Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer

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
Kim Werker
Nishita's Rants and Raves

Bloggers who liked it a little more:
Today's Adventure
Live Your Dream
With a Good Book


  1. thank you, thank you! I've been waiting for the official Ms. Yinling doesn't like it so you don't have to buy it stamp of disapproval! All the reviews I've seen are meh at best. When there are so many other cool books to buy, why would I waste my money on this one, just b/c the author has a name parents recognize?

  2. This is the second unfavorable review I've come across for this new Grisholm book. Thanks for the heads-up!

  3. Phew! Thought it was just me feeling ho-hum about this book. I just couldn't imagine a kid enjoying it unless they had a strange fascination with courtroom procedure! Was expecting more from Grisham.