro was slim and decided to just go to school where he majored in accounting at the University of Mississippi. He then attended law school at the University of Ole Miss and graduated in 1981. In 1983, he was elected into the state House of Representatives and served until 1990. His famous book The Firm got his on the New York Times bestsellers list and it became the bestselling Novel in the year 1991. Since publishing his first book in 1988 called “A Time to Kill”he has published a book every year after and all of them have become international best sellers. Grisham lives with his wife Renee and his two children Ty and Shea on a farm in Mississippi. In his free time he devotes it to charitable causes and also keeps up with his childhood/greatest passion baseball. He is the local little league baseball commissioner and had six baseball fields built on his property so that he could host the kid’s league teams and watch them play.


Eddie Rake - The legendary head coach at Messina who has been coaching them to victory year by year for the last 34 years. He is dying of cancer and he was fired for causing the death of one of his players because of his harsh conditioning.

Neely Crenshaw – He is the main character in the story and he was one of best players to come from Messina. He had a bright future ahead of him and then he hurt his knee in college and his future faded away. Now he returns to his hometown 15 years later.

Silo Mooney – He is now a local owner of a body shop and on the side he has an illegal chop shop. He was considered one of the most dominant players in Messina in his day.

Paul Curry – Not only another hero on the team but he was Neely’s best friend and favorite Wide Receiver. Now Paul is a banker in Messina because he had to take over his father’s business.


Messina High School had winning football teams under its legendary coach, Eddie Rake for 34 years. There was one streak of four years in a row where they won every game. Neely Crenshaw the former high school all American quarterback at Messina high school was on his way to the NFL when a heart breaking knee injury wiped away his future. Coach Rake is dying of cancer and many of his old players have come back to show their respect and look back on the old days. A few memories stuck out from all the others about coach Rake and that was his mean personality, the horrible language when a player missed a tackle, and the harsh workouts in full pads. Coach Rake was the type of coach who would accept absolutely no excuses for failure. This is the reason he produced winning teams year after year and that made the players into local heroes. All of the former players gathered in small groups in the bleachers of the stadium and just drank a few beers and talked about their current lives and their memories of past success on the football field. They all seem to get the same old memories when they really look back on the past in their football program. They all have certain thing in life that the coach has taught them weather they realize it or not. The town policeman’s certain thing was a brutal experience in Vietnam which he survived only because he had learned from his coach never to give up. Another former player gives credit to coach Rake for giving him the courage to face the obstacles of being openly gay. Silo Mooney is one of those characters you have to have in a book to make it funny he is one of my favorites because he just seems like a cool dude that doesn’t care what people thinks. Neely who was the star football player at Messina had to speak at the coach’s funeral and it was hard for him because of his love hate relationship with him. All of the players hated the coach because of the way he acted. Coach Rake comes off as a coach who doesn’t care about anything but winning. No feelings getting hurt, no parents getting mad, no politics, no anything, just winning! Neely has to forgive coach Rake and himself before he can get on with his life and live happy. He also tries to get his ex girlfriend to forgive him for what he did to her in high school.


I would recommend this book to people who like drama and sports. Football players can really relate to this and maybe have a coach or know a coach out there who is like Coach Rake. I really liked this book because it teaches you to appreciate what you have and don’t want too much. My favorite character in the book was Neely Crenshaw because he was a high school all American and I know that it took hard work to get there. I also know that he has to be a very strong person because he lost his future of being in the NFL. I couldn’t imagine what would happen if that happened to me. Readers will not be disappointed if they read this in fact they might appreciate it and get a life lesson taught to them. It really makes you take a step back and look at your own life and it reminds you that life isn’t all about fame and popularity. Life is about being happy and making the best out of every opportunity that life throws at you. John Grisham is a really good author and is very creative. The main reason I like the book so much was probably because I am a football player myself and can relate to the memories the former players had about the team and the whole football program. If you really want a few pointers about life then you should definitely read John Grisham books. Also it could just bring back memories of when you were in high school and all of the old friends you had and maybe you might want to have a little get together and discuss your old high school memories. If you are the type of reader who is lazy and doesn’t like to read a whole lot this book is not really that long and really keeps you engaged while you are reading it. This might also be a good book for your classroom to read if you are a teacher who is unsure of what to read as a class book. I truly believe that John Grisham is a major sports fan and relates to these books because he was once in high school and had a dream of going pro just like Neely but didn’t have the skill. So when he writes these books I believe that he wrote this book based on what he wanted and maybe placed himself in Neelys shoes and just somehow lived a fantasy through this novel. So my overall review is that this was a very interesting book that I could relate to and will keep you engaged throughout the whole book.

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