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Sooley Hardcover – 1 January 1900
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"Hard to put down ... the pages turn quickly ... building to a climax that won't leave readers doubting whether this is a John Grisham novel." --Associated Press
In the summer of his seventeenth year, Samuel Sooleymon gets the chance of a lifetime: a trip to the United States with his South Sudanese teammates to play in a showcase basketball tournament. He has never been away from home, nor has he ever been on an airplane. The opportunity to be scouted by dozens of college coaches is a dream come true.
Samuel is an amazing athlete, with speed, quickness, and an astonishing vertical leap. The rest of his game, though, needs work, and the American coaches are less than impressed.
During the tournament, Samuel receives devastating news from home: A civil war is raging across South Sudan, and rebel troops have ransacked his village. His father is dead, his sister is missing, and his mother and two younger brothers are in a refugee camp.
Samuel desperately wants to go home, but it's just not possible. Partly out of sympathy, the coach of North Carolina Central offers him a scholarship. Samuel moves to Durham, enrolls in classes, joins the team, and prepares to sit out his freshman season. There is plenty of more mature talent and he isn't immediately needed.
But Samuel has something no other player has: a fierce determination to succeed so he can bring his family to America. He works tirelessly on his game, shooting baskets every morning at dawn by himself in the gym, and soon he's dominating everyone in practice. With the Central team losing and suffering injury after injury, Sooley, as he is nicknamed, is called off the bench. And the legend begins.
But how far can Sooley take his team? And will success allow him to save his family?
Gripping and moving, Sooley showcases John Grisham's unparalleled storytelling powers in a whole new light. This is Grisham at the top of his game.
An intensely moving story, told with the same eye for character and descriptive detail Grisham brings to his crime novels. His occasional forays into general fiction are usually interesting, but this one is considerably more than that. It's skillfully written, with a deeply compelling central character and a story that is full of raw emotion and suspense.
About the Author
- Publisher : Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group (1 January 1900)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 368 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0385547684
- ISBN-13 : 978-0385547680
- Dimensions : 16.1 x 3.4 x 24.1 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 303,580 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Top reviews from Australia
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Sooley is from the Sudan and is chosen to go to America to play basketball. So far so good - a feel-good rags to riches story told, one presumes, by a master story teller. Not the case at all. The incessant detailing of the minutiae of Sooley's life bored me witless. What he ate, what he drank, what he wore, the interminable games of basketball he played and how he played them, the routines he followed day after day. It was like reading someone's diary but someone whose life is as interesting as warm buttered toast. But I kept going - on and on in the hope the story would improve.
Sooley is picked for the draft and all is wonderful - until it's not. I won't ruin it for all the readers who are waiting with bated breath for the denoument but I will say this - you won't believe your eyes. I didn't. I felt cheated to put it bluntly and could hear Grisham chuckling into his bank account as his legion of followers spend good money on this latest effort, to their detriment and chagrin. Nothing worse than an author who takes his devotees for a ride and not in a good way.
Now, I do not really understand most basketball terms, but I found my way through this book, and felt the excitement as Sooley began to fire, and The Eagles started to win. It was quite a ride!
It was interesting to mirror the sport with happenings in Uganda on a regular basis, and to keep up with Sooley’s family, and their fight to survive in horrible circumstances. I was reading only yesterday about terrible things happening in Northern Ethiopia right now, and this sounds much like the fighting and horror in South Sudan early in the story. When will the world learn?
Sooley’s death came as a complete surprise, and there was no explanation as to why Jackie gave him four pills, or why he took three. I do think that there is an obligation on clubs and competitions to help young superstars to cope with fame and fortune to prevent them from crashing and burning - the idea of being invincible!
A nice ending, freeing Beatrice and the boys from the camp, and providing them with new lives, new hope, and a future!
Thank you John. I really enjoyed your book!
Lesson learned : do not assume that an author will continue in the same vein…….and read a synopsis/review before purchasing next time!
I wish the Sudanese issues, the refugee situation, Sooley’s life on campus, the college to pro transition, the immigration procedures to name just some of other plots had received a little more attention.
A wasted opportunity…
Top reviews from other countries
Now, with 'Sooley' ,John Grisham appears to have written the second most tedious book he has ever produced. A totally incomprehensible novel,(to non-basketball fans, at least) taken up with detailed narrative about the basketball matches that the eponymous central character plays in.
As a long-time John Grisham fan, I found this book extremely disappointing, and not of the usual standard that we have come to expect from this author. Unusually for me, seventy-three pages in, I found the book so mind-numbingly boring, I threw it in the bin. Stick to courtroom thrillers in future, Mr Grisham!!!!!!!!!!
I buy Grisham for fantastic thrillers about people and the law. I'm guessing that he's either climbed onboard the woke bandwagon or decided that's where the money lies. If he wants to write this type of novel he could at least use a pseudonym - or make it very clear that he has abandoned the genre that made his name.
Unless you're a hard core basketball fan with a desire to understand the implications of a vicious ethnic conflict DO NOT BUY THIS BOOK.