Title: The Client
Author: John Grisham
What's it about?
Mark Sway has more resting on his shoulders then any eight year old should ever have. His "ex father" is out of the picture and his mother works hard to make ends meet, often leaving Mark's eight year old brother Ricky in the hands of Mark, though Mark would much rather Ricky be his responsibility then to have his abusive father around again.
But then, one afternoon everything in his life changes in a whirlwind of fear and the unknown. One minute Mark was teaching his brother how to smoke (only because Ricky caught Mark smoking and Mark couldn't convince his brother to leave it alone) and the next minute they were watching a big man try to kill himself...or at least Ricky was. Mark was trying to stop it. But, as pure as Mark's intentions to save a life were, Jerome "Romey" Clifford was not appreciative at all and pulls Mark into his car in an attempt to kill Mark with the same gas he was pumping into his car to kill himself. And, since they were both on their way to death, Romey decided to share a few deadly secrets with mark in the process. But Mark didn't die. He wiggled his way out of emotionally charged car and to safety while Romey decided not to wait any longer and found another way to take his life. After his brother slips into a state of shock after witnessing something so traumatizing and Mark calls the police, the ride begins and Mark desperately wants to get off!
Soon Mark finds himself spending too much time at the hospital as his brother is treated for his fragile mental state he has succumbed to and Mark is the topic of conversation withing the mafia. His life is on the line and, like it or not, the only person he can trust is his lawyer, a fifty something, tough as nails woman who is ready to fight feircly for the rights, and life of her newest client.
Characters: This time, I think I have three. The first one is Mark. He's young but he's brave, courageous, strong, fierce all while being naive, terrified and willing to cry. There's a balance to him that intrigues me and makes me love him. For every moment I started to question his age, he'd say something like, "I saw it in a movie once" or do something like start to cry or grab his lawyer, Reggie's hand for comfort and it just melts my heart.
I also really liked Ms. Reggie Love. She was sweet, tough, funny and had a heart of gold. I love her dedication to protecting kids because they can't fight for herself and her lack of concern for money. She was strong and fierce, characteristics that, I get the feeling, she didn't always have, but had developed over the course of her not-so-easy life. She was witty and sly, but not so much so that she felt bigger then life because of that. She felt larger then life because she was so loving and nurturing and sincere. She believed in fighting for what was right.
Judge Harry Roosevolt concludes my list of my favorite character. I know, this is the third I've mentioned in the spot of "favorite" but I can't help it! His honor was this mix of hard butt and affectionate. He believed in the kids and, though he had been in the juvenile judicial system for many years, he had yet to reach the point of blanket criticism. He wanted what was best for Mark and had, maybe a little too much, fun poking jabs at the adults in his court room with their own agendas. I just found him very hard not to love.
Least Favorite Character: This one is easy. The Blade. He's heartless, egotistical, cocky and cruel. I understand the whole "raised in organized crime" thing, but my hatred peeked when he started talking about killing people as if it was choosing a desert at a restaurant. "Oh, that dish will take too long and you're not even sure it's possible? I'll just take this one instead. Oh, yea...you're right. That one might not agree with my stomach. Too rich. Well, there's always the next dish on the menu. What about that? It's a classic!" No. Just no! You can't pull out a menu of people to kill and just go down the list like it doesn't even matter, like it's just a past time for amusement to fulfill your cravings. Of course, this level of dislike just means that Mr. John Grisham did his job.
Favorite Part: This one's another hard one for me. I enjoyed the first court date in which Judge Roosevelt assets his dominance over the others in his court room. I also liked when Reggie put the other lawyers and law reinforcement officers in their places with cunning and whit that just brought a smile to my face.
Least Favorite Part: The end. There. I said it. I won't say much more, though as I don't want to leak spoilers, but the end, while emotional, kind of left me feeling abandoned. I'm still kind of questioning if some pages didn't get stealthy removed form the back of my book. (rest assured, they didn't I've checked and there is no evidence to suggest such an attack.)
Any other thoughts?
I remember watching this movie when I was a kid and really liked it. I remember thinking that I wanted this book to be my first Grisham novel and, so, when I got my hands on this book, I was really excited to make that plan a reality. I haven't watched the movie in a long time (though I hope to again soon) so I could be misremembering it,but I felt like the movie was more suspenseful then I found the book. Maybe it's because I know the story well enough that I wasn't surprised by much, or maybe I had unrealistic expectations based on this movie I used to love. Now, that doesn't mean that I didn't like this book. I did. It just wasn't what I expected and i was disappointed that I didn't love it more.
Before picking up this book, I feared that Mr. Grisham would be a little too technical for my tastes, especially since many of the stories I've been exposed to by him were legal. I was pleasantly surprised to see that it wasn't. While much of the story was based in legal matters, it was done in a way that you understood what was going on and learn new concepts as you go. I didn't feel like I needed a law degree to follow what was going on.
I also had doubts about a story about an eleven year old kid. I've read some books who centered around a child really well, and others who didn't seem to understand children at all, the ladder more common in writers who write adult books. Thankfully, Mr. Grisham seemed to understand that, in this story, Mark had to have a maturity about him. He had to have this air of being the man of the house about him, but still have a large chunk of his childhood. He could know things, but not too many and, if he did know things, like about lawyers, he needed to have learned it from somewhere that made sense for an eleven year old kid. Mark needed to be strong and brave, but not too much. Somehow, this was balanced pretty well!
Overall, I enjoyed this book, though I don't think it will go on my list of books to read again and again.
What would I rate it?
I give this book a
3 out of
But, that's just what I thought! What did you think? Did you like Mark? Was it to legal for you? What would you rank it? Let us know in the comments!