Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King

Stephen King's tale of a 9-year-old girl who gets lost in the woods in New England while hiking with her mother and brother works beautifully in audio. Trisha has a portable radio with her and draws comfort from listening to Red Sox games in the evenings. In the Recorded Books unabridged edition (6 hours), narrator Anne Heche uses some sort of voice modulation to imitate the sound of radio play-by-play announcers.

Trisha's hero, pitcher Tom Gordon, becomes a sort of psychic helper and guide. The presence of a frightening creature stalking nearby keeps the suspense wound fairly tight. Heche's narration manages to shift with young Trisha's moods as she struggles to survive, reflecting silliness, awe, weariness, anger and fear. King loads the bases with a memorable, sympathetic heroine, a vivid wilderness setting, and a gripping adventure story. Add the audiobook format and it adds up to a grand slam home run suitable for family listening, from Grade 4 up.

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