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After borrowing The Client by John Grisham from my colleague, I decided to give The Street Lawyer a read and I'm glad I did.
If you have read my book reviews before, you know that I try my best not to give too much away, and it will be the same for this review.
In just 32 days, Michael quits his job as a very successful lawyer with a very, very big income to become a street lawyer for $30,000 a year, he loses his wife, his apartment, and his ability to practice a lawyer. Why? Because he found out the truth ....
Michael's life completely changed because he was in the wrong elevator at the wrong time. When Michael arrived at the building of the successful law firm he worked for (Drake & Sweeney), he was inside the elevator with a homeless man, known as Mister, who wanted to seek revenge from lawyers for making him homeless illegally.
A company wanted to buy what appeared to be an abandoned warehouse, but homeless people had taken up shelter there to protect themselves against the bitter winter they were faced with. But these people were no squatters, they were actually paying rent to a local pimp. This made them tenants. However, this company was lying heavily on Drake & Sweeney to get these homeless people out of the building, but at what cost?
Michael is determined to find out the truth and to try and help the homeless get back on their feet. This takes him to shelters and soup kitchens where he meets Mordecai, a street lawyer. One night, Michael meets a young black woman in the shelter with 3 toddlers and a baby, but the next day, Michael finds out that they have died from asphixiation. Who was responsible?
Michael is determined to find out the answers for many questions which may change things for the homeless forever, and also makes his previous employers hunt him down on the streets for theft, and determined to try and make him keep his mouth shut.
I did enjoy this novel, and after reading 2 of Grisham's books, would love to carry on reading his books. This one kept me intrigued to the last page, even though the ending was quite predictable, which is why I've given it 4 dooyoo stars.
Before reading this book, I was reluctant to give homeless people money as I'm not rich myself(!) even though I did feel sorry for them. I had the belief that if I gave them money, they'd be in the locl off-license before the money hit their palm, but after reading this book, my view has completely changed. Even though homelessness should not be happening in the UK (due to benefits and housing authorities), it does happen and most of the time through no fault of their own. The next time I see a homeless person, I am more inclined to give them a bit of money, or if they look like they could use the money for other reasons (drugs or alcohol) then I would go and buy them a sandwich or something and give it to them. John Grisham has certainly changed my perspective on a lot of things that I will remember for the rest of my life.
When it comes to the homeless I have to admit to not being the most sympathetic person around. It is hard to worry about the plight of others when your own wage is just enough to keep you paying the rent and food bills. In fact, for a while I was not earning enough to cover my outgoings and I was slowly falling into debt. It is possible that I could have had an accident or lost my job and cut the income coming in even further - would I have ended up homeless? I like to think that with my close family this would never be the case, but not everyone has these links. Who looks after the poor and helpless when they are unable to do so themselves. John Grisham's 'The Street Lawyer' sets out to show that in America very few people care.
Michael Brock is a successful lawyer who is hoping to make partner in his large law firm in the next few years. His life is all about making money for the company and keeping himself on the corporate track. However, all this is literally blown to pieces when a man is shot in front of him. This man had been holding members of Michael's law film hostage and demanding that they look at the plight of Washington's homeless. Whilst the rest of the firm get on with life Michael is shook up with the incident and begins to question himself. When he is approached by a lawyer from a small firm who represents the homeless with a job offer can Michael change his way of life?
I find that American authors sometimes let success go to their heads to the point were they think they can write anything and it will sell. The likes of Michael Crichton, Stephen King and Grisham have written novels that are more about their own interests and not trying to entertain the reader. 'The Street Lawyer' is another novel that falls into this pattern and for large parts reads more like an indictment of American domestic policy than an actual story. By the end of this book the reader is going to know a lot more about the average homeless person living on the streets of Washington.
Despite this preachy tone the book does not suffer too badly as the topic is actually pretty interesting and one ripe for fiction. Grisham's other vanity projects including 'Bleachers' have been abysmal, so at least here he was able to keep some semblance of a story. The issue I had with the central narrative is that it was a little bland and not much really happened. The opening scenes of the book are exciting and really grab you, it is a shame that the rest feels like you are slowly winding down. Being a relatively short book the lack of true story did not really matter as I found myself enjoying the book as a simple pleasure.
The pleasure is garnered mostly from experiencing Michael's slow development from corporate fat cat into power to the people skinny cat. Grisham has a habit of writing good central characters who are arrogant and greedy, but you can not help liking them. Michael has a confidence and charisma that would be annoying in real life, but in the context of the story it allows him the will power to quit it all to work on the streets. Grisham obviously researched this book to a decent degree because the discomfort and fear that Michael has when he first embarks on his new life is an honest reflection that makes you feel close to the character.
Despite growing to like Michael I felt that he suffered from a sterile feel that surrounded the whole book. There seemed a lack of emotion and passion in the book as all the characters analysed things with a quiet distil. This is best shown by the relationships in the books as Michael loses and gains with a similar offhand manner. As he splits with his wife they go there separate ways without a harsh word between them. Perhaps this is true to life, but the lack of passion gives the entire book a clinical feel that it never shakes off, even when descending into the grim realities of Washington's homeless.
I would think this is an unwise book for any new Grisham reader to start with as although it is not his worst it suffers from a cold exterior and lapses into dull non-fiction. However, there is plenty here to keep a Grisham fan happy as it is a short pacey novel with a likable main character. My advice to newer readers is try 'A Time to Kill' first that covers the moral feel of 'The Street Lawyer' but is a much engrossing and entertaining novel.
Author: John Grisham
Price: amazon uk - £5.99
play.com - £5.99
The Street Lawyer is the 9th novel from the award winning legal thriller author John Grisham.
Michael Brock is a promising young lawyer on his way fast up the ladder in law firm Drake & Sweeney. Following a hostage situation where a man known as Mister sermons the hostages (including Michael) on the plight of the homeless and their lack of legal representation, Michael decides to investagate the streets, and comes upon a young boy who has died following his family being wrongly evicted from their home by his law firm.
Michael goes covert in finding out the corruption behind the eviction, and seeks retribution for the family and attempts to bring the company down. Can he get the job done before the authorities clam him down for thieving legal documentation?
Grisham lets the reader stumble on a different side of the elgal profession here, and discusses the values of a 'street lawyer' in comparison to the bigwigs of a top law firm. Excploring the homeless situation, and the adage that money gets you money, he sermons the reader on morals and values, but does so at the same time as providing a gripping tale of retribution.
As a lead character, Michael Brock is typical of John Grisham: the young hotshot lawyer who has a promising future with a big company halted by an attack of the morals is a situation well tackled by Grisham in many of his previous novels. However, this is not a tactic that bores me as a reader of his books, because he manages to create such a different aspect each time he writes.
In The Street Lawyer, Grisham portrays the wealthy as the guilty, and the poor as the hard done by. We all know that this generalisation is not always true, but he does highlight the advantages of money and the disadvantages of not having it, and also highlights the importance of the underdog, that one person who is willing to do what is necessary to do the right thing in the end and to bring those who have done wrong to justice. Brock puts himself in the firing line.
I thoroughly enjoyed this delve into street lawyering, and am glad that Grisham took a time out from some of the more glamorous legal aspects of his books and touched on a subject from the streets. He does not hold back and handle the subject matter lightly, and some regular readers of his may be shocked by the more blunt nature of this nvoel in comparison to his others, but it is worth it.
Well written, and hard hitting writing.
I rate this book at 4 stars out of 5.
The book is available from amazon.co.uk for £4.19.
This review may also be posted on ciao.co.uk.
Thanks for reading.
PLIGHT OF HOMELESS !!
DeVon Hardy, we know this name after his death, before his death he is just mister. Mister
is the guy who takes the elevator at Drake and Sweeney 8 floors building with Michael Brock
in downtown Washington, Drake and Sweeney is the law firm, they have 400 Lawyers working in
that building in Washington. They are a big firm, they have more lawyers spread all over the
important cities of the world.
Mister gets out of the elevator on 6th floor with Michael Brock, He is a Anti trust lawyer
working in this building, Michael hears shots, bullets are seen hitting the roof, the hall
receptionist Madam Dervier is petrified staring in the barrel of a gun.
Michael Brock shouts dont shoot and heads towards Madam Dervier, he is lead at gunpoint to the
Conference Room on the left, this room already has 8 Lawyers from Litigation Section, all good
tough lawyers, with the gun in hand, Mister takes over the conference room among them is
included Michael Brock. Total 9 people, the terror begins.
The Hostages cannot go to relieve themselves they relieve in a flower vase, the gun rules for 6
hours, Swat team, sirens, news network helicopters surround the building, every thing good or
bad must end someday. The Hostage crisis at Drake and Sweeney ends after 6 hours, Michael Brock
is shaken badly, he has blood and cerebrospinal fluid on his face.
Michael Brock is hardworking, he is no his way to become a partner, a partner usually earns
US$ 50,000 per month with annual bonus of Five Hundred thousands, but the incident of DeVon
Hardy shakes Michael very badly. The abductor did not demand ransom or did not want to
negotiate with police or Drake and Sweeney management, he did not execute any hostages nor did
he implied to kill anyone, he just wanted to ask each hostage, how much money he has earned
last year and out of that money, how much they gave to HOMELESS soup Kitchens, HOMELESS clinics
Between the 9 hostages they grossed 3 million dollars last year, not one gave away a single
dollar to a beggar or HOMELESS shelters, HOMELESS Kitchens, HOMELESS Clinics. When DeVon Hardy
is felled by Swat team, the red explosive like plastic tubes wired to DeVon Hardy do not
explode, they were fake explosives, they were empty tubes made to look real, Except for Michael
Brock no one tries to find out why MISTER (DeVon Hardy) did what he did ?
Michael goes on a facts finding trip behind MISTER and his actions, he finds where he lied, what
he did, he finds DeVon Hardy was a Vietnam Veteran. He meets Mordecai Green, Sofia Mendoza, they
tell him all unclaimed bodies are buried in a cemetery near RFK Stadium. DeVon Hardy had no one
Mordecai Green says that Mister can be considered mentally disturbed and a miserable war
veteran, he was living the life of a HOMELESS and surviving on the food of Soup Kitchens.
Here onwards Michael finds out about the motive of DeVon Hardy (Mister) in choosing Drake and
Sweeney as a hostage taking target. Michael turns into a STREET LAWYER, he becomes a humanitarian
from a hourly billing machine, Michael becomes human and a kind soul looking after the HOMELESS.
Miss Lontae Burton and her 4 kids die inside her car from suffocation, winter storms are a bad
thing, Michael becomes a part of 14th Street Legal Clinic and starts doing PUBLIC INTEREST LAW
I extremely like the pace of dialogues and technical points of law always present in the
writings of John Grisham, I like the insipid relationship he describes of Michael Brock and
Clair Brock, how their marriage started drifting apart from the day of their marriage, I liked
Judge DeOrio description and his handling cases. I liked the character of Arthur Jacobs and few
others, there are no impossibles achieved in this book, just achieveables are outlined, mapped
and things happen in this same manner in our actual lives too.
Being a lawyer John Grisham has a good writing knack, his conversations are superb, his writings
are enjoyable, his stories are complex and of high standard, it keeps you engrossed, John
Grisham is a tall man with handsome blue eyes, light brown beard and mustache, short hair, he
lives in Virginia. The book under review is enjoyable with pacy topsy turvey events. It is
346 pages long, anyone writing books about HOMELESS and soup kitchens in detail deserves 5
stars, the public must see with their eyes the plight of HOMELESS everywhere.
Yo !! solving wars inside our bodies will solve wars outside it !!!!
Wow...what a fantastic book! My first ever John Grisham book, and it was incredible. It was so good that I actually went on ebay the day after I finished it and bought 10 more Grisham books.
I originally randomly picked up this book at my school from one of my teachers and started to read it because I had nothing else. I was only able to read the first 20 pages and I was already hooked. The next day I went imediately to the store and bought it. I read through it in a couple days and I've been recommending it to all my friends since. The book was really great and definitely motivated me to read more of his books.
The book is basically about a guy named Michael Brock who is a lawyer working at a big time firm, Drake & Sweeney. Suddenly though, within the first ten pages, a homeless man comes in and holds nine of the lawyers hostage. When the man is killed Michael does the unthinkable and leaves the firm to become a street lawyer.
I thought the beginning of the book was a great start and the plot as a whole was very well thought out. There isn't really anything negative I can think to say about it.
The next book on my trip through my John Grisham shelf of my Bookcase is The Street Lawyer. I know a lot of people will be thinking I only have Grisham books on my shelf and it certainly seems that way to me. His books make up just under half of my collection of fiction works and although one of his recent works didn?t fill me with the same desire to read, the older ones such as this certainly did. Grisham, a former lawyer has made a very good living out of writing Novels, since his debut effort A Time To Kill. Despite his move away from practising law he writes his books on the subject he is familiar with keeping a law theme within almost all of his works to date. His knowledge of the criminal system obviously helps a lot in explaining exactly what he means in an easy way so that someone like me, with only basic knowledge of legal proceedings can follow easily. The main character is Michael Brook, a young lawyer with one of Washington DC?s top law firms, Sweeney & Drake who graduated from Yale law school. In his mid thirties, Mike is pushing hard to make partner, working some 80 hours a week. This of course has taken its toll on his marriage. But he feels that when he?s a partner making a million dollars a year it will all have been worthwhile. Of course this doesn?t last for long. On what Michael assumes will be a day like any other events that change his entire life unfolds. Having arrived at work he shares the elevator with a homeless, but being in a hurry he just ignores him. Having arrived on his floor he gets off the lift and heads to his office passing the secretary, who almost moments later is shot by the homeless man who followed him off the lift. He proceeds to take Michael and 7 others hostage in a meeting room and begins to question them about how much money they give to charity. They are rescued after the homeless man is shot and all given a few days off before returning to work. But the whole experience has shaken
Michael and something the man said, ?Who are the Evictors? sticks with him. In fact the whole experience has shaken him so much that he pays a visit to a street Lawyer, named Mordecai who offers him a job and a massive pay cut. Which Brook accepts throwing away his marriage, a chance to be a partner in one of Washington?s biggest law firms and almost $90000 a year. He then sets about answering the homeless mans question and finds links that shock him. This is one of the fastest books I have actually read. From picking it up to putting it down only once did I actually put it down and that was to sleep. I was gripped from the first page. This is mainly down to this being the best opening to a story Grisham has had. The let down though comes in just how far fetched the idea of a former Yale student giving up everything in his life to go and work for a charitable organisation. However this doesn?t seem quite as bad a twist as it could have been. Grisham spends enough time building up Michael?s personality to the reader that you expect something drastic to happen. And when it does it is written in such away that rather than question it too much, you are left thinking, well maybe it could happen. Of course with Michael being the main character of the book as you get further engrossed into it the more you accept the fact. The way Grisham has written really gets you inside Michaels head and see things from his viewpoint. Really there are no major characters, except for maybe the Homeless man whose actions spark off a drastic turn of events for everyone involved. Of course like all Grisham books there are smaller stories going on in the sidelines, all relating back to the main story and this helps to add a bit of realism to the book. Factors such as Michaels struggling marriage make it seem that Grisham has gone for a more detailed approach to his main Lawyer character than in previous books. In typical Grisham style the book is full of t
wists and turns that keep the plot fresh and interesting but also keep your interest. Although the actual steps Michael takes after the incident will seem a little unusual and sudden it also helps to keep the story moving along and perhaps is one of the reasons its so compelling. If you like any of his other work you are bound to like this. The book can be bought from amazon.co.uk for £5.59 or from any high street bookshop for £6.99. The book has also been turned into a TV series in the States due for release this year.
Instead of taking the first 20 to 50 pages or so to introduce the characters Grisham takes us right into the action. The scene: a homeless man with a grudge takes an entire law office hostage. The title character, Michael Brock is a successful young lawyer in DC. He is moving up the career ladder, working long hours to the detriment of his marriage. After the intense first scene he decides to play detective and find out a little bit about this homeless man he calls ’’Mister’’. His investigation leads him to a legal clinic for the homeless. There he meets a large gregarious black man named Mordechai Brown. I really liked this character. Grisham really brings him to life. I liked how he presents him as a big man with an even bigger heart.As I was reading I kept picturing someone like Rosie Grier. Well, back to the story...Brock soon becomes a frequent visitor to this legal clinic and begins to volunteer at a soup kitchen. He starts to reassess his priorities in life. He has so much: a big expensive car, an apartment on the nice side of the city, a wife who is a doctor, and a thriving career. He starts to wonder if maybe all of the long hours he puts in at the office are really worthwhile. He has so much while others have so little. Soon, Mordechai Brown offers him a job. Well, you can guess what happens. He takes the job, and becomes ’’the street lawyer’’. As he begins his new job he kind of becomes an amateur detective, trying to figure out the connection between Mister and his previous employer. Meanwhile, his wife Claire and him are becoming more and more distant. (surprise surprise). I found the character of Claire to be a little paper thin. Grisham doesn’t give us enough details about her or let us really know her thoughts so I can’t say. I’m not going to reveal the ending, but I will say that it didn’t surprise me. Dont miss this one
The Street Lawyer You have seen it before, a promising lawyer, making it big in a Washington firm. Life is good, the money superb and the future looks rosy. It was just an ordinary day at the office for Michael Brock walked into the building that morning.... or so he thought....... but then a stranger walks in and the events that followed were the beginning of a life change for Michael. The firm has a new client and as the story unveils it becomes apparent that their deal has not been entirely legal. When Michael learns that his firm is not acting in a just manner he decides to switch sides. Michael finds that with the tables turned, he is now a small fish in a big pond trying to attack a SHARK!!! Some might regard his actions as suicidal..... but will justice prevail? Although I enjoyed this book, I did find it was rather cheezy in that a rich lawyer is involved in a life changing incident and then rediscovers his "first love" of why he entered the profession. From some of the comments at the end of the book I get the feeling that Grisham did his homework on how his Government deals with Homeless Statistics........ It makes you think.
In the past near all of John Grisham's books have concentrated in the arena of fast paced legal drama, with the lawyers having huge salaries and bigger egos. In the Street Lawyer however we are reminded that there is a different side of the legal system. Not all lawyers work for $300 dollars an hour, drive BMWs and live in huge apartments in New York. Some are prepared to work for nothing, some have a conscience. Michael Brock is rich, young, and living out the American dream at the expense of his wife, sanity and well being. His 60-hour a week schedule leaves very little time for his marriage, let alone let alone the less fortunate, who are passed by daily in the street. The money and ambition that drive his life from day to day consume all of his time and thought. But when a fatal encounter with a homeless man takes place in his office, he can't fail but see the lives he been oblivious to. The lives of the homeless in New York. In this compelling novel by the master of courtroom dramas, Grisham shows a new side to the world of lawyers, litigation and the legal system of America. The seemingly tiny amount of money sued, for when a homeless person isn't given their benefits for the month, really puts the true value of money into perspective. In a world where an apartment costing $100 a month is a god send the $50 in missed allowances is worth the battle. This new insight into the world is just as fascinating as ever, maybe even more so due to the new light it's displayed under. Grisham creates a whole new, real world where people die of cold and no one even stops to care. A group of people so unloved that their buddy can't spare a dime.
The Street Lawyer is a bit different from the usual Grisham fare. Michael Brock, the main character, has a vagrant come into his offices and hold some of the lawyers in an office. Michael looks into the grievance the vagrant had and discovers that his firm were behind him getting evicted. Michael starts to help the homeless and risks everything he has. The impression I got when I read this book was that Grisham had possibly had an experience with a homeless person and this had pricked his conscience. The whole book seems to have a help the homeless message. Whilst there is nothing wrong with that the message does come through very strongly. It is not an unenjoyable read, just not up to his usual high standards. The rest of Grisham's work tends to have characters which develop and you grow to know them. The problem with this book is that by the end of it you don't really care what happens to the characters. This is the main reason that I don't think we will ever see this story in film format. If you enjoyed Grisham's other work check it out and form your own opinions. If you are new to Grisham's work I would recommend The Partner and A Time to Kill before moving on to this book.
John Grisham writes this book in a slower style than his others.It has none of the subtly of 'The Runaway Jury' while it lacks the fast paced plot of 'The Firm'.Although it has none of the action or quick wit of his other books it does show you the other side of corporate America as is not seen in his other novels.I would recommend it to all of John Grisham's current readers as well as anyone who thought his past books too subtle or that they contain too much action.A good read for anyone with the most miniscule interest in iether corporate amercia , law, the plight of the homeless or John Grisham.
I found this book a very interesting offering from Grisham. It felt quite different to his other books and yet followed a similar format. Obviously it is still about law and lawyers but this book had much less of the glamour/deadline and stress factors and much more of the theory of law. I felt that this was a really mature book from Grisham and though I found it slower and not as exciting as his others, I enjoyed it more. This book is about a lawyer who decides to throw in his job as a highly paid, private firm lawyer and work as a pro-bono lawyer for nowhere near his salary. It is much more altruistic but does allow his readers a different glimpse of American law. I really enjoyed this one.
Grisham tells the story of a lawyer named Robert Brock who works in a corporate law firm. He is on the fast-track for partnership and is looking at earning serious money in the near future. However, his life changes drastically when a gun toting homeless man holds Brock and some fellow lawyers hostage in their office. Escaping with his life, Brock does some initial research into what made the gunman come to their office. He discovers, with the help of a company snitch, that the company he works for wrongfully evicted many homeless people. Brock, during his search becomes involved with Mordecai Green, a street lawyer who represents the poor and homeless. Realizing a change of heart, Brock decides he would rather pursue the life of a street lawyer than a high-priced anti-trust lawyer and joins forces with Green. The story follows Brock's introduction to the life and culture of the homeless, his loss of his wife and family, and the pursuit for justice against his old firm. He also becomes more human, helping out the homeless in soup kitchens and shelters. This book wasn't as engaging as other Grisham novels. It was very preachy and was easy to put down. I felt a lot of the story was too "convenient" and the ending was extremely predictable. However, it is Grisham, and was entertaining and worth reading. I wasn't kept up at nights like I usually am when reading one of his stories.