11 June 2010

Theodore Boone by John Grisham

Grisham Lite
“Why aren’t you eating?” his mother said, her chopsticks in midair.
“I am eating.”
“You seem preoccupied,” his father said. He used a fork.
“Yes, you do,” his mother agreed. “Something happen at the shelter?”
“No, just thinking about Julio and his family and how difficult it must be for them.”
“You’re such a sweet kid, Teddy.”
If you only knew, Theo thought.

Theodore Boone is thirteen years old and he knows more about the law than most lawyers in Strattenburg, a small city in the USA.
Like other books by John Grisham, this one is centred on suspenseful legal drama. The hero is a cute kid – a bit too cute, some might say. This book addresses a readership of both adults and children.
I've always felt that Grisham is an author that could be read by children. His language is straight, simple and clean, and he tends to avoid smut and graphic violence. And I’ve never missed a Grisham book, always hoping to catch some of the magic of the early ones which I enjoyed very much. To describe them, I would need to resort to clichés (“blockbuster”; “unputdownable”) – but I've been disappointed many times over in the last few years.

This book is a lot better than the last four or five. As a book for children, it covers various different family formats and also explains the basics of court procedure and etiquette as well as some common USA laws and their application. However, as a murder mystery it is a bit too tame and ends by rather craftily promising excitement in the sequel.

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