Customer Reviews

652
4.4 out of 5 stars
The Rainmaker
Format: PaperbackChange
Price:$13.51 + Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

132 of 137 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
"The Firm" still remains John Grisham's best novel, but "The Rainmaker" is his funniest. I have never read a book that better managed to hit my funny bone straight on without tipping over the edge into farce (i.e., John Irving). This time around Grisham's hero is Rudy Baylor, in his final semester of law school and required by one of his professors to provide free legal advice at a Senior Citizens home. There he meets Miss Birdie, an old lady who apparently has millions of dollars salted away and who definitely needs a new will, and Dot Black, who's son Donny Ray is dying of leukemia while their insurance company refuses to pay for medical treatment. In the legal world a "rainmaker" is someone who brings in big clients (i.e., big money) to a law firm. When Rudy's future job suddenly disappears in the wake of a surprise merger, these cases might be his ticket to a promising legal career.
The villains are lawyers from a giant firm and a heartless insurance company, which is certainly stacking the deck but part of the fun. As with "The Pelican Brief" there is a bit of misdirection at the beginning in terms of getting a read on the main character. Rudy is broke and has some shady friends in the legal profession, but the bottom line is he is a good guy and he will do the right thing. Even if it means playing David against Goliath in a stacked courtroom where the presiding judge is best buds with the great Leo F. Drummond of the giant law firm Trent & Brent, representing the Great Benefits Insurance Company. But then Rudy gets a break. The presiding judge suddenly drops dead and his replacement, Judge Kipler, is a plaintiff's dream. Better yet, Rudy has the truth on his side.
The joy of this book is watching Rudy beat the bad guys. Every single lawyer's trick used by Drummond fails with Judge Kipler. Every dirty trick by the insurance company is exposed by Rudy, who comes up with some little twists of his own. Sure, all the rabbits getting pulled out of the hat is a bit excessive, but that is what makes this such a fun read. At the heart of this book is the quest for justice, but that does not mean we can not enjoy a little payback along the way. The romantic subplot between Rudy and Kelly comes across as something of a diversion from the main story, but at the end it gives the hero someone with whom he can ride off into the sunset. "The Rainmaker" is one of those books where you pick it up from time to time to read the good parts. If you saw the movie and enjoyed Rudy sticking it to the bad guys, then you should enjoy much more of the same in this novel.
11 commentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
Format: Mass Market Paperback
After 'A Time to Kill', and 'The Runaway Jury', 'The Rainmaker', is my third favourite John Grisham novel. These particular Grisham books all have one thing in common: courtroom drama.
There's nothing I like better than a David and Goliath story and that's just what Grisham delivers in 'The Rainmaker', in which he pits Rudy Baylor, a lawyer fresh out of law school, against Great Benefit Insurance and its lawyer Leo Drummond in a bad-faith claim lawsuit. What really made this book is the Black vs. Great Benefit case, and how an insurance company would bend over backwards to not get caught in its own lies.
Prior to the court case, the book goes into some detail about the life of Rudy Baylor, law student, and his struggles to get himself through school and into the labour market. However, this insight isn't really necessary and the book could've easily lost 50 pages without the reader noticing a difference.
The movie 'The Rainmaker', with Matt Damon as Rudy Baylor and Danny DeVito as Deck and John Voight as Leo Drummond, does an excellent condensed version of the book. It's time well spent on either reading the book or watching the movie.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on July 25, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I often wonder; if Grisham can write this well, why aren't the rest of his novels anywhere near as good as this one? Is it laziness? Or was he finally writing about something he cared about?
Of the two, my guess would be the latter. One of the things I am struck by when I read the Rainmaker (and I have done so quite a few times, much to my own amazement) is the emotional content. Grisham has always been about plot more than character, but that doesn't seem to be the case here. Every person in this book hits exactly the right notes to become real.
The main character, Rudy Baylor, starts out as a third-year law student who just wants to do his job, collect a paycheck, and retire as soon as possible. But along the way he is formed into a kind of crusading knight by his first client; Donny Ray Black, a young man dying of leukemia. He should be covered by an insurance policy, but the insurance company won't pay up. Rudy takes it upon himself, not to save Donny Ray, but simply to see justice done.
Another thing I was struck by was the lack of thriller elements. There is no surprise ending, there is no cheap gimmicks. Grisham does not clutter his story with the usual questions of "will they win the case/championship/battle." Nobody's life is seriously in danger (except Donny Ray, and it's made pretty clear at the beginning that it's already too late for him). Instead, Grisham turns his attention to insurance companies in an expose not unlike Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle", about the Chicago meatpacking industry in 1906. We learn about murky accounting practices, cold-blooded corparate decisions designed to swindle people out of the smallest amounts of money, and a company who is willing to hide documents and buy off or fire their own employees in order to allay the firestorm they know is coming.
I don't suppose that sounds familiar to anyone, does it?
Grisham has written a remarkable, powerful, absorbing, educating novel. If only the rest of his work was up to snuff.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
47 of 55 people found the following review helpful
on January 11, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I think I understand some of the enthusiasm for The Rainmaker; I too found that I wanted to keep reading, that the plot was energetic enough to push me through the pages. When I read overall praise of the book, however, I'm baffled. It was entertaining, but very flawed. I found the characters flat and dimensionless, and never even felt as if I had a sense of protagonist Rudy Baylor. He seemed a living stereotype-- the bright, well-meaning, down on his luck, little-guy lawyer, blue-collar background, who takes on "the man" in one of his many incarnations: an enormous white-collar corporate conspiracy. Satisfying, but hardly original. There was no greater depth to either Rudy's character or the conflict; both were kept on a simple, surficial level, one most conducive to a fast-paced plot.
Indeed, most of the characters were slightly embellished stereotypes, were vehicles for plot and never real people. Rudy's bosses were the heart-of-gold petty criminals; the opposing lawyers were Ivy League money-grubbers, etc., etc. The girl, Kelly, came off the worst. I found sitting through the patronizing relationship between Kelly and Rudy sickening-- Grisham and feminism ought to be on bad terms after this book. She was a battered woman whom Rudy set out to rescue, but she was never given any autonomy or a character of her own. She was only an idea, a helplessness embodied, a vehicle by which we were meant to see Rudy's chivalry and good-heartedness. The scenes of him dispensing advice to her, with a total disrespect for the person she might have been, the way she coped with her situation (which was of course far out of his understanding), were wretched. But, like any good cardboard cut-out, she obediently fell in love with him and seemed grateful for his condescension.
The book was, as I said, satisfying, amusing, but too easy. Grisham took the easy way out at every step. We never had to think about sympathizing with the bad guys; we never had to contemplate the ethical dilemmas before us, because the 'right' answer was always clear. We didn't have to struggle through the inner conflicts of the characters because there weren't any such conflicts and there were barely any characters. If you're home sick, The Rainmaker is a fine choice. But for substance look elsewhere.
33 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Format: Mass Market Paperback
After The Firm, John Grisham stumbled through low quality efforts The Pelican Brief, The Client & The Chamber. He got away from crisp writing and strong character studies of his first two books and threatened to lapse into hackdom. On The Rainmaker, he gets back to those original traits. Rudy Baylor is a young lawyer who looses his job with a promising firm and has no other prospects. He worked at a bar where shady characters frequented and the owner who likes him hooks him up with a small law firm. It is a less than scrupulous firm, with an ambulance chasing attitude. Rudy is schooled in the art of hanging around hospitals from Deck, a squirrelly little guy. In the meantime he moves into an apartment over the garage of a lonely old widow, Miss Birdie. He tends to her yard and starts working with her on her will. He also gets a case for a young man whose dying and his health insurance company refuses to pay for his medical treatments. While hanging around the hospital, he meets Kelly, who turns out to be a victim of spousal abuse. He gets involved with her while working on his cases. The case against the insurance company is a classic David vs. Goliath scenario. Mr. Grisham expertly weaves all these plot lines together and keeps the pages turning with bright, vivid and entertaining writing. The Rainmaker is the best book of his career.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on March 19, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Rainmaker is probably one of John Grisham's most entertaining books. The pages will turn faster than lawyers can scribble on legal pads in this one, the story of young lawyer Rudy Baylor. An interesting look at the world of law, what young lawyers must go through, and what they must overcome to be successful. With Baylor, Grisham's takes us on a joyride of constant up and downs. And a classic battle of David Vs. Goliath emerges when the to say the least "green" Baylor, barely out of law school, takes on Insurance Godzilla Great Benefit. Baylor is interesting as the lead character, but more interesting are the supporting characters. Deck, Rudy's "Paralawyer", Kelly Rifer, Rudy's new found love, and my favorite character, Leo Drummond, the notorious "in charge" Lawyer for Great Benefit. The Rainmaker is a bit predictable (the verdict that is) and after things are hard at first in the trial for Baylor, things get a little bit too easy. The insurance lawyers fold a little too easily. I believe in real life, Baylor would have had quite a bit more problems on his hands. I liked The Rainmaker the film, perhaps even better than the novel, because things were more difficult in the courtroom for Rudy. Jon Voight is also outstanding as the part of Leo Drummond in the film. I additionally felt the novel was about 40 pages too long and should have ended differently. Yet The Rainmaker, besides a few complaints, is an absorbing, page turning read in which you'll find yourself reading the last page of a lot sooner than you thought you would.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on January 14, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Rudy Baylor has nothing. He delivered pizzas and waited tables to get through college and law school. He passed the bar, and got his licence - and one interesting case in a throwaway class in his last year at law school.

Circumstances force him into ambulance chasing with a man who never passed the bar. But Rudy's one case is legal dynamite. His clients were the victims of a bad-faith case that is textbook. He has the dirt, and has the witnesses that has the dirt. He has a favorable judge. He is even smart enough to know how to turn the defendent's high priced lawyers into unwitting shills for his case.

Maybe being a rookie with nothing to lose worked in his favor. He had no money, no professional reputation, or anything else to lose. The trial scenes are amazing. The green kid, the rookie, absolutely humilates the defendants, as well as the best legal defense money can buy. Trust me, they wre rueing the day that he was ever born.

Yeah, Grisham rigged the facts, the evidence, and everything to favor the rookie... in short a case any trial lawyer would love, combined with the favorable judge. It's still fun. I have to say though, if Grisham could rig the trial in Baylor's favor, he could rig the outcome. Maybe the point is that his client got the justice she deserved, I have to feel her lawyer should have walked away from it all with the money. Still, he got the girl - and maybe that was enough. Along with the knowledge he quit being on top.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on May 14, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I must say I enjoyed reading John Grisham's novel, The Rainmaker. Of all the Grisham novels I have had the pleasure of reading, it is my favorite. He does an excellent job of portraying the lowly everyday working man who never loses sight of his dream despite obstacles.
The protagonist, Rudy Baylor, is a poor rookie lawyer who seems to always get shafted. Grisham presents many subplots to keep his reader guessing as to which direction the novel will go. The beginning reminds me of a soap opera, in that it bounces from scene to scene leaving loose ends full of suspense.
While participating in a class project, Rudy happens upon a woman whose child was diagnosed with leukemia. Their insurance company refuses to cover the cost of a bone marrow transplant that would save the boy's life. As a law student, Rudy is instructed to develop their case. Additionally, Grisham has Rudy involved in a case dealing with a widow, Ms. Birdie, who presumes that her estate is worth millions. Acting on that presumption, she has Rudy disinherit her children in her will due to their lack of interst and care for her. Once Grisham reveals that Ms. Birdie does not have the money that she claims, it becomes obvious that the case against Great Benefit Insurance Company will be the focus of the novel. Much like other Grisham novels, the story begins to get predictable. The pace and excitement slows to a near halt.
At this point, the novel changes direction from suspense to drama, though it continues to be equally enjoyable. After Rudy overcomes many obstacles throughout the novel, Grisham develops a character who triumphs over a corporate giant through a string of lucky breaks.
Grisham succeeds in having the reader become a part of this masterpiece. I felt as though I was experiencing, first-hand, what Rudy was going through. It is truly a work of art that I recommend for reading.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"The Rainmaker" is one of Grisham's better novels ("The Firm" still remains my favorite by Grisham). It is the story of a young law student-then lawyer who is trying to make it in the legal profession; specifically, in the world of small-time civil litigation. Young Rudy Baylor lucks into a fairly big-time case, and the fun begins.
Grisham gives us a cynical, funny, and mostly authentic look at the law. Oh, there are a few flaws. I doubt many judges would ever favor one side as much as the judge did in this novel, although I suppose such things happen (I've seen it once.) But overall, Grisham gives the reader a more or less accurate look at the world of civil litigation. This give the novel a gritty sense of realism that carries the reader through what is mostly an excellent read. There are some hilarious pieces to the story--I love that "paralawyer" guy. And Grisham's cynical portrayal of big firm lawyers hits the mark. This is a very funny book.
One of Grisham's better ones. By the way, the novel is quite a bit better than the movie.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on August 31, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Ok, granted I haven't read a ton of Grisham. But I have read a good amount and this is by far the best I've read from him. I tore through it in about 2 days.

The basic plot was enough to keep me interested. The sub-plots only made things that much more interesting. The love story isn't overdone and fits nicely. I also love the way Grisham makes no apologies for Rudy's seemingly unrealistic good fortune. He's a likable kid who knows he isn't really worthy of being in the situation he's in. Things have fallen into place for him and he knows it. This story line could cause the reader to throw the book down screaming, "Oh come on!" But Grisham makes sure this isn't the case.

The courtroom drama itself plays out in such a way that it never becomes boring. One thing I don't like about some authors is that they often seem to think their reader is fascinated with the same technical details they are (e.g. Clancy and his endless descriptions of ships and guns and such). Grishman interjects enough technical explanations of the legal system to explain things and keep it interesting. He never once goes too far. Through the 500+ pages of this book, I never once put it down because I was growing bored of it.

As a disclaimer, I haven't seen the movie. I suspect the book is much better, but if you have seen it and already know what's coming next, it may ruin the book for you.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
     
 
Customers who viewed this also viewed
The Firm: A Novel
The Firm: A Novel by John Grisham (Paperback - August 25, 2009)
$9.99

The Last Juror: A Novel
The Last Juror: A Novel by John Grisham (Mass Market Paperback - March 27, 2012)
$9.74

The Partner: A Novel
The Partner: A Novel by John Grisham (Paperback - February 28, 2012)
$9.60
 
     

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.

Your Recently Viewed Items and Featured Recommendations 
 

After viewing product detail pages, look here to find an easy way to navigate back to pages you are interested in.