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Publisher's Summary

High school all-American Neely Crenshaw was probably the best quarterback ever to play for the legendary Messina Spartans. Fifteen years have gone by since those glory days, and Neely has come home to Messina to bury Coach Eddie Rake, the man who molded the Spartans into an unbeatable football dynasty.

Now, as Coach Rake's "boys" sit in the bleachers waiting for the dimming field lights to signal his passing, they replay the old games, relive the old glories, and try to decide once and for all whether they love Eddie Rake – or hate him. For Neely Crenshaw, a man who must finally forgive his coach - and himself - before he can get on with his life, the stakes are especially high.

©2003 Belfry Holdings, Inc (P)2003 Random House, Inc. Random House Audio, A Division of Random House, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"[Grisham]'s a sure-footed story-teller with an undeniable mastery of plotting, pacing and tone." (The New York Times Book Review)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall
  • Patti
  • Chittenango, NY, United States
  • 09-14-03

Great listen!

I didn't want to stop whatever I was doing while listening to this story! John Grisham turns his talents to a football coach and his players rather than lawyers. It was a marvelous tale and will be appreciated by all, but especially those who have involvement in high school psorts.

44 of 47 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Engrossing story

I don't like sports. I don't like football, especially. I think people who are "stuck" in their high school or college years are silly and immature. doesn't matter here. The story isn't just about football or sports or guys revisiting their youth. It's much more than that and the story of how one single man could influence the lives of so many was mesmerizing. Another wonderful story from John Grisham. The only negative was the narrator....John himself. He should leave the reading of the story up to a professional who can act, more or less. John reads in a very monotone like style and it made telling who was "speaking" in the story very difficult to figure out and it tended to tone down the emotion of the story too much. But a good story inspite of the reader.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Where is the Lawyer?

I loved it!! I loved it, not because the lawyer was missing but because it is such a great story and because the author read it so well. My son hopes to be a high school history teach and coach soccer. What a noble ambition. I called him up and told him he needs to read this book. I think I?ll read it again. I rarely read books twice.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • John
  • safety harbor, FL, USA
  • 11-27-03

Ex-High School football players MUST READ!

If you ended your high school football career in a town that cared more about the football coach than the mayor....this is a story is a must. This story gives you the double enjoyment of a great story and a stroll down memory lane. I loved it!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Nancy
  • Northbrook, IL, USA
  • 11-03-03

Grisham excels!

I didn't expect to enjoy this book so much. I enjoy football, but this was so much more than just a sports story. I ended the book in tears. John Grisham is a wonderful writer of court room drama and suspense, but he is so much more and he has proved it by his Painted House and Bleachers!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • J
  • Bosque Farms, NM, United States
  • 02-25-09

Bleachers by John Grisham

This audio/book has no beginning and no end. It does not have a significant plot. I just wonder what Mr. Grisham had in mind when he wrote this book. Very very badly written book. I am very disappointed. I also think that Mr. Grisham should not read his own books. This may have been a problem with the audio itself. It is very hard for me to keep my review in the guidelines because I did, to my chagrin, spend the dollars to hear/read this book. In the future I will be more careful when selecting one of his novels. The hate love with the coach was never developed in the book. He should have spent a good deal more time in defining his hero/antihero approach. I can only give this book a one star for the effort of writing it. I can only support my claims by the total number of books I have purchased in the past several years. This is the worst of all of them.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • CH
  • 08-14-04

Not Much Of A Story

This really didn't have much 'meat' to it... I guess from the length (4hours) I should have guessed. Not his best work. I'd pass on it if I knew then what I know now.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Deep with something I couldn't find

Bleachers was enjoyable and I could relate to some of the small-town ramblings but overall, it left me not wanting to hear it again. It's worth the time - but not twice.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall


an unfortunately boring work, made less enjoyable by the author's naration which made all characters indistinguishable.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

A walk down memory lane

Even though I never got involved in high school sports, I was entranced by this tale of this All-American quarterback coming home to face his fondest memories and worst nightmares. John Grisham really makes you feel like you knew Coach Rake and are there on the bleachers in this small town. It was certainly not my favorite Grisham novel, but I thoroughly enjoyed it nonetheless.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful