Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Confession by John Grisham......

I don't normally do book reviews or reports here, but since I've been an abysmal failure at keeping up with my online book club (sorry, folks!), I thought I might occasionally write a post about something I've read. It's not really a review, just more of a commentary.

I think I have read everything Grisham has written. Hubby got turned off pretty quickly, but personally I think it was because there wasn't enough shooting and enough people dying. Too much thought and introspection for Hubby's style. He reads voraciously (several books a week, unlike me, his English teacher wife), but he likes books with a lot of action. He says Grisham's books started having the same plot every time: small-time lawyer takes on the mega-law firm and prevails.

One of my favorite Grisham books was Skipping Christmas, which wasn't about the legal profession at all and hardly anyone died. Another favorite was Bleachers, about a legendary high school football coach and the players who gather to watch him die. The Innocent Man (not to be confused with "An Innocent Man," a song by Billy Joel) is nonfiction but reads like a novel. Grisham has an excellent command of the English language, and I really like his style.

I'm not going to spoil anything about The Confession, so don't worry if you are planning to read it. It is about a young man sentenced to death row after he is coerced into confessing a murder of which he is clearly innocent. I was left breathless reading about the young man's lawyer's race against the clock to obtain a stay of execution, particularly after someone else comes forward claiming to be the one who murdered the girl nine years prior. A sense of tragedy pervades the book as you realize that nine years of a young man's life have been wasted. I grieved over that fact until I reminded

Personally, I was a little turned off by the book by the time it ended. By that point it seemed less like a novel and more like a pamphlet aimed at making me feel a certain way about the death penalty. The fact that the novel takes place in Texas is a heavy-handed attempt to characterize the entire legal system as tragically and hopelessly flawed.

I'm not naive enough to expect every book to have a happy ending, or for the characters to feel/think/act the same way I would. I don't mind a book that makes me THINK, and I love one that makes me FEEL. But I felt like Grisham got on a moral soapbox in The Confession, and I got the feeling that if I didn't feel exactly the way he does, that I'm not worth his time.

I don't feel the way he does. But I'll leave that for another day.

1 comment:

DJan said...

I've read a few Grisham books, but not these. I like books that are more substantive than a thriller. I really like Atul Gawande's books. You might give him a try.