Newest Review: ... Theo is a 13 year old boy whose parents are both lawyers. They own their own firm and have given him his own room at their firm so he c... more
Lawyers get younger every day!
Theodore Boone - John Grisham
Member Name: pmcds
Theodore Boone - John Grisham
Advantages: Solid in many ways
Disadvantages: Disappointing for Grisham
The main thing you need to take into account with this book, and preferably before starting to read it, is that it's John Grisham's first foray into the realm of Young Adult literature. I think if you have this in mind when you're reading it then you can appreciate the style and focus of the book moreso than if you go into it expecting another usual Grisham thriller. My problem was that this is exactly what I thought - the tagline 'half the man, twice the lawyer' and the image of a teenager walking up the steps to a courthouse not really giving me any clues.
The book starts off solidly enough, with the familiar writing style filling in a few loose details as he goes about introducing first the main character, Theo Boone, and then the plot. Theo is a 13 year old boy whose parents are both lawyers. They own their own firm and have given him his own room at their firm so he can have somewhere to do his homework and go after school. Grisham paints a regular routine picture for us, with dinner at 7, the same tired answers to the same tired questions, routine that no doubt would remind many teenage readers of their daily lives during the school week, but also resonates with many adults I imagine.
Grisham swiftly establishes Theo as someone who knows a lot about law, spending most of his free time in the law offices. When a fact about a murder trial comes to his attention, he is unsure what to do with the information, and this tale is all about the development of this knowledge and how he deals with it. I don't think it's an excellent piece of work, and in many ways it seems to be setting the scene for later pieces of work as opposed to being a solid and complete piece of work itself.
I think the strengths here are the way he gives us the details, as Grisham has always been meticulous about the way the plot and events surrounding it come together and form the story. As ever, he did just the same, making sure that the small details were there and that the larger details were easier because of this. The difference here though is that as this is aimed at younger readers there's less dragging out of the detail, and things are a bit tame. No paragraphs of lengthy description, no tantalising chases where someone may lose their life - it's all gentle and progressive, as the plot evolves with little or no drama or excitement.
I think this is the biggest thing that I found disappointing, the fact that the excitement wasn't there - the main thing about Grisham's work for me has always been how hard his books are to put down. Here, I found it easy to stop whenever I felt like it, not really that fussed about missing out. I know that I'm not the intended target audience for this book, and in a way this does change my opinion about the book and how good it is, but what it doesn't change is my enjoyment of it.
I would say that in terms of a book for younger readers, Grisham is to be commended for bringing his genre of legal thrillers to the table, but what was disappointing is the lack of excitement and how easy it was to put down. There are plenty of authors writing for younger audiences who manage to write thrilling tales, I'm just not sure whether this will rank alongside them. It's okay, but nothing special.
Summary: Grisham's first book for younger readers