Books by Mississippi Writers 1996-2010
A novel by John Grisham Doubleday (Hardcover, $27.95, ISBN: 038550120X, 2/2001) For preternaturally prescient Lucas Chandler, the year 1952 is full of secrets―sweet, tragic, and mysterious. At 7, he still sleeps under the bed when he's scared and disappears behind his mother's skirts from time to time. But he's old enough to understand that prejudice, class rivalry (townies paint their houses; farmers don't), and violence are part of the fabric of his outwardly quiet farming community, and that he shouldn't be watching an unmarried teen give birth or pretty 17-year-old Tally bathing in the creek (even if she says it's okay). He also realizes that by confessing he's witnessed two vicious killings, he'll be threatening his family's livelihood and putting his loved ones in danger. Abandoning the political and courtroom venues of his popular thrillers, Grisham calls up the cotton fields of his native Arkansas for this somewhat unfocused coming-of-age story, which lacks the punch and cleverness of his other fiction. The characters rarely get beyond stereotypes (especially the Mexican migrant workers), even with respect to the 1950s bucolic setting, and narrator Lucas sounds far more like a 12-year-old than a second-grader. The measured, descriptive prose is readable, to be sure, and there are some truly tender moments, but this is surface without substance, simply an adequate effort in a genre that has exploded with quality over the last several years. ―Stephanie Zvirin. Booklist. Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved.