best tracker Skip to main content

Looking for an exciting new listen for your next road trip or workout session? Look no further than “Bleachers” by renowned author John Grisham. In this audiobook review, we’ll provide an in-depth analysis of Grisham’s tale of high school football, examining everything from the plot to the narration and production quality. Whether you’re a diehard Grisham fan or simply seeking a thrilling sports fiction novel, “Bleachers” is sure to deliver.

Read on for our comprehensive review of the “Bleachers” audiobook, featuring insights and analysis that are sure to inform your listening experience. From the author’s background to audience reception and everything in between, we’ve got you covered. Let’s dive in and take a closer look at what “Bleachers” has to offer.

About the Author – John Grisham

John Grisham is an American author and former lawyer known for his legal thrillers, with over 300 million copies of his books sold worldwide. Born on February 8, 1955, in Jonesboro, Arkansas, Grisham grew up in a family of five siblings, his parents being a construction worker and a homemaker. He obtained a degree in accounting from Mississippi State University before attending law school at the University of Mississippi.

Grisham practiced law for nearly ten years in Southaven, specializing in criminal defense and personal injury litigation, before starting to write novels in the early mornings before work. His first novel, “A Time to Kill,” was rejected by over two dozen publishers before being published in 1989, and eventually adapted into a film in 1996.

His subsequent books, including “The Firm,” “The Pelican Brief,” and “The Runaway Jury,” became bestsellers and launched his career as one of the most successful authors in the world. Over the years, Grisham has experimented with different genres and styles, publishing legal thrillers, non-fiction, and children’s books.

Today, John Grisham is considered a household name, and his works continue to inspire and captivate readers worldwide.

Notable Achievements

Date Award Book
1991 Galaxy British Book Awards The Firm
1991 Mystery Writers of America The Firm
1993 Mystery Writers of America The Pelican Brief
2005 Library of Congress The Broker
2011 Library of Congress Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer

Plot Summary of “Bleachers”

“Bleachers” by John Grisham is a novel that revolves around the death of a legendary high school football coach, Eddie Rake. For years, Rake was a force to be reckoned with, leading his team to numerous state championships. But, as Rake lay dying, his former players gather at the local stadium to pay their respects and relive their glory days.

The story is told through the eyes of Neely Crenshaw, a former quarterback who played under Rake. Neely has a lot of emotional baggage that he must confront, as he questions whether Rake was abusive or inspiring. The other players also have their own struggles to overcome, as they come to terms with the choices they made in life.

As the story unfolds, readers are taken on a journey of self-discovery and forgiveness. The novel delves into themes of regret, redemption, and coming to terms with one’s past. The ending will leave readers contemplating the impact of one’s legacy and the importance of forgiveness.

Grisham’s writing vividly brings to life the world of high school football in a small town and the deep connections that exist between players, coaches, and fans.

Key Plot Elements and Themes

Plot Elements Themes
Death of Coach Eddie Rake Regret
Reunion of former players Forgiveness
Flashbacks to past games Redemption
Exploration of player-coach relationships Legacy

Setting and Characters in “Bleachers”

“Bleachers” by John Grisham is set in the fictional town of Messina, Mississippi, where high school football is king. The book takes place over the course of a few days and centers around the funeral of Eddie Rake, the legendary football coach of Messina High School. As former players return to pay their respects, they reunite and reminisce about their glory days on the football field.

The cast of characters in “Bleachers” is diverse and complex, ranging from former football players to family members of the deceased coach. The main character is Neely Crenshaw, a former star quarterback who returns to Messina for the first time in fifteen years. Neely’s journey serves as a lens through which we experience the other characters and the town itself.

Other notable characters in “Bleachers” include Paul Curry, an arrogant former player who clashes with Neely; Granger Meade, the current coach of Messina High School who struggles to fill Eddie Rake’s shoes; and Miss Lacy, Eddie Rake’s longtime assistant who serves as a link to the coach’s past.

Overall, the setting of “Bleachers” immerses the reader in the world of high school football in the South, and the varied cast of characters provides a dynamic and engaging story that explores themes of loyalty, regret, and the enduring legacy of a great coach.

Narration and Voice Acting

The quality of narration and voice acting can make or break an audiobook, and “Bleachers” is no exception. The audiobook features skilled voice actors who bring the fascinating array of characters to life.

The narrator’s deep, expressive voice draws listeners in immediately, setting the tone for the poignant sports drama that unfolds. Each character has a unique voice and personality that stands out, with the voice actors delivering a masterful performance that captures the nuances of emotion, tension, and conflict in the story.

The powerful narration and voice acting add a layer of depth and complexity to “Bleachers”, elevating it from a good book to a great audiobook. Whether you’re a sports fan or not, the captivating narration and voice acting will keep you engaged from start to finish.

Audiobook Experience – Sound Design and Production

The sound design and production quality of an audiobook can have a significant impact on the overall listening experience. In the case of “Bleachers” audiobook, the attention to details in the sound design and production quality is impressive.

The sound effects throughout the audiobook are well-placed, enhancing the listening experience and immersing the listener into the world of the story. The use of background music at specific points during the audiobook complements the mood and tone of the narrative, adding to the overall atmosphere.

The production quality of “Bleachers” audiobook is top-notch. The audio clarity is excellent, ensuring that every word is clear and distinct. The voice acting performances are exceptional, bringing the characters to life in a way that enhances the listener’s understanding of their personalities and motivations.

Sound Design and Production Quality

Aspect Review
Sound Design Well-placed sound effects
Background Music Complements mood and tone
Audio Clarity Excellent
Voice Acting Exceptional performances

Overall, the sound design and production quality of the “Bleachers” audiobook are impressive, contributing to a more immersive and engaging listening experience.

Pros of Listening to “Bleachers” Audiobook

Experience the best of John Grisham’s writing with the audiobook version of “Bleachers.” Here are the advantages of listening to this novel:

  • Immersion: With the audiobook, you can be completely immersed in the story without any distractions. Listen while commuting, doing household chores, or even while enjoying a relaxing bath.
  • Enhanced Listening: The narration and voice acting in the audiobook bring the characters and the story to life and create a vivid listening experience.
  • Convenient: Audiobooks are easy to carry and can be accessed anytime, anywhere. You don’t need to carry a physical book or an e-reader to enjoy a great story.
  • Multi-Tasking: Listening to an audiobook allows you to multitask in a way that reading a book cannot. You can do other activities while still enjoying the story.

Overall, “Bleachers” audiobook is an excellent way to enjoy John Grisham’s writing and to lose yourself in a thrilling story.

Bleachers audiobook pros

Cons of Listening to “Bleachers” Audiobook

While the “Bleachers” audiobook has several advantages, there are also some potential disadvantages to consider before choosing this format. Here are a few noteworthy cons:

Disadvantages Details
Reduced Control Over Pacing Unlike reading a print book, listening to an audiobook means losing the ability to read at your preferred speed or skim ahead. This may result in a slower or less engaging experience for some listeners.
Less Immersive Experience While the sound design and production quality can enhance the audiobook experience, some listeners may prefer the tactile sensation and visual aspect of reading a print book.
Inability to Easily Refer Back In an audiobook, it can be challenging to locate specific passages or reference earlier parts of the book. This can limit a listener’s ability to revisit specific sections or quotes of interest.

In summary, while the Bleachers audiobook format can be a convenient and engaging way to experience the story, it is not without potential drawbacks. Listeners who value control over pacing, tactile immersion, or the ability to easily reference parts of the book may want to consider the print version instead.

Critical Analysis of “Bleachers” Audiobook

In this section, we will conduct a critical analysis of the “Bleachers” audiobook, examining various elements such as the writing style, pacing, and character development.

Writing Style

The writing style of “Bleachers” is distinguishable by John Grisham’s signature descriptive narration, which intricately weaves together the on-field action and off-field drama, invoking a sense of excitement and intensity throughout the book. Additionally, Grisham effectively uses dialogue to reveal characters’ personalities, motivations, and conflicts.

However, some critics argue that Grisham’s prose style can be overly simplistic at times, lacking the lyrical quality of literary fiction.


The pacing in “Bleachers” is a mix of fast and slow, especially during the games, where Grisham aptly increases the tension and emotional stakes for the characters. Nonetheless, some readers may find the pacing to be inconsistent, particularly when transitioning between present and past events.

Character Development

John Grisham portrays various characters in “Bleachers,” each with their unique backstory, strengths, and flaws. However, the character development is somewhat limited, with some characters remaining underdeveloped despite having compelling narratives. This may leave some readers feeling unsatisfied with the overall characterization.

In conclusion, the “Bleachers” audiobook is a well-crafted sports fiction novel that keeps the listener engaged with its exciting plot and vivid imagery. However, some elements like writing style, pacing, and character development may fall short for some listeners.

Audience Reception and Reviews

Since its release, the “Bleachers” audiobook has garnered mixed reviews from listeners. While some praise the engaging narrative and expertly-crafted characters, others criticize the slow pacing and lack of suspense.

According to The New York Times, “Grisham’s ability to weave a compelling story shines through in this audiobook rendition, with dynamic voice acting that brings the characters to life.” However, Publishers Weekly found the audiobook to be “slow-moving, with a lack of tension that renders the climactic moments anticlimactic.”

On Goodreads, the “Bleachers” audiobook has received an average rating of 3.5 stars out of 5. Some listeners praise the emotional depth of the story and the nostalgia of returning to the high school football field, while others criticize the repetitive dialogue and lack of character development.

Overall, the audience reception to the “Bleachers” audiobook has been mixed, with some finding it a captivating and emotional sports drama and others finding it lacking in suspense and pacing.

Comparing the Audiobook to the Print Version

For fans of John Grisham, “Bleachers” is a quintessential sports novel that has been widely praised for its evocative storytelling. However, readers may wonder whether they should choose the print version or the audiobook. Here’s a comparison of the two versions to help readers decide:

Bleachers Audiobook Bleachers Print Version
Audience The audiobook is an excellent choice for those who are always on the move and prefer to consume content while commuting, exercising, or doing household chores. The print version is ideal for readers who enjoy turning pages and immersing themselves in the physical sensation of a good book.
Performance The “Bleachers” audiobook is narrated by a professional voice actor who brings the characters to life with vivid accents and intonations. This format creates a multi-sensory experience that enlivens the story and heightens suspense. The print version offers more freedom for readers to imagine the characters and events in their own unique way. This can be advantageous for those who prefer to form their own interpretations of the story.
Convenience The “Bleachers” audiobook is highly convenient, as it can be easily accessed on a smartphone or tablet. Listeners can pause, rewind, and fast forward as needed, and the audiobook resumes from where they left off. The print version is less convenient for readers who need to carry a book around with them, especially if they are traveling or have limited storage space.
Engagement Audiobooks can sometimes be more engaging than print books for people who struggle with reading comprehension or have a preference for oral communication. The “Bleachers” audiobook may be an excellent option for these individuals. The print version allows readers to engage with the text on a deeper level by highlighting or underlining passages, making annotations, or flipping back and forth between pages.

In conclusion, the decision of whether to choose the audiobook or print version of “Bleachers” by John Grisham largely depends on personal preference and lifestyle needs. Those who place a high value on convenience, performances, and multi-sensory experiences may prefer the audiobook. Readers who enjoy engaging with the text at their own pace, forming their own interpretations, and having a physical copy may prefer the print version.

Similar Audiobooks by John Grisham

If you enjoyed “Bleachers” by John Grisham, you’ll be delighted to know that the author has an extensive collection of audiobooks that span various genres and themes.

One of his most famous works is “The Firm,” which is a legal thriller featuring an ambitious young lawyer caught up in a dangerous game of corporate espionage.

Another fascinating audiobook by John Grisham is “The Reckoning,” a historical legal thriller set in the aftermath of World War II, exploring themes of redemption, vengeance, and forgiveness.

If you prefer sports-themed novels, you may also enjoy “Calico Joe,” which tells the story of a young baseball player embroiled in a controversial incident that leads to lifelong consequences.

Whichever audiobook you choose, John Grisham never fails to deliver engrossing stories, memorable characters, and thought-provoking insights that keep you on the edge of your seat.

Impact and Legacy of “Bleachers”

The “Bleachers” audiobook has left a significant impact on the sports fiction genre, becoming a beloved classic that is still enjoyed by readers and listeners today. Its legacy lies mainly in Grisham’s unique ability to transcend the boundaries of both literary and genre writing, seamlessly weaving together themes of human emotion, strategy, competition, triumph, and despair.

The audiobook’s relevance is not just limited to sports fans, but to anyone who can appreciate a compelling and poignant story. With its engaging characters, lively narration, and excellent sound design, it has earned a rightful place among the top audiobooks of all time.

What sets “Bleachers” apart is its treatment of complex human characters and relationships within the context of sports. The novel’s focus on the town’s former legendary football coach, Eddie Rake, and his impact on the players he coached and the broader community, is not only a gripping story but also highlights the author’s incredible talent in creating memorable characters that resonate with readers long after the book is finished.

This focus on character development fused with Grisham’s talent in employing literary techniques such as narrative structure, imagery, and symbolism, has established “Bleachers” as a permanent fixture in the sports fiction genre, inspiring new writers and readers alike to appreciate and explore the human drama behind the game.

Bleachers audiobook legacy

The enduring legacy of “Bleachers” is evident from its numerous positive reviews and widespread popularity, leading the book to be translated into different languages, released in multiple formats, and adapted into film, stage plays, and podcasts. Its influence has transcended borders and cultures, cementing its place as a timeless classic in the literary world.

Audiobook Availability and Purchase Options

The “Bleachers” audiobook by John Grisham is available for purchase online and in select bookstores. It can also be found on various audiobook platforms, including Audible and Scribd.

Listeners can purchase the audiobook version of “Bleachers” on Amazon or directly from the publisher, Penguin Random House. The audiobook is available in CD format or as a digital download.

The audiobook edition of “Bleachers” is ideal for sports fans who enjoy listening to immersive storytelling with compelling narration. The audio format allows listeners to experience the story of “Bleachers” in a unique and engaging way.


Overall, the “Bleachers” audiobook by John Grisham is a highly engaging and compelling listening experience that fans of sports fiction and legal thrillers will thoroughly enjoy. Grisham’s impeccable writing style, combined with excellent narration, makes for a seamless and immersive experience.

The richly detailed world-building brings the setting and characters to life, while the pacing keeps listeners on the edge of their seats. The sound design and production quality add an extra layer of depth and immersion, making for an all-around enjoyable experience.

While there are some potential drawbacks to choosing the audiobook format, such as missing out on the visual elements of the print version and a lack of personalization, the benefits far outweigh them.

Overall, we highly recommend “Bleachers” as an audiobook experience, whether you’re a fan of John Grisham or looking for an engaging and exciting sports fiction audiobook to dive into.

Leave a Reply