Monday, 14 June 2010
Review: Theodore Boone by John Grisham
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Released: June 3rd, 2010
Grade rating: B
In the small city of Strattenburg, there are many lawyers, and though he's only thirteen years old, Theo Boone thinks he's one of them. Theo knows every judge, policeman, court clerk - and a lot about the law. He dreams of being a great trial lawyer, of a life in the courtroom. But Theo finds himself in court much sooner than he expected. Because he knows so much - maybe too much - he is suddenly dragged into the middle of a sensational murder trial. A cold-blooded killer is about to go free, and only Theo knows the truth. The stakes are high, but Theo won't stop until justice is served.
Before Theodore Boone, I hadn't read a single book by John Grisham. Not one. I'm thinking I probably should have done, because his tales of courts and laws are pretty fascinating. I'm not saying Theodore Boone is the best book I've ever read, but it was certainly different, and very, very interesting.
I don't know an awful lot about lawyers and their work, basically just what I learnt from watching 5 seasons of Ally McBeal. Thanks to Mr. Grisham, I now know more about the inside of a courtroom, as well as more about the US justice system and how everything works. I must say, I'm intrigued, but I won't be running out to pick up a gavel anytime soon.
What I loved about this book was 13-year-old aspiring lawyer Theo, and his passion for the job. He knew everything concerning the law, and even helped out his school friends in his spare time. The murder mystery element also kept me flipping the pages and, though it wasn't properly resolved, I got a good idea of how the future of the case would play out.
My main quibble with Theodore Boone was the decision to use a third person narrative. As a reader, I don't gel well with this style, and did find it quite hard to get into in this instance. I much prefer reading a character's thoughts and feelings from their own voice, rather than being told what they're experiencing through someone else's eyes. I'm in no way criticising the author's ability to write like this, because he does do it very well. It's just a personal narrative preference.
Overall, Theodore Boone is an unusual addition to YA lit, with an appealing plot of mystery and murder. I hope there are more books featuring Theo in the works, as I'd definitely like to read more fiction for teens by this author.