The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon

The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon

by Stephen King


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The acclaimed #1 New York Times bestseller from Stephen King—a frightening suspense novel about a young girl who becomes lost in the woods as night falls.

During a six-mile hike on the Maine-New Hampshire branch of the Appalachian Trail, nine-year-old Trisha McFarland quickly tires of the constant bickering between her older brother and her recently divorced mother. But when Trisha briefly wanders off by herself, she becomes lost in a wilderness maze full of peril and terror. As night falls, Trisha has only her ingenuity as a defense against the elements, and only her courage and faith to withstand her mounting fears. For solace, she tunes her headphones to broadcasts of Boston Red Sox baseball games and follows the gritty performances of her hero, relief pitcher Tom Gordon. And when the reception begins to fade, Trisha imagines that Tom Gordon is right there with her—the protector from an enemy who may or may not be who is watching her, waiting for her in the dense, dark woods...

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781501192289
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication date: 05/15/2018
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 514,165
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Stephen King is the author of more than sixty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. His recent work includes The Institute, Elevation, The Outsider, Sleeping Beauties (cowritten with his son Owen King), and the Bill Hodges trilogy: End of Watch, Finders Keepers, and Mr. Mercedes (an Edgar Award winner for Best Novel and an AT&T Audience Network original television series). His novel 11/22/63 was named a top ten book of 2011 by The New York Times Book Review and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Mystery/Thriller. His epic works The Dark Tower, It, Pet Sematary, and Doctor Sleep are the basis for major motion pictures, with It now the highest grossing horror film of all time. He is the recipient of the 2018 PEN America Literary Service Award, the 2014 National Medal of Arts, and the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He lives in Bangor, Maine, with his wife, novelist Tabitha King.


Bangor, Maine

Date of Birth:

September 21, 1947

Place of Birth:

Portland, Maine


B.S., University of Maine at Orono, 1970

Read an Excerpt

First Inning
Mom and Pete gave it a rest as they got their packs and Quilla's wicker plant-collection basket out of the van's back end; Pete even helped Trisha get her pack settled evenly on her back, tightening one of the straps, and she had a moment's foolish hope that now things were going to be all right.
"Kids got your ponchos?" Mom asked, looking up at the sky. There was still blue up there, but the clouds were thickening in the west. It very likely would rain, but probably not soon enough for Pete to have a satisfying whine about being soaked.
"I've got mine, Mom!" Trisha chirruped in her oh-boy-waterless-cookware voice.
Pete grunted something that might have been yes.
Affirmative from Trisha; another low grunt from Pete.
"Good, because I'm not sharing mine." She locked the Caravan, then led them across the dirt lot toward a sign marked TRAIL WEST, with an arrow beneath. There were maybe a dozen other cars in the lot, all but theirs with out-of-state plates.
"Bug-spray?" Mom asked as they stepped onto the path leading to the trail. "Trish?"
"Got it!" she chirruped, not entirely positive she did but not wanting to stop with her back turned so that Mom could have a rummage. That would get Pete going again for sure. If they kept walking, though, he might see something which would interest him, or at least distract him. A raccoon. Maybe a deer. A dinosaur would be good. Trisha giggled.
"What's funny?" Mom asked.
"Just me thinks," Trisha replied, and Quilla frowned — "me thinks" was a Larry McFarland-ism. Well let her frown, Trisha thought. Let her frown all she wants, I'm with her, and I don't complain about it like old grouchy there, but he's still my Dad and I still love him.
Trisha touched the brim of her signed cap, as if to prove it.
"Okay, kids, let's go," Quilla said. "And keep your eyes open."
"I hate this," Pete almost groaned — it was the first clearly articulated thing he'd said since they got out of the van, and Trisha thought: Please God, send something. A deer or a dinosaur or a UFO. Because if you don't, they're going right back at it.
God sent nothing but a few mosquito scouts that would no doubt soon be reporting back to the main army that fresh meat was on the move, and by the time they passed a sign reading NO. CONWAY STATION 5.5 MI., the two of them were at it full-bore again, ignoring the woods, ignoring her, ignoring everything but each other. Yatata-yatata-yatata. It was, Trisha thought, like some sick kind of making out.
It was a shame, too, because they were missing stuff that was actually pretty neat. The sweet, resiny smell of the pines, for instance, and the way the clouds seemed so close — less like clouds than like draggles of whitish-gray smoke. She guessed you'd have to be an adult to call something as boring as walking one of your hobbies, but this really wasn't bad. She didn't know if the entire Appalachian Trail was as well-maintained as this — probably not — but if it was, she guessed she could understand why people with nothing better to do decided to walk all umpty-thousand miles of it. Trisha thought it was like walking on a broad, winding avenue through the woods. It wasn't paved, of course, and it ran steadily uphill, but it was easy enough walking. There was even a little hut with a pump inside it and a sign which read: WATER TESTS OK FOR DRINKING. PLEASE FILL PRIMER JUG FOR NEXT PERSON.
She had a bottle of water in her pack — a big one with a squeeze-top — but suddenly all Trisha wanted in the world was to prime the pump in the little hut and get a drink, cold and fresh, from its rusty lip. She would drink and pretend she was Bilbo Baggins, on his way to the Misty Mountains.
"Mom?" she asked from behind them. "Could we stop long enough to — "
"Making friends is a job, Peter," her mother was saying. She didn't look back at Trisha. "You can't just stand around and wait for kids to come to you."
"Mom? Pete? Could we Please stop for just a — "
"You don't understand," he said heatedly. "You don't have a clue. I don't know how things were when you were in junior high, but they're a lot different now."
"Pete? Mom? Mommy? There's a pump — " Actually there was a pump; that was now the grammatically correct way to put it, because the pump was behind them, and getting farther behind all the time.
"I don't accept that," Mom said briskly, all business, and Trisha thought: No wonder she drives him crazy. Then, resentfully: They don't even know I'm here, The Invisible Girl, that's me. I might as well have stayed home. A mosquito whined in her ear and she slapped at it irritably.
They came to a fork in the trail. The main branch — not quite as wide as an avenue now, but still not bad — went off to the left, marked by a sign reading NO. CONWAY 5.2. The other branch, smaller and mostly overgrown, read KEZAR NOTCH 10.
"Guys, I have to pee," said The Invisible Girl, and of course neither of them took any notice; they just headed up the branch which led to North Conway, walking side by side like lovers and looking into each other's faces like lovers and arguing like the bitterest enemies. We should have stayed home, Trisha thought. They could have done this at home, and I could have read a book. The Hobbit again, maybe — a story about guys who like to walk in the woods.
"Who cares, I'm peeing," she said sulkily, and walked a little way down the path marked KEZAR NOTCH. Here the pines which had stayed modestly back from the main trail crowded in, reaching with their blueblack branches, and there was underbrush, as well — clogs and clogs of it. She looked for the shiny leaves that meant poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac, and didn't see any...thank God for small favors. Her mother had shown her pictures of those and taught her to identify them two years ago, when life had been happier and simpler. In those days Trisha had gone tramping in the woods with her mother quite a bit. (Pete's bitterest complaint about the trip to Plant-A-Torium was that their mother had wanted to go there. The obvious truth of this seemed to blind him to how selfish he had sounded, harping on it all day long.)
On one of their walks, Mom had also taught her how girls peed in the woods. She began by saying, "The most important thing — maybe the only important thing — is not to do it in a patch of poison ivy. Now look. Watch me and do it just the way I do it."
Trisha now looked both ways, saw no one, and decided she'd get off the trail anyway. The way to Kezar Notch looked hardly used — little more than an alley compared to the broad thoroughfare of the main trail — but she still didn't want to squat right in the middle of it. It seemed indecorous.
She stepped off the path in the direction of the North Conway fork, and she could still hear them arguing. Later on, after she was good and lost and trying not to believe she might die in the woods, Trisha would remember the last phrase she got in the clear; her brother's hurt, indignant voice: — don't know why we have to pay for what you guys did wrong!
She walked half a dozen steps toward the sound of his voice, stepping carefully around a clump of brambles even though she was wearing jeans instead of shorts. She paused, looked back, and realized she could still see the Kezar Notch path...which meant that anyone coming along it would be able to see her, squatting and peeing with a half-loaded knapsack on her back and a Red Sox cap on her head. Em-bare-ASS-ing, as Pepsi might say (Quilla Andersen had once remarked that Penelope Robichaud's picture should be next to the word vulgar in the dictionary).
Trisha went down a mild slope, her sneakers slipping a little in a carpet of last year's dead leaves, and when she got to the bottom she couldn't see the Kezar Notch path anymore. Good. From the other direction, straight ahead through the woods, she heard a man's voice and a girl's answering laughter — hikers on the main trail, and not far away, by the sound. As Trisha unsnapped her jeans it occurred to her that if her mother and brother paused in their oh-so-interesting argument, looking behind them to see how sis was doing, and saw a strange man and woman instead, they might be worried about her.
Good! Give them something else to think about for a few minutes. Something besides themselves.
The trick, her mother had told her on that better day in the woods two years ago, wasn't going outdoors — girls could do that every bit as well as boys — but to do it without soaking your clothes.
Trisha held onto the conveniently jutting branch of a nearby pine, bent her knees, then reached between her legs with her free hand, yanking her pants and her underwear forward and out of the firing line. For a moment nothing happened — wasn't that just typical — and Trish sighed. A mosquito whined bloodthirstily around her left ear, and she had no hand free with which to slap at it.
"Oh waterless cookware!" she said angrily, but it was funny, really quite deliciously stupid and funny, and she began to laugh. As soon as she started laughing she started peeing. When she was done she looked around dubiously for something to blot with and decided — once more it was her father's phrase — not to push her luck. She gave her tail a little shake (as if that would really do any good) and then yanked up her pants. When the mosquito buzzed the side of her face again, she slapped it briskly and looked with satisfaction at the small bloody smear in the cup of her palm. "Thought I was unloaded, partner, didn't you?" she said.
Trisha turned back toward the slope, and then turned around again as the worst idea of her life came to her. This idea was to go forward instead of backtracking to the Kezar Notch trail. The paths had forked in a Y; she would simply walk across the gap and rejoin the main trail. Piece of cake. There was no chance of getting lost, because she could hear the voices of the other hikers so clearly. There was really no chance of getting lost at all.

Copyright © 1999 by Stephen King

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Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 415 reviews.
Jessica96 More than 1 year ago
The Girl who Loved Tom Gordon By Stephen King This is a very suspenseful novel. It is written with great detail, and is very well thought out. It is about a nine year old girl named Trisha McFarland, who disappears off of a trail with her mother and brother in the Appalachian Mountains. Her family always argues with each other and pays little attention to her. She thinks of herself as the invisible child. While they are spending their time bickering with each other, Trisha tells them that she needs to use the restroom and is going to take the other path, and catch up to them when she is done. They do not hear her of course. She goes too far into the over grown path and looses her way. Trisha loves sports and she idolizes Tom Gordon, a famous Red Socks player. He is her hero, because listening to the baseball games on her walkman, while being lost in the woods gives her hope for survival. A search party goes out looking for Trisha, and she knows because she had heard it on the news station of the walkman. A helicopter flies over her, but does not see her, and she is left alone in the woods. Trisha has to find out how to survive on her own, with the little supplies she has in her backpack. She eats all of her food and drinks all that she has, and the water form a stream that she has walked miles to makes her sick. She makes her way into a crescent shaped clearing, and gets the feeling that she is not alone. She later finds out that "the thing in the woods" has been following her the entire time. It is a spirit and a misshaped monster that has stopped her from eating by placing dead animals by all food sources, and clawed and knocked down trees. It looks like a human with no eyes, and wasps covering every inch of it, and completely terrifies her. Trisha tries to convince her self it was a dream. But it is not. Overall, I would say that it is an exciting book, with a great plot. Also, the characters and setting make the story come to life and feel as if you are part of it.
MadHatter182 More than 1 year ago
I am a huge Stephen King fan, and have loved every book of his that I have read. And i was very excited to read The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, as I have heard that it was one of his best works, but I has hugely disappointed. As I was reading I kept on waiting for the book to get better or the scary part to happen, and it never did. Don't get me wrong the book is very well written and it has it moments, but they a far and few in between. Please read this book because I am sure that a lot of people will disagree with my opinion, and you may to, and I do not want to ruin a book for anybody.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this story ,, it was so real ,, I was in the stand cheering this little girl on to victory ,, I stepped in the mud with her when she felt defeated ,, I could see all of this so clearly and to think that one little girl's hero could get her through it all, she could teach us all about being tough ,, a must read for all ,, I hope there are going to be more short creative stories like this to come ,, Stephen King is such a good storyteller
thebookwormNJ More than 1 year ago
Trisha McFarland is a nine year old who is going hiking with her mom and older brother. As the hike begins, the mom and teenage brother are busy arguing once again and Trisha who is walking behind them, decides to veer off and use the bathroom in the woods. She figures she won't be missed and she even hopes that her mom and brother might look back and be scared once they realize she's gone, since they've been paying her no mind. Once she's done using the bathroom, Trisha decides to take a shortcut through the woods, instead of going back to the trail. Within minutes, she's completely lost. Her brother and mom still haven't even realized she's not walking behind them anymore. Days roll into nights and the deeper she walks into the woods, the worse it is for her. Soon enough, Trisha realizes she is not alone, something is following her. She can't see it, but she knows it's there. This 'something' is leaving dead animal carcasses and claw marks on trees. Trisha's poor sense of direction continues to lead her further and further into the deep woods. Do you know what amazes me most about this book? The fact that Stephen King can write a story about a nine year old girl being lost in the woods and turn it into a tense, creepy, page turner. I decided to re-read The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon one weekend and it was a nice dose of horror. Characterization is wonderful here as per King's usual. Trisha's parents are divorced, while in the woods she has flashbacks of her mom and dad. She wonders how she could have been sitting in her car one minute, and lost in the woods the next. You can't help but root for her and be scared for her too. King doesn't miss a beat though, Trisha hallucinates at times as the exhaustion and stress take their toll on her. As I read I could easily envision the dense woods, the sounds of birds, the fear Trisha felt. You don't really know what is following Trisha, whether it's a bear or a monster. King does a fantastic job at making you scared of something that hasn't even shown itself yet. It's simply the thought of that monster in the woods that is really scary. I recommend The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon to all King fans or to anyone looking for a quick dose of horror. This one is mild compared to his other works, so if you are new to this author and are looking to read one of his books that isn't too scary, I think this is a good choice. The fear of the unknown, inner strength, courage and hope are what lies at the core of this scary story. King delivers here and I'm glad I re-read this one. King has a knack for creating young characters that the reader can root for and care about.
DearReader More than 1 year ago
This would be a good gift book for a teen/pre-teen girl. It is scary but not terrifying, and very empowering. I recommend this highly.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is like a vacuum - it sucks you right into the story. I could not make myself stop reading this book, and I didn't want the story to end.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In this book, Trisha MacFarland gets lost in the woods while camping with her mom and brother. She must now survive in the woods with her packed lunch and a radio. This is an extreme disappointment! The adventure of Trisha getting lost in the woods is like watching the adventures of an ordinary pinecone. The character chemistry was also awful, since her mother just forgets about finding her daughter after she believes her daughter was murdered. It just stood as a disappointing adventure book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was the second Stephen King book I've read, the first being Salem's Lot. I loved Salem's Lot, it was a great book and was also very scary. I was expecting the same from this book and I was very disappointed. It gets off to a pretty slow start, it's an average survival story until about 1/3 of the way through. Then it changes into an average survival story where the character knows she's being watched by something. This continues until there is about 50 pages left and then the story finally develops and the creature following her finally makes a significant appearance. This book was not scary in the slightest which is fine (although not expected from a horror writer) but the story itself was mediocre and there was little suspense.
Tyranasorus 8 months ago
The girl who loved Tom Gordon By Stephen King I personally have found this book to be the best book i have ever read. The book is a odd mix of horror and suspense that perfectly mix each other. This book is also great, because its believed to be intertwined with Pet Cemetery, as the God of the lost is believed to be the Wendigo. This book, following Trisha, a young girl, who is stuck in the Maine-New Hampshire woods, after she veered off the Appalachian trail. At multiple points in the book, it genuinely freaked me out, like when the god of the lost was fully shown, and the wasp priest scene. I would HIGHLY recommend others read this book, especially if you love Stephen Kings other books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read it years ago and lost it in a fire. Wanted to read it again.
queencersei on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon is not your traditional Stephen King horror novel. There are no monsters, killer clowns or ghosts in this tale. Instead the story is of horror on a more mundane, but believable level. Suppose you were a child hiking through the woods with your parents and brother and got lost? The author does a wonderful job of tapping into the fear of being lost in an unfamiliar place. And of conveying the mounting fear little Patricia has as day turns to night and she realizes that she is truly lost and the adults may not be able to find her. The novel is a short, fast read and one of King¿s lesser known works. However it is worth a look as King successfully conveys that sometimes the scariest things are the ones that are actually possible.
Anagarika-Sean on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Great short read. It turns the fears of a child into something supernatural, and then one doubts oneself if it was real or imagined. A good novel.
karriethelibrarian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This short novel is filled with realistic suspense about a young girl who mistakenly wanders off in the woods while out with her mother and brother. What's intriguing about this book is the mental state of the little girl and her belief that there's something following her. It's possible there's something out there, but then again, it's possible that her mind is playing tricks on her due to exhaustion and dehydration. The reader will have to decide if it's real.
heidilove on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
i have no idea why this lovely little tale of being lost and finding oneself stuck with me so deeply but it did. And even after a third reading, i still like it enough to put it in the top ten.
HvyMetalMG on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I hate Gordon. Not only did he pitch for the Phillies, he pitched for the Yankees. Okay, anyway, this is a sweet story from King but nothing special. I read it a few years ago and nothing really stands out.
kmoynihan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book was fantastic. It's not what I'd say is "scary", but it does make you think about the what ifs and how would yous.
tloeffler on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'm not usually a Stephen King fan, but I thought this was a great book.
badpennylane on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One of the few adventure/survival stories with a strong female protagonist. The story will inspire admiration for a clever and courageous young girl, and will delight those who think of Stephen King as confined to horror stories and pulp fiction ¿ his insight into the nature of children is incredible.
Djupstrom on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Great Story!! This is one of his most plausible novels. It is not rooted in the supernatural, but it has subtle elements. This is a story that is every rural kids' nightmare...getting lost in the woods. Good for adults, but Great for teens!!
whitewavedarling on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
For me, this novella from Stephen King was totally unexpected, but I loved it nontheless. Nearly all of the students I've recommended it to have enjoyed it, and this in the end is a fairly quick and touching story about a young girl whose fantasies help her through being lost in the woods. It's easily read in one sitting, and something to easily get lost in for a rainy afternoon. Highly recommended for near anyone--even if you've no desire to read Stephen King based on his horror-driven reputation, this isn't typical King, and shouldn't be dismissed as horror.
rhohnholt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Great story. Read it while you camping out or listen to it on CD while you are driving through the woods, that is what we did and my kids still talk about it and get the willies in the forest.
StefanY on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A pleasant surprise from Stephen King.For years, I had not worried about this being the only Stephen King book that I hadn't read. Many people said that it really wasn't a great book and several said that they had started it but never finished it.Frankly, I don't know what the problem was. The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon is a gripping story about a little girl who is lost in the woods. It narrates the trials and tribulations of her journey and struggle to survive on her own in a seemingly unending wilderness. During this we are shown the incredible strength of her character even as she falls deeper and deeper into madness. Along her journey, she encounters many pitfalls and dangers along with a brush with the malevolent supernatural.This is a very entertaining story and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
katiekrug on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In a nutshell: Somewhat desultory short novel about a girl lost in the woods.This one didn't really work for me. I think it would have been better as a longish short story, rather than a shortish novel - it seemed as if it was being dragged out to meet a length requirement rather than unspooling a good narrative. Especially distracting to me was the fact that this girl is 9 years old but some of her thoughts and comments were more fitting to a teenager or even an adult. I repeatedly kept shaking my head, thinking "No 9 year old would ever think that, much less be able to articulate it."
ragwaine on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Baseball as a major theme in any book causes it to lose 2 stars automatically. Boring and stupid.
kclopez on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Trish is lost after wandering away from her fighting brother and mother, to use the restroom. She finds hope to survive from her hero , RedSox relief picture Tom Gordon. I didn't find this book to entertaining. I felt this book dragged on. I did however enjoyed the pop pictures in this book they were very elaborate.