One Of Anne Heche's Greatest Performances Was A Stephen King Audiobook

The world lost a real talent recently as Anne Heche, star of movies such as "Donnie Brasco" and "John Q," passed away following a tragic car accident. The 53-year-old actress will certainly be remembered for her decades-long career that included everything from big-budget romantic comedies ("Six Days and Seven Nights") to classic slasher flicks ("I Know What You Did Last Summer"). But one of Heche's very best performances required absolutely nothing other than her voice, and it was a performance capable of moving one to tears. This is something I can attest to personally.

Audiobooks have really exploded in recent years and, in many cases, companies like Audible will bring in an accomplished actor to read a book to add a little star power, not to mention talent. Such was the case when Stephen King's "The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon" was done as an audiobook, with none other than Heche brought in to bring King's 1999 tale to life for listeners. As a frequent listener of audiobooks, I can tell you that they are not all created equal. So many are performed with the same level of thrill one can expect to find at a laundromat on a weekday night. Heche, however, brought her A-game to this performance and the story was all the better for it.

For those who may not be familiar, "The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon" focuses on a 9-year-old girl named Trisha McFarland who strays from the path while she and her family are on a hike. She winds up being lost for days, wandering further and further away from civilization. Trisha only has her portable radio for comfort and is a huge fan of Tom Gordon, a baseball player for the Boston Red Sox. Listening to the games for comfort, this young girl unfortunately discovers that something dangerous may be tracking her through the dark, dangerous woods.

Elevating the material

Now, in discussing the performance at hand, it is important to acknowledge that Stephen King is one of the finest authors alive or dead, so Heche was dealing with source material from a true master. That having been said, this is not often listed as one of King's more cherished works, though I count it as a personal favorite. That is in large part thanks to Heche, who straight-up elevated the material with her touching, emotional, and affecting performance.

The book is very singular-minded as we spend most of our time with Trisha as things go from bad to worse in the woods. Heche manages to bring you into the mind of that young girl so effectively that everything happening to her is felt on a deep level. This was not just an actress cashing an easy check — this was someone making an absolute meal out of a performance. Heche probably didn't have to bring out the big guns for this one, but she did and I can't imagine this book without her as my guide.

To punctuate the effectiveness of Heche's work, I finished the book while grocery shopping one day. In the end, I found myself openly crying while leaning on my shopping cart as her final words rang out. If making a 30-year-old man unsuspectingly cry in the middle of a crowded store isn't the mark of a great performance, what is?

"The Girl Who Loved Tom Gorodn," as performed by Anne Heche, is available on Audible.