So, I avoided reading this for years because I thought it would be another one of the "Can you survive the _____?" books like Misery and Gerald's Game. Oh, and I'm also not a Red Sox fan. ;-)
It seems to be a recurring theme for Stephen King to put his characters into abominable situations, let them adjust, make it worse again (as they get hungry, thirsty, whatever), let them adjust, give them a small amount of hope, tear it away, et cetera. As I feared, The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon is along the same lines, but any misgivings about repetition faded because the author brings a lot more to the table.
First, Tricia is a wonderful character, likable in every way and SO realistic. She makes adjustments for everything wrong in her life and this flexibility pays off for her when the world gets tight and mean. I love how she channels the sayings of her mother and father and we learn about them through her interpretations.
Second, King is so good at making everyday situations absolutely chilling. I think you really need to understand fear in order to write about it convincingly and not only does he do this here, but we also see it through Tricia who is only 10, but big for her age. It cannot be stressed enough, but to buy into a story like this, you need to be one with the characters. Man, he nails it here so well that it doesn't matter that the father and mother seem like cookie-cutter characters. Tricia's internal struggles compensate and we see that there is broken-down, beaten-up, world-weary humanity in the people around her and we can forgive the blithe interpretations because the complexity we are looking for doesn't even matter. By the end of the story Tricia is gazing into the souls of everyone and everything.
I'm not going to give away any of the ploy here, but there is a parallel obstacle as well and if it doesn't freeze your blood, then you have to stop doing the Surge anti-freeze shots.
Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed the story and am going to rate it 4 stars (GG was 3 for me and Misery - scary! - was 4 or 5). I "loved". Yes indeedy.
I do wonder now if when Stephen King finishes one of these, does he point a finger to the sky?