119 of 124 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't Miss This One!
No, it is not the typical John Grisham suspense novel, but this book gave me a greater appreciation for Grisham and his writing abilities. A PAINTED HOUSE is a work of literary fiction that shows Grisham has a command of more than the tried and true lawyer/suspense formula and is darn good at it. I have read some of the unfavorable reviews and have to guess that these are...
Published on February 3, 2001 by Mike Donovan
24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars That's It?
I found this story to be unimaginitive and somewhat predicitable. Grisham's characters are the stereotypical "southern" family - from the grandfather who is aloof in his affections and stern in his "ruling" of the family to the mother who wants more out of life and is unhappy with the way the family lives. It is hard to believe that the narrator is...
Published on June 28, 2001
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119 of 124 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't Miss This One!,
No, it is not the typical John Grisham suspense novel, but this book gave me a greater appreciation for Grisham and his writing abilities. A PAINTED HOUSE is a work of literary fiction that shows Grisham has a command of more than the tried and true lawyer/suspense formula and is darn good at it. I have read some of the unfavorable reviews and have to guess that these are people who rarely venture out of the "reading comfort zone" of popular fiction. Grisham in suspense mode is great, as is Baldacci, Patterson and others. But, there is a whole other world of great writing and Grisham has dared to venture into the serious world of true-blue literary fiction.
The story is narrated by seven year-old Luke Chandler, the son of an Arkansas family renting and farming in 1952 Arkansas. To say Luke "grows up" between the covers would be an understatement. Luke tells us a story of cotton pickers that will have you feeling every possible emotion, right along with young Luke. No, there are no slick lawyers or beautiful law students in A PAINTED HOUSE, but there ARE plenty of wonderful characters that come to life on the pages of this Grisham classic. To stay away from this John Grisham novel because it is not "typical" Grisham, would not be giving yourself enough credit for being able to appreciate a great author, and his work, because he is not writing something that is ready-for-the-screen. Trust the man who brought us THE FIRM, THE PELICAN BRIEF and others to keep you entertained in a different genre, to be sure, but entertained and mesmerized nonetheless. Do yourself a favor -- suspend your judgement about "literary fiction" -- and don't miss this one!!
47 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Hard Life Through Young Eyes,
As an ex-country boy, now living in the city, A Painted House really struck a chord with me. Farm life is tough. The people who live on farms have to be tougher or they won't survive. I felt John Grisham captured this observation beautifully.
We look at cotton farming in Arkansas in the 1950s during harvest. We experience the many different apprehensions involved with this season. That of hiring hill folk and the Mexicans, what the weather will do, whether the price will be high or low, will the Cardinals have a winning season.
The big strength of this book is the way the characters are brought to life so wonderfully. We experience their joys over simple pleasures such as sitting on the verandah listening to baseball, the loneliness of farm-life, despair of ever finishing harvest, wariness of the strangers employed, intermingled with the acceptance of the life they lead.
Sure it's not what you'd normally expect from a Grisham book and yes, we're not glued to our seats with heart-hammering courtroom drama, but so what? We experience the drama of racing to bring the crop in, the troubles that come from mixing people of different backgrounds together, and life on the land as it was in the 1950s.
I can't recommend this book highly enough for anyone who enjoys looking back on simpler times.
120 of 135 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Painted House,
I have read every one of Grishams books. You could call me a real fan. I read this book in Oxford Magazine, and I found only one fault in it. It was to short. Yes, it is much different than anything else he has written, but so what, it is a great, yes great book. I can't wait until my 15 year old daughter gets time to read it. I see it as a classic for almost any school kid. Told from the view of this 7 year old boy on a poor farm, it had me from page one, and while it was not a great thriller it was a great story that could not have sounded more real. Do yourself a big time favor and don't pass up this wonderfully told story.
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Luke's Story,
Luke is a wonderfully mischevious seven year old boy growing up in rural Arkansas during the time of the Korean War. He lives with his mother and father and his father's parents in a small unpainted house on a farm. They are cotton farmers. When cotton picking time arrives, Luke's quota for the day is 50 pounds. This story is told through Luke's experiences of watching the adults worry about the weather, the price of cotton, hiring Mexicans and Hill People to help pick cotton and through his part in a struggling proud family who all live, work, and worry together.
Any reader who has ever known a seven year old boy will love Luke as he narrates the hiring of the Mexicans and watches the hill people move in and camp in his front yard right over home plate. Luke's ambition is to grow up and become a baseball player for the Cardinals in St. Louis. As you read through the days of cotton picking and some difficult adult situations that Luke sees happen, you hope that all his dreams will come true and he will be able to get away from the hardships he has witnessed.
Grisham does not need a courtroom and a chase scene to write a memorable book with characters that will come to mind again and again. I have enjoyed his legal thrillers, but A Painted House offers up a beautiful sensitivity that proves he can write just as well when he reaches out to a new format.
33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not What You Expect...But Better,
I like many people first thought that this book was not going to be a good book. I mean, think about it, Grisham, not writing a Legal Thriller? That's his masterpiece work, why change? But you have to give this book a chance. I went out this morning and bought the book and just finished reading it. This book is definetely a book to add to your John Grisham collection. Even though sometimes it doesn't have same suspense of a legal thriller it has its' own way of manuevering your mind to the extent that you can't put it down. This is another great book by John Grisham!
44 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good,
By A Customer
A change of pace, but not quite as much as the reviews would have you believe. The tone is not that dissimilar from other Grisham novels, and it is still a thriller (probably the best thriller I've read since Craig Furrnas' THE SHAPE) involving a murder, which is very Grisham. And it takes place in the South. So I recommend it highly.
28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A painted House - Grisham at his best,
Steering away from the law genre of his previous novels and going back to his roots, Grisham has written what i consider to be his best book yet.
Set in 1950's rural Arkansas, our protagonist and hero, 7 year old Luke, becomes enveloped in a world he knows nothing about. When the 'Hill people' and the Mexicans come to work on Luke's farm, picking cotton, Luke's idealistic world changes into one where violence and brutality seem quite normal. But somehow Grisham pushes this to the background, and instead stuns the reader with an evocation of a land and life he knew as a child. Perhaps he is, in a way, recounting some event of his own childhood, for we come to know little Luke and his family, the beautiful girl he is in love with and the violent men who stain his life, as if they were real. You turn page after page, desperate to know what will happen next, not wanting to leave Luke's world for a second. And whem you do finish the book, it's almost as if you've lost something very dear to you, for you have become a part of little Luke's life - you share his laughter, you share his pain, you understand his confusion. For those of you who thought that a change from break-neck speed law novels would provide less interesting reading, you will be sorely disappointed. Another cracking read from a cracking writer.
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Unexpectantly Excellent Read!!!!,
My mother and I exchange books frequently. Usually they consist of thrillers and mysteries by Patterson, Grisham, Chrichton, and Koontz. When she handed me the new John Grisham book, 'A Painted House', I was excited to have a new book by one of my favorites. Ten pages into the book, I was convinced that this was not the Grisham I had come to know through books like 'The Firm' and 'A Time to Kill'. I called my mother and she told me to "give it a chance." So, I did. Reading this book has proved to me that people can be things that you don't expect them to be. I know Mr. Grisham to be an excellent writer of thrillers, but who would have thought that he could bring us this pastoral story of a farm through the most honest eyes of a seven-year old boy? If you miss this book, don't worry, one day your children will be forced to read it by their English teacher.
26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Different- but good,
An interesting concept. It is a refreshing change of pace from the usual tension-packed danger-fraught legal drama we're used to. However, the narrative is by no means slow or ponderous. The unique point of view makes the reader see the whole book from a different angle. And while Mr. Grisham keeps to his promise that there will not be a single lawyer in the book, there is plenty of drama to go around. Overall, a unique approach to an often unexplored part of America. Well done, Mr. Grisham, you have renewed my faith in your writing ability, as well as provided me with a damn fine read.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars the painted house,
I'd gotten a little disappointed in Grisham lately because I thought his writing had become second rate. This was a delightful book, sure not the "usual Grisham you were expecting. But what a well written slice of our past in America
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A Painted House by John Grisham (Paperback - February 3, 2004)