Sunday Afternoon

There are few days of the week I like better than Sunday. By then, the house is clean, the laundry is done, there’s a whole afternoon before me in which to read.

I’m trying to finish The Appeal by John Grisham. In a word? Unappealing.

I’m normally a fan of his, considering The Firm as one of his best. (My son prefers The Painted House.) But, his irruption into nonfiction with The Innocent Man? Spare me. I couldn’t even finish it. I didn’t buy Bleachers, or Whatever It Is About Pizza, and so with great anticipation I picked up his latest legal thriller.

Thriller, it is not. Foray into the machinations of politics and legal manipulation? Most definitely.

The premise started out with a bang: 43 billion dollars awarded in punative damages to a lawyer team who had lost everything in the process of taking Krane Chemical to trial. This company had deliberately been dumping its waste into the water system of Bowmore, Mississippi, causing all kinds of cancer and death.

Like Crime and Punishment, or Wuthering Heights, there is an intense beginning only to be followed by details which drag. I’m nearing the last fifty pages of the book, and all I’ve read about is how Krane Chemical is buying a new Supreme Court Justice for a verdict in its favor. Grisham’s premise is that “as long as private money is allowed in judicial elections we will see competing interests fight for seats on the bench.” (p.358)

I feel like I’ve just earned some degree in business, or politics, rather than becoming immeshed within a legal thriller.

In other news, it appears Spring will in fact be coming. Did you know next Sunday is Daylight Savings Time again?

p.s. Several hours later I’ve finished the book. It does pick up substantially at the end, and the reader gasps as she realizes how many verdicts must be influenced by private investments. Really, it’s quite shocking, and now, in addition to losing my faith in government, I’ve lost my faith in the judicial system as well.

Posted by Picasa
Advertisements

22 thoughts on “Sunday Afternoon”

  1. Oh my goodness–day light savings already? Spring can't come fast enough for me! Sorry The Appeal is so unappealing I've only read a few of his books, but I've never felt compelled to read anymore of his work.

    Like

  2. I used to read everything by Grisham. Of course, that was back in the day when I read everything by D. Steele. Blech. It's been a long time since I picked up one of his novel. I did enjoy The Painted House (but then, I love baseball – and there was a beautiful baseball backdrop to the story), but one of his more recent (oh, 4 or 5 years ago) works left me fairly disgusted. The writing level is somewhere around 7th grade. I found the sentence structure a tad bit too simplistic. I hope this picks up for you. I don't mind brain-candy, but I can say never again to both Grisham and Steele. Yay!! Only 18 days until spring!!!!

    Like

  3. Trish, I definitely think his earlier works were superior. Now, he seems to be riding on his reputation.Les, I can't remember the last time I read a Danielle Steele. (High school?) Don't they seem like the same story, second verse? I admit, once in awhile it's nice to pick up something light, but I mean light not trite! When I'm looking for something fast and fun I generally turn to a mystery/suspense thriller (like our Parker!) first. Time for Spring/Birkenstocks! 🙂

    Like

  4. Yes, light is good. But it still has to hold my attention. I loved Grisham's early works. I think he's run out of steam. I was reading D. Steele pretty much until the early 90s when I discovered "literature." Not "literature" in the sense of classics, but the sort that makes on think and ponder and relish those ever-so-perfectly crafted sentences. Authors like Rohinton Mistry, Mary Doria Russell, Pat Conroy, etc. Like I said, I don't mind the occasional "fluff" but it still has to hold my attention.I am so ready to wear my Birks! We went for a nice long ride through the countryside yesterday. It was a whopping 67 with sunny, blue skies! Perfect weather for a motorcycle ride. Today we have freezing rain and snow. It's currently 34. Grrrrr.

    Like

  5. Les, I've not read Rohinton Mistry or Mary Doria Russell. I need to look those two up! But, I do like Pat Conroy (and Anne Rivers Siddons, who always reminds me of him probably due to the southern influence). A woman came into church today barefoot in sandals; she was pushing it a bit, because it was only 30 something here as well. Everyone in Illinois has been fighting a tremendous flu bug, and seems quite eager for the warm weather. Even I look forward to it, especially when you mention nice long rides!

    Like

  6. May I recommend A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry and either The Sparrow, A Thread of Grace, or Dreamers of the Day by Mary Doria Russell? All fabulous books! Too soon for these pale white feet to be out in public. Give me another 6-8 weeks. 🙂

    Like

  7. Now that you mention A Fine Balance I believe I saw my mother reading that a few years ago. I'll write these down, and head to the library. Right now I've picked up the choice for one of my book clubs: Mercy Among The Children (The Giller Prize, whatever that is) by David Adams Richards. It has all kinds of accolades, and I'll let you know what I think once I'm past page 30 or so. Don't speak to me of pale, white, winter feet! That's always the worst, getting prepared to be seen.

    Like

  8. I'm looking forward to getting out my Birks too. But is there something wrong with pale white feet? LOL! I'm pale white everywhere and all year long! ;)I used to read Grisham too. I think A Time to Kill was my favourite of his early books. I haven't read anything by him in years though. I think I still have a copy of The Painted House around here that I never read. Not sure I ever will get around to it now.

    Like

  9. My sister is a huge Grisham fan but I don't think I've read anything by him.One comment, however, on his 'money is corrupting judges' stand – supreme court justices are not elected. They're appointed by the president. Those of us in criminal justice have a saying – you get the justice you can afford. Look at the high profile people facing trial. They are, by no means, facing the every day judicial system of the average citizen.cjh

    Like

  10. Tanabata, I also really liked A Time to Kill. Wasn't that his first novel? It seemed he was a better writer earlier in his career. I haven't read The Painted House myself, but I did see the film, and my son loves the book.CJ, I hope I'm not confused about buying judges; perhaps he meant buying them for the higher court of the state of Mississippi…now I have to go double check. I do know that I was so annoyed at the politics, and the endless description of putting this 'bought' person into place that I did skim a bit (more than I should have no doubt). What you mention about the poor not having the advantages of the wealthy is such a sad truth. I guess that's one of the reasons why it's so necessary to live one's best life: above board. Especially for those rich who think they won't have to pay, or can pay and get off scott free.

    Like

  11. I, too, used to be a faithful Grisham reader. I remember when I read THE FIRM and I just sat there thinking, OK, this guy is going to go far. Well, he, like several others (Patricia Cornwell, etc.) lost me along the way. I was afraid that this one would be disappointing. It has circulated madly in the library but I don't think I will bother. He's just not on my list of must-reads anymore.

    Like

  12. I used to like Grisham too but am not really into the legal thriller genre. Find it too realistic I guess. When I get bogged down with a book I usually snap it shut. Can see you have more patience than me. I finally received a reserve library copy of "Three Cups of Tea." It's about one man's mission to promote peace… one school at a time. Will let you know if I like it.

    Like

  13. I have certainly learned to enjoy Sunday more and not allowed myself to think about the fact that work is on the doorstep. For that reason Saturday remains my favorite day of the week. I love getting up knowing the day is full of possibility and no matter what I do I still have one more day off from work!

    Like

  14. Kay, it does seem to be circulating wildly! I agree he's not on a "must read" status for me either, but I want to ask you, "Who is on your must read list?" That would be such an interesting post for the future. Hmmmm…Princess Haiku, you (like me friend Les) have the special ability to discard a book that isn't working for you. I, however, am compulsive about finishing what I start. Isn't that a waste of time? My mother read Three Cups of Tea and loved it, but I am finding books of the Middle East quite tedious right now; I've about had enough after reading The Kite Runner, Thousand Splendid Suns, The Swallos of Kabul, etc. Such woe in every one!Carl, the only reason Saturday isn't so cherished to me is due to all the chores I must accomplish on that day: laundry, cleaning, groceries, etc. I find myself counting the days until summer, though, because those days are such a gift from God to have off (even though I do love my job).

    Like

  15. It's nice that Grisham apparently wants to make a good point about legal ethics, but I think people would absorb the point better if he stuck to what he was originally so good and and made it entertaining. You can deconstruct the legal system all you want, but if it isn't a good read, it won't get read.I'm glad it at least picked up at the end.

    Like

  16. You know, I haven't read a Grisham in a long time. When he first came out, I devoured his books. Personally, I think my favorite is a Time to Kill. I also loved The Firm and The Rainmaker. I don't know why I put him aside though. Maybe I'll read this one.

    Like

  17. Heather, good point! His forte is entertaining, even if it is via the courtroom, and this sorely missed the 'engaging' aspect for me.Stephanie, I liked A Time to Kill too. (Wasn't that the one about the little girl's murder?) Oh, and I also REALLY liked The Testament for the aspect of tying in some Christian concepts with law. That's when the old man left nothing to his family, but everything to another cause…sorry to be so vague because it did really strike me at the time.

    Like

  18. You know, that's quite an interesting premise. Bet you a dollar it's aimed at International Paper. They routinely dump chemicals into the local water and then simply pay the fine. But, you know I've given up on Grisham. He's bored me to tears one too many times.

    Like

  19. Thanks for the review. I was going to pick this up this weekend, but you've saved me some dollars. If it's slow at the beginning, I'd never last until the part where it picks up at the end. :)One new legal thriller author I've found I really enjoy is James Ross. His newest, Lifetime Loser grabbed me right from the start and kept me hooked until the very last page. Thanks again for posting an honest review. 🙂

    Like

  20. Ruthie, I've not heard of James Ross, but I'll have to look him up as I'm crazy about thrillers. Thanks for the suggestion! This Grisham was just plain disappointing; I don't even remember it today, only a few months later.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s