The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King

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The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King is the story of a girl who is lost in the woods and the only solace she can find is in radio broadcasts of her favorite baseball team’s games. In essence it is the story of loneliness, bordering on despair. It is a fictional, yet all too real look at how stress and loneliness can come to mimic insanity. It is made all the more poignant by the fact that the main character, who the reader is following through her descent through hope into near madness, is only nine years old.

The Girl Who Loved Tome Gordon opens with the line “The world had teeth and can bite you with them anytime it wanted.” This is an excellent metaphor for the situation young Trisha McFarland finds herself in. Trisha, her brother, Pete and her mother, Quilla are on their way to go hiking at the start of the story. Trisha is feeling alone in the world and is saddened by her parent’s divorce a year earlier. Her brother and mother are fighting constantly, so Trisha slips off into daydreams of her favorite player, Tom Gordon, to escape the negativity.

The family arrives at their destination and the petty bickering continues. As they walk through the woods of western Maine, Trisha formulates a plan to scare her brother and mother and get the attention she is obviously craving. She decides to step off the trail to relieve herself, while the pair is not paying attention. Her plan backfires and she finds herself lost in the deep woods of Maine in June.

As The Girl Who Loved Tome Gordon unfolds, the reader follows a young girl’s desperate attempt to survive on her own in the wilderness. She must find her own food, water and places to sleep, all the while searching in vain for a sign of civilization. At night she listens to the Red Sox baseball games and allows her imagination to carry her out of the terrifying situation in which she has found herself.

During all of this, Trisha begins to imagine that there is something stalking her, something big and ferocious that means her harm. Her stamina and health begin to decline rapidly as she is forced to eat what she can find in the woods and she slowly gets sicker and sicker, in mind and body. Eventually though, she is found on a road, just as she begins a face off with a large bear, that she perceives is the evil entity that has been stalking her. She returns home to her family, very sick but alive.

The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon is one of Stephen King’s scariest novels, because the scenario that little Trisha finds herself in is all too real for some children. It is indeed a parent’s nightmare on paper. You will hear many people say that The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon was not really horror, but those of you who have children will say otherwise.

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