Wednesday, April 22, 2009

What does John Grisham have against his 'heroes/protagonists'?

Spoiler Alert – for anyone who has not read 'The Associate'

Just finished reading John Grisham's latest legal thriller, 'The Associate' (2009), and am fully convinced that Grisham has it in for all his central characters.

I mean after dragging his central character through hell that's the 'payoff' he gets?!?!? REALLY?!?!

OK I do realise I'm not giving away anything specific BUT saying that he (Kyle McAvoy –  the hero) kinda (mostly) gets the short end of the stick at the end kinda feels like I MIGHT be killing the experience for anyone who's reading this, before they've read the book.

Promotional/Cover art - 'The Associate'

BUT for anyone who's familiar with Grisham's work this should come as no surprise! He writes these 'everyday' heroes who are brilliant, self made and morally sound, puts them in a situation that's going to test every fibre of their being (and spirit) and then short changes them when it comes to the part where they should get rewarded and live happily ever after!

Cases in point?!?!?! Hmmm... let me think...

'The Firm' (1991) – sure Mitch 'gets away' but he's constantly looking over his shoulder isn't he?
'The Chamber' (1994) – his client is put to death but we did all see this coming... so it's a little bit all right... but still this fits in nicely with the point I am trying to make here so...
'The Rainmaker' (1995) – Rudy loses his interest in law... but arguably is better off as a person so... this one's iffy but still...
'The Partner' (1997)  – The money?!?!?! EXACTLY!!!!
hmmm... there should be more but my un-photographic memory fails me!

Oh sure... most do get a 'nice' ending BUT they're too 'everyday' for my tastes... for once [OK he's done it once in 'The Runaway Jury' (1996) so maybe more than once... maybe more than 30 percent of the time] I'd like to see them somewhat vindicated.

BUT having gone on a semi-rant there for a bit... 'The Associate' is a bordeline great read – not his best by a long shot but still better than most of the stuff I seem to be coming across these days...

Promotional/Poster art - 'The Firm' (1993)

Hmmm... I might go and read 'The Firm' again – loved it... and hold it responsible for making me a fan of Grisham AND the legal thriller genre in general.

AND, the film is not half bad either – one of the few times where a film has a better ending than the book! Not saying one's better than the other – BOTH good in different ways!


Hilath said...

I don't know how you can continue to read Grisham. I read only The Firm, then tried reading another book and found that a 'formula' is written all over his books and gave up! I have never regretted my decision. And you have just confirmed that it was a good decision. :-)

aindhy said...

Welll... my version of a light read I suppose - BUT they're not as formulaic as one might think... he does mix things up... sometimes...