Monday, 14 June 2010

Review: Theodore Boone by John Grisham

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Format: Hardcover
Released: June 3rd, 2010
Grade rating: B

Amazon summary:

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.


Luisa at Chicklish said...

Great review! I've read some of John Grisham's adult novels and I'm intrigued by his first teen novel. It's good to hear all about it. (And I never realised you didn't get on so well with third person narratives - interesting!)

Kate Evangelista said...

It's almost like Doogie Howser MD, except for lawyers. :-) Ah, John Grisham, never afraid to take a piece of the market for himself.

Alyssa Kirk @ Teens Read and Write said...

So another adult author hopping on the YA bandwagon. Well, it doesn't sound terrible. Glad you enjoyed it.

Carla said...

I really am liking the sound of this one, because i read RRRunaway Jury a few years back and i really really loved it. i love how he describes the courtroom and analyses everything with his words. i think this is something that i would prbably really love. rock on

jenny wilson said...

great review. I love John Grisham. He was on the One Show last week and there was something really fascinating about the author that i just couldn't put my finger on

Jill of The O.W.L. said...

Thanks for the review. I've read a couple of his adult novels, but couldn't get into them. I'm curious if my students will take to this one. I showed them the book trailer and talked about it, but they didn't seem too interested. I'll be fun to see how it goes.

So Many Books, So Little Time said...

Great review! I haven't read anything by John Grisham so I'm very intrigued to give this a go.

Jesse Owen said...

Ooh, Ooh! I heard about this on The One Show the other day and had been meaning to find out what it was called - great review.

Becky said...

I found this one to be so much fun. It sounds like you found it to be more educational. Isn't that interesting?! I actually liked the third person narrative for me it was like listening to someone tell Theo's story. Cool thoughts!

Lauren said...

Hey! Kate Evangelista said exactly what I was going to say! lol

Honestly, I think I know as much as you did about lawyers... and from the same source. (They have unisex bathrooms and break into song a lot, right?) This does sound really unusual, and I can actually think of a teenage relative who would probably love this. Thanks for the heads up!