Wednesday, August 24, 2011

#BookReview: Ford County - John Grisham

A former attorney, John Grisham tends to write what he knows best, attorney centered fiction. It's my opinion that he shines most when he steps out of that box and writes about "regular" people. In his latest, Ford County, there are plenty of regular people.

Set in Ford County, Mississippi, this is a compilation of short stories (and you all know I'm a fan of short stories). Fans of Grisham will remember that Ford County was the setting for his first novel, A Time to Kill. Unlike the difficult subject matter of his first book, in Ford County there's a healthy mix of good, bad and indifferent characters blended together to create perfectly decent stories.

One of the funnier stories covers the adventures of three small town boys making a drive up to the big city of Memphis to give blood to a friend. Hilarity ensues and though the boys make it to Memphis, they never make it to their friend's hospital room. At the other end of the spectrum is the story of a young man dying from AIDS, shunned by his family and sent to live with a spinster on the other side of town. In between all of that, there's a modern day Robin Hood of sorts, working as an attendant at various nursing home all the while on the lookout for mistreatment of the elderly, ultimately for his own personal gain.

I've heard some say that short stories can be dangerous for writers, suggesting that it's the kiss of death. I would argue that this is some of John Grisham's finest writing.

What did you like about this book?
I love short stories because they don't require me to commit to a whole book if I'm not in love with the storyline. That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed this book of short stories because each story was so different, as were the characters in them. I would have been more than happy to read extended versions of most of them.

What did you dislike about this book?
Though there were some stories that I didn't like as much as others, I was pleased with the book as a whole.

What could the author do differently?
Absolutely nothing

320 pp
Published November 2009

Originally posted February 15, 2010.
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