Thursday, March 15, 2007

A Painted House

by John Grisham

Ah, nothing takes away the aftertaste of children's literature like a good John Grisham book. Murder, corruption, legal shenanigans--all set in the heart of Dixie. Um, the only problem is that this one is a departure from Mr. Grisham's usual formula. Oh, there's sin and hate in there. But there's nary a lawyer in sight. Instead we get the tale of a seven-year-old boy, Luke Chandler, who's living on a rented farm in 1952 Arkansas. His family is trying to eke out a living, praying each year that the cotton crop will be good enough to pay off the accumulated loans. This year the cotton crop is fine and workers are needed to bring in the harvest. Luke's grandfather manages to hire on a group of Mexican laborers along with a family of "hill people". What follows is a tale of the harvest, as Mr. Grisham plays the various characters off of each other to showcase life in rural Arkansas. Looking back on it, the book seems a tad overdone. Luke experiences a heck of a lot in the space of a couple months and at times seems to handle it with a bit more sophistication than a seven-year-old should have. Of course, I didn't really notice that as much when I was actually reading it, which makes it a book worth checking out if you want a good read.
LibraryThing link

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