Stephen King is a master of horror without any doubt and while some of his movies are downright horrifying and hard to watch in certain spots, The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon might be a nice reprieve for those that like his writing but aren’t so into the whole idea of the absolute terror that seems to lurk just around the corner. This is more of child’s story ala King so to speak in that it doesn’t really involve anything so terrifying it can’t be ran from or fought against, and it’s more along the lines of a self-discovery and recovery story. Trisha is a young girl that gets lost while on a hike with her mother and brother and fails to find her way back to them until nearly the end of the story. She has only a few bare essentials in her pack and her walkman, which tells you a bit about the time period in which the story is set, on which she listens to baseball games featuring her favorite baseball player, Tom Gordon. As Bethany Guerrero of ScreenRant tells it this movie was slated to be made by George Romero originally but when he passed in 2017 it got tabled for a while. The book came out in 1999, so it’s been a while coming, but it would appear that we’re finally going to get a good look at Trisha as she makes her way throughout the ominous woods that become host to a deadly game of cat and mouse that involves her and a supposedly supernatural monster that is intent on claiming her as its own.
As you can imagine a lot of the story is brought on by the hallucinations wrought by hunger and exhaustion as Trisha makes her way through the woods. As she continues to imagine things the only saving grace she gets to keep close at heart is that she can talk to her favorite baseball player, Tom Gordon, an act that helps to retain her sanity and keep her moving. As stories go this one is among the shorter that King has written and moves at a pretty good clip since it might take only a day or two to read, but the story is fairly gripping and the depiction of the creature following her is scary enough to warrant reading it during the daytime. The manner in which he crafts this story is such that one can’t help but feel the forest around them as they experience along with Trisha the mounting horror that continues to dominate every page and sentence as she attempts to find her way back to civilization and safety, only to realize she’s being continually hounded every step by the murderous thing that wants to do something to her that she doesn’t even want to contemplate.
I won’t bother giving spoilers since some folks might not have read the book yet but overall it’s kind of a fun story in comparison to some of King’s other tales that get downright gritty and are hard to laugh at. It’s not a comedy but it does invite a few moments during which people might actually find themselves grinning as they’re reminded of the days when they were kids and things seemed so insanely simplified. Back in those days a lot of us had the idea that the supernatural existed far closer to home than we do as adults and the fine line separating reality from the horrors that lie just beyond wasn’t much of a barrier as we like to think. The story does explore the wonder and the fears we had as kids and in a big way reminds us of what it means to struggle at times and remember just what it means to be young, uncertain, and unsure of what’s going to come next in life. The manner in which King takes the story through its paces and keeps Trisha on her feet and continually moving is impressive even for him since this is a bit different than the rest of his stories in that it doesn’t really seem to be so utterly hopeless at any given point. She’s a young girl that is going through a rough time in her life and is experiencing the kind of emotional trauma that many kids have known but never really know how to deal with. In a big way it would almost seem that Trisha’s personal trauma is what brings on the dreaded being that begins to stalk her throughout the story, making it into something far more than what it might actually be.
This is a recommended watch for many people who like a good story but don’t want to be scared out of their wits. It’d also be a good idea to read the book before the movie comes out, as there’s plenty of time to do so still.