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Tom Chaney No. 264 review of Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer

Of Writers and Their Books. Book Review of Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer by John Grisham
The next earlier Tom Chaney column, a book review The Help by Kathryn Stockett

By Tom Chaney
Email: Tom Chaney

Cool Reading - Hot Summertime

I'm about tired of global warming.

According to the folks in the Downtown Philosophical Society at the round table in The Bookstore and all the news reports, it's hot everywhere and has been for some time.

The promise of the fires of hell has driven most reprobates in my circle to church for the first time in many a year - not just upon promise of more moderate weather in the hereafter, but the immediate access to Sunday morning air conditioning in the here and now, drawing 'em at least inside if not to the mourner's bench.

About the best cooling summertime activity I know is reading. I suggest that activity to all my friends even though they suspect a little greed on my part.

Two books come to mind that can be read in the shelter from heat. They are both mysteries and both by favorite writers.

I most recently finished David Baldacci's latest, Deliver Us From Evil. It is full of ancient Nazis of the second rank who are every bit as evil as their World War II bosses. There are two groups of Nazi hunters, each of which is as mean and determined as the other when they get on the scent of a Ukrainian killer whose techniques have been sharpened by the passing of some 70 years.

Baldacci has the requisite international chases -- enough to satisfy the most jaded reader of such works.

But the better of the two, Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer, is by John Grisham. Now I know that the production of John Grisham novels about lawyering has not slacked since his first, A Time to Kill, began an avalanche of some 24 books.

By the way, he says that the first is still his favorite.

Grisham, you may recall, started out to be a lawyer, then ran for office and was elected in his native Mississippi.

But, he said in an interview with the Telegraph of Great Britain, "I hated the voters. . . . I was never a very good lawyer. I became an indifferent lawyer because I wanted to be a writer."

But, sometime back, he was brought up short. "Back in the 1990's I was routinely introduced as the best selling author in the world. I tried to pretend like it was no big deal."

"Then along came Harry Potter and suddenly I was number two. I've got to tell you, I really miss being number one. I'm going to catch Harry one way or another."

Hence, Theodore Boone, 13-year-old child lawyer of Strattenburg who watches the court like a hawk, who solves crimes for Judge Gantry, and who finagles passes for his entire class to watch a trial.

In the meantime he finds a lawyer for a classmate whose parents are divorcing, and practices law to a fare-thee-well.

Some critics, mostly British, accuse Grisham of pandering to young folks.

I don't know how the teenaged ignabits take Theodore Boone, but I like him, and wish for more. Far better to have an amateur teenaged lawyer bustling about on his bike, than one who flies about on a broomstick or whatever vehicle it is that Harry Potter favors.

As for his change from lawyer to writer, Grisham opines, "My dream, like Theo, was to be a great lawyer but I realized very early on that you can not make money representing criminals. They steal for a reason."

The climate in The Bookstore is pleasant; the shelves are stocked with tens of thousands of cooling books; the chairs are comfortable.

Come. Browse. Read. Our promise is that you will not only be left alone, but will be protected from the harsh voice of responsibility from without.

Tom Chaney can be found telling stories, planning his next meal, and occasionally selling books at
Box 73 / 111 Water Street
Horse Cave, Kentucky 42749
Email: Tom Chaney

This story was posted on 2010-07-25 07:12:45
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