by John Grisham
Many "middle readers" have read the Theodore Boone books by John Grisham, but is his work suitable for the Young Adult reader? I tested this theory this month with my 8th grade book club. It is a small group. So small, in fact, that I can't divide them by genre. This fact forces us to get very clever with book selection. As a group we face the conflict between fantasy, non-fiction and realistic fiction.
This month, I suggested we give John Grisham a try. My thinking was that the fantasy kids might like the adventure and suspense and those more interested in real life, true or not, might appreciate the plot. The kids were agreeable to the author and chose The Firm for a starting place. I was pleased with the choice because I had read it before and seen the movie years ago. I must admit, I told them I was not ready to read A Time to Kill with them. It is my own hiccup. I am just not ready to face that kind of hate with a group of kids.
I downloaded the novel and listened, since it was technically a reread. The narrator didn't sound like I imagined Mitch sounding like (or was my view affected by Tom Cruises portrayals?). In any case, I was surprised by how much the book varied from the movie.
For those of you who haven't read the book or seen the movie, it is a legal thriller. Young Mitch, a recent law school graduate, is lured to Memphis by the money and promise of a secure future at a small law firm. Before you know it, he finds his life invaded, not only by the firm, but by the mob and his past, as well. There are many twists and turns, making the novel fast paced and fun to read. If your young adult likes the book, they should try the other legal thrillers by John Grisham. Some contain more adult themes, so you may want to supervise the selection. There are many, and they are a bit formulaic, but they are worth the time.