Grisham, John. Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer
Theo loves the law, but not necessarily the real estate or divorce law that his loving and involved parents practice. He loves trial law, and hangs out at the local courthouse as much as he can. Theo's town, Strattenburg, has its first murder trial going on, and Theo is enthralled. He manages to get his history class permission to watch the opening day. He thinks that the man is guilty, but knows that the state does not have enough evidence for a conviction. When a classmate's cousin comes forward to Theo with not only an eyewitness account of seeing the murderer, but also with physical evidence, it's up to Theo to get this evidence before the court without putting the witness, an illegal alien, in danger.
The more I thought about this one, the more disappointed I became. Grisham is a facile writer, and this wasn't a bad book, but I don't know that it will really speak to teenagers. There is an overabundance of description-- teens (and I!) don't really care about the 70-year-old secretary at his parents' office and her wacky clothes. A dysfunctional uncle plays a small role, but again, he didn't add much to the story. The biggest problem is that nothing happens, and that is the most frequent complaint that students have. The book starts with a lengthy depiction of Theo eating breakfast, and the witness does not come forward until halfway through the book. There are a lot of descriptions of legal problems (bankruptcy, drug busts, springing a dog from the pound), which are vaguely interesting but irrelevant to the story. The final nail in the coffin is the fact that Grisham doesn't seem to understand teens. A 13 year old boy not interested in girls, because no one in 8th grade really is? Not everyone has cell phones? And the greatest indignity-- Theo goes to his uncle, who takes him to his parents, who then take him to the judge so that Theo can present the information he has. Please. Any teen hero worth his salt would just go to the judge directly. Theo needs to take a lesson from Alex Rider and take matters into his own hands.
Bloggers who felt the same way I did:
The Book Aunt
Nishita's Rants and Raves
Bloggers who liked it a little more:
Live Your Dream
With a Good Book