Written By: John Grisham

Narrated By: John Grisham

Date: September 2003

Duration: 4 hours 19 minutes


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.


  • Anonymous

    The narrator was terrible. The story was not even good. I can't believe that John Grisham wrote this book!

  • Betty

    I like Grisham, but I don't like him reading his on book. It was a slow beginning, but I did like the ending.

  • Anonymous

    when Simply AudioBooks sent me this book as a starter to my subscription, i was surprised and did not have very high hopes of the book. I must admit after reading/listening to it, that it was compelling & very interesting, but i thought the ending was somewhat less than fulfilling.

  • Barbara

    Bleacher was a very good book. I would recommend this book to all of my friends.

  • Cammi

    I think many athletes can relate to this tale of remembering a rough around the edges coach that has a place in your heart. For me it was my rowing coach in college - a bear of a man known across the country for his brisque mannerisms and volatile reputation. I tear up now just thinking of what life will be like without Coach. This story reminds us that through the good and bad, everyone remembers their own version, you still cherish and dont want to disappoint "Coach."

  • jay salinger

    This book was short and sweet. Not your average Grisham. It was mostly a story about a bunch of characters with a little glue to make a nice story. Even at only 4 discs, it was a deep and complete story. I highly recommend it.

  • Anonymous

    This book brought me back to school. What a great book, everyone has teachers and friends that they think of when they think of high school What a great story. If you attended high school, you will love this book~~

  • Anonymous

    This book is a serious departure for Grisham's normal style. To listen to it, the book sounds more like a short story. There is a lot of football references (and even the full recount of a game at one point) so to enjoy football would help you enjoy the book. Still, the emotional ride the lead character takes you on is honest and meaningful - and a redeeming factor for those not crazy about football.

  • Patricia Smith

    Boring. Weak suspense and plot. Unable to keep all of the names straight.

  • Sandy Cooper

    Unless your really into small town football - do not read this book. Very slow. I could not get past the first CD, and there are only 4 or 5 of them.

  • Anonymous

    I didnt think this book was ever going to end. Very slow. I did appreciate the last chapter. It took the whole book to understand the meaning behind it. Overall, I would not recommend this to anyone to read. Too drawn out to get to the point.

  • Ellen Burnett

    Bleachers was narrow and two dimensional with an eye to a screen play rather than a short story or novel. Good idea but poorly executed. The mystique of high school football in the south is a compelling topic and Grisham only scratches the surface.

  • Anonymous

    Very slow paced, but kept me interested thoroughout. Kind of makes you long for the good old school days. I really enjoyed this one. Wish it was a little longer. The end just kind of drifted off, but it was still an entertaining book to me.

  • Elizabeth Manuge

    this book was hard to get into i found. i listened for several chapters before i understood what the author was trying to say. it was not the usual grisham theme, but rather interesting reflections of various ballplayers at the time of the death of their coach. these players either revered or despised this coach. their various experiences with him were described, one by one as it were, until all were put together at the time of the coach's funeral. i was impressed by grisham's usual excellent writing, but disappointed that this was not a murder mystery with a few court scenes, the sort of book he writes so well.

  • Anonymous

    This was one of the most boring books I have listened too. Even though the unabridged version was only 4 cds, I wanted to stop listening around disk 2. Too much football and not enough emotion!

  • Joshua Buche

    Slow and boring. Don't waste a rental on this one. I usually like anything Grisham, but I couldn't get into this one.

  • Paula Gutierrez

    This book was heart-warming yet engaging at the same time. Eddie Rake was a complex character and the reminiscing about his "career" through the eyes of his players was memorable.

  • Miss Lil

    I returned the book before I completed it. I can't say that I enjoyed the book. It really started out extremely slow so I became bored with the pace and the story line.

  • Anonymous

    Boo hoo! "I had the meanest coach in the history of high school" That is not new ,nor is this novel - skip it

  • Teresa Martin

    very enjoyable. I would recommend this read to everyone.

  • Anonymous

    I'm not a huge sports fan but I really enjoyed this book. Its not John Grisham's usual flavour, but nevertheless still well written and captivating.

  • Anonymous

    While different from most of Grisham's books, I enjoyed the story, which captures much of the small town sense of pride and its slowness to change. Entertaining read while driving.

  • Jennifer Coffey

    This was a nice, inspirational book. I kept waiting for some big dramatic scandal, affair, or a murder, which kept me intrigued but, in the end it was just a feel good story. I am not a sports fan, but you don't have to be to enjoy the story.

  • Anonymous

    To be the sort of story this was, it was Great!!!! It lets you sort of know what it is to be a high school football player and how much people put you on a pedistool and you cannot live up to it. I really enjoyed this story.

  • Anonymous

    If you have played tremendously competitive high school or college sports, this is an excellent listen ... otherwise, forget it.

  • Anonymous

    I did not care for this book at all. I listened to the first two (out of three) discs and I am so bored, I am going to return the discs with the third disc never having been heard. I am a huge John Grisham fan but Bleachers was just plain disappointing.

  • Barbara Berg

    This is a great story for anyone who has played football in their high school years. The shared experiences the main characters have with their varied years playing for their coach show that the comradarie and experiences during their formative years in high school will last a lifetime.

  • Christine Beck

    Much too long to get to the heart of the matter. Boring.

  • Lee Huffman

    This is a book men will realy enjoy, especially if you played High School sports. This is a story of unresolved issues between a coach and his players. I thought it was one of the best narrated book I have ever listened to.

  • Anonymous

    This is more of a guy book, I'm glad it wasn't a long.

  • Tymara McGill

    Really liked it. My son who just turned 22 never reads but he listened to this one and loved it. A totally different Grisham so if you like his other stuff you may not like this. Keep an open mind and stroll down memory lane

  • T. Lyde

    Boring, Boring, Boring, Boring, Boring, Boring, Boring, Boring!

  • Anonymous

    Not a typical Grisham...a weak story about high school star athletes, who never let the "championship" story go. The dialogue got difficult to listen to, and the story was very predictable...

  • Hope Spicer

    If you like John Grisham that would be the only reason to read this book. it was very slow and really boring the only reason I finished it was because I read all of Mr. Grisham's books no matter what because that is what a fan does but if I was to be honest it bored me to tears

  • Tom Townsend

    This book exposes a side of Grisham not seen in his usually law theme novels. However, the book was very well written and the narrator does an excellent job with the various character voices. Very entertaining!

  • Anonymous

    Enjoy it. The book was well written and non-predictable; however, it was rather slow.

  • Shane Littlefield

    Very good... but short trip down memory lane, wished it was longer and more in depth.

  • Peg Longano

    I enjoyed this book from cover to cover - couldn't put it down.

  • Anonymous

    slow, a trip back to high school. it was ok but not a page turner

  • Cheryl Pope

    Bleachers was a bit different for Grisham. No lawyers, no legal situations, just nostalgia from high school years. If was very refreshing reading and he's a brilliant writer so I suspect any of his work will be very well written. I enjoyed it very much.

  • Susan Frass

    did not even get into it at all...sent it back without listening to even one whole disc

  • Kay McKay

    I have always liked Grisham but this one was nothing but boring. I kept waiting for a little ....something to happen but it never did.

  • Catherine Painkin

    I have read many books by John Grisham in the past, so I thought this would be a safe selection. Boy, was I wrong. I only listened to the first 2 discs and then sent it back. I'm glad I didn't have an accident while driving, I was so bored by this book. Nothing happened after 2 discs, so I figured it wasn't worth listening any more.

  • Anonymous

    I love Grisham... but he should never be allowed to write this kind of book ever again. He should do the smart thing and stick to what he does well - writing legal thrillers. It's obvious that Grisham gave in to a moment of self-indulgance when he decided to write this - he clearly loves the South and loves football - but this book just doesn't work. It drags on and on, and you never find yourself starting to care about any of the characters, or ever care about what's going to happen. The only thing you seem to care about is when is it going to end. And one more thing that Grisham should NEVER be allowed to do.... narrate one of his books. His mumbling, expressionless drawl makes the whole experience even more unbearable.

  • Carmen

    It's true what others say, you must like football to listen to this book. It was just okay for me. I was surprised that Grisham wrote this - not his typical stuff. Not really much of a plot existed. It wasn't horrible, but I could have lived without reading this one.

  • Anonymous

    The only other book of John Grisham's that I have read that wasn't his "norm" was Skipping Christmas...which I loved. This was so boring that I quit less than half way through the tape...and I am a fan of football. It just wasn't worth my time.

  • William Morgan

    This was a really good book. I've enjoyed several Grisham novels and this was not typical, but the story kept my interest. It is a good one!

  • Simon Watson

    If you like football you should enjoy it, if you don't then I would avoid it, I got half way through it and it started to drag..

  • Anonymous

    A very different Grisham book, but enjoyable. It is a small story, but written (and told) with elegance. I wish there had been more to it, but it's a short book. Won't win any awards, but won't be a waste of your time, either. The narrarator does a good job.

  • Tami Whalen

    I enjoyed this story much more than I thought I would. Grisham really took the time to create characters that had substance. I felt like I knew these boys myself. He also did a wonderful job of narrating the story, his voice and accent appropriate for the main character. I know very little about football and frankly care very little about it as well. Through Grisham's storytelling, however, I learned a few things and found myself indentifing with these characters.

  • Kimberly B

    I'd like to begin by saying that normally I'm a huge John Grisham fan. BUT.... Having said that I will also say that this book was one of the biggest yawns I have ever endured. Even the most enthusiastic sports fan would have a hard time staying interested in this long and drawn out, going no where story. I can only hope that in the future he will continue to write about the things that people like to make movies about.

  • Anonymous

    I didn't know what to expect with a non-law based book of Grisham, but I was pleasantly suprised.

  • Charles Holland

    Everyone has a Coach Eddie Rake in their lives. This book is more about life, personal heroes, and forgiveness than football. The story of the comeback with applause, crowd noise, the radio-quality of the announcers voice brought it to life. I felt like I was in the game. This is what an audiobook is all about and I'm glad to see authors doing more than reading the book. Highly recommend for any audience.

  • Walter Stephens

    I thought the book was a little hard to follow, a little different from the usual John Grisham style.

  • Anonymous

    I listened to it all - although it was a struggle. You're waiting for something to happen, but it never gets there. Depressing and Ho Hum.

  • Juli Bedgood

    I think John Grisham should stick with his legal expertise and write about what he knows. Not one of his better written books.

  • DLCT

    Not a typical Grisham story by any means but if you like small towns and high school football stories, male bonding, contemplation of the meaning of how the people in our past affect us and tales of former heroes learning to live the life of an ordinary mortal, this is for you. I loved it! I also adored Grisham, the author's narration. Thank you to John Grisham for a touching, tender tale with a lot of great football moments.

  • Anonymous

    Not the usual Grisham style. A waste of listening time. I never made it past the 2nd CD.

  • Anonymous

    This story has been told too many times. I grew up in the south where highschool football is life (maybe it is in the north as well) but I get so tired of hearing this same story of some sap who can't move on with is life because he was SO GREAT but didn't make it because someone played dirty and there's always the coach who everyone hated but loved because the team would have sucked with out him.... blah blah blah. Can't believe I actually listened to the entire book. It gets a 2 just because I didn't eject it before completing.

  • Anonymous

    I really enjoyed this book. But be prepared that it isn't a typical Grisham novel. I think that the characters can be related to people in all of our lives and there is a warm message about enjoying the memories of high school, but moving on with life.

  • Tammi Louwagie

    Absolute waste of time. It just dragged on and on and on. Of course, until I finally gave up on it being a good book and just hit eject.

  • Anonymous

    If I had a pen handy, I would have stabbed my eardrums out! This book REALLY SUCKED. Unless you were some mindless football star you won't like this at all. I caught myself looking for trees to hit while driving just to make this CD end...

  • Anonymous

    Horrendous. ANY activity is more worth while than listening to this "story".

  • Jody Miller

    I enjoyed this one. It's not a typical Grisham book is why many probably did not like it. I love the game of football and felt there were lots of insights into life in general. We do all want a piece of greatness in our lives!

  • Shane Nixon

    I LOVED this one. Perhaps my background, which is very similar to the main character, made me like it more than most, but I was swept away. The plot was so smooth, even if predictable. The characters so real, even if larger than life. The narration was good, though I'll admit it took me a minute to warm up to Grisham's low draw. (He almost whispers in this thing) I enjoyed the game action, I liked the ending, I was drawn in from the start, sincerely I can't seem to figure out why so few people like this book. I just loved it! There is an "Eddie Rake" in all our lives, and though some probably most, wouldn't see him be a football coach, that person in our lives is all to real. The little subtleties of the plot were great from the jailed former player to the "gay" punter, the work made me think about a range of issues, but let me get away and just enjoy some good fiction at the same time. GREAT!

  • Anonymous

    This story was difficult to listen to because it moved rather slowly. It picked up towards the second half.

  • Karen

    I am a huge Grisham fan, but hate (and don't understand) football. I found myself 'tuning out' on many occasions especially during the play by play of the past games. But I stuck with it and did enjoy the story about human nature and people just being people. This was definitely not my favorite Grisham book, but if you are a football fan, you will probaby enjoy it more than I did.

  • Donna

    Very good, but very sad. Probably more truth in this book than we would like to admit.

  • Beth Paquette

    Not my favorite book by Grisham, I have enjoyed other, more fast paced books by him.

  • Anonymous


  • Anonymous

    When I first started listening to the book, I thought it was more of a "guy" book, mostly about football. As the story unfolded, I realized it was more about people, their lives and struggles and torments with the past. I really enjoyed the book and would recommend it.

  • Anonymous

    The championship football game is the best part of this - sounds like you are listening to a live game!


    Does anything every happen in this book? If so I missed it.

  • Anonymous

    This is not the typical Grisham novel. Although he is a great story teller, this one is boring. This is not a suspense novel.

  • R. M. Jessie

    Although very short, I found that I really enjoyed the story and hated when it ended. I felt that the book was believeable and not as predictable as I thought it might be.

  • Russell S

    Is there anything you might do differently if you had it to do over again? This story certainly makes you think about it if there is... As an added bonus, you get insight into small town athletics at its finest and worst--anyone in that situation should hear it just for the lessons involved there. Very enjoyable!

  • Anonymous

    Great story but I though it should have been read by someone else. The author sounded so monotone throughout the whole story. A story as good as this one needs more life as it is being told.

  • Daniel Wainwright

    Very enjoyable read. Different than the usual Grisham attorney thriller. But, for someone who played high school football in a small town, I definitely could relate to the feeling of returning home. Good character development and interesting charaters.

  • Lee Werley

    I really enjoyed this book. It brought back memories of high school and all that went with it. Nice change for Grishom.

  • Anonymous

    I was disappointed. Not his best work. The blow by blow of the football game was just boring.

  • DJ

    A Great book. Love the author and had to try this one even though, I'm a girl and I don't like football. I never thought that it would pull me in like it did. Maybe it was because of the setting in a small town and the way it played out. All I know is I felt like I was one of the boys, right there with them. Knew exactly how they felt. I think you have to be from a small town to really appreicate this one and know that nothing is more important than footballl on a Friday night. Actually brought back small town memories for me.

  • Anonymous

    As a Southerner I truly understand how football is a religion here. Small towns shut down completely on Friday nights, and football heros are worshipped like small gods. This audiobook takes you back there, and back to high school. It was an enjoyable listen.

  • Anonymous

    Good Christmas present for any guy that drives a lot and was a high school athlete or ever set foot in Texas on a Friday night. Not deep, not well tooled but very listenable.

  • John O

    It was very very slow through disc one, but very much worth the commitment. Highly recommended.

  • Mary Schweitzer

    For anyone who has grown up in a town where HIgh School sports is its complete obsession and center, you'll really enjoy this book.

  • Anonymous

    I am a great fan of John Grisham, and from time to time he has strayed from his normal lawyer adventure novels, and this is one of them. Many of his books have gone to movies, but it is hard to imagine the whole scene taking place on the bleachers, or in a stadium. It is well written. The effects others have on our lives are felt long , and sometime are hard to forgive and forget. This is about such a man, and his team. Thoses who have had close team ties will appreciate its,"One more time for the Giper," dr

Bleachers: A Novel

by John Grisham

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