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The Street Lawyer by John Grisham
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The Street Lawyer (original 1998; edition 1999)

by John Grisham

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6,94572519 (3.47)42
Member:sunnydrk
Title:The Street Lawyer
Authors:John Grisham
Info:Bantam Books (1999), Mass Market Paperback
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
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The Street Lawyer by John Grisham (1998)

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Showing 1-5 of 66 (next | show all)
I am re-reading some old John Grisham books that I enjoyed the first time round to see if my perspectives have changed in 10-15 years...

The Street Lawyer was a favourite in the past. It tells the story of Michael, a wealthy lawyer climbing the ladder at a prosperous firm, Drake and Sweeney. His marriage is in trouble but he surrounds himself with work, competing with his soon to be ex-wife. Who is the most ambitious and who will earn the most money? But in a dramatic turn of events, Michael finds himself held hostage by a homeless person that his firm had been involved in evicting from a "squatters site." Life intact, Michael sees the emptiness of all of the things he has been seeking and sets about making some changes.....

I think I will never be able to give a Grisham book less than three stars as I always enjoy them for the story alone. However, this book had me thinking on a different level this time around. What Grisham is presenting here is basically a call to action to help the homeless or what Christians might call a social Gospel but without the Gospel. This would be fine for a secular author but Grisham claims he is a Christian with a deep private faith.

Grisham suggests through his novel that meeting the physical needs of a person will completely fulfill them. That feeding, clothing and sheltering people should be the goal of all those in a position to help financially and by giving time. Jesus tells us to help those in need and he had a special heart for the poor. God condemns those who neglect or abuse the poor and demands impartiality and justice. But that is not enough and doesn't get to the heart of a person's problems in life. It will not be the fulfillment they are looking for if they are not also told the truth about Jesus.

I feel strongly about this issue as many are providing help without hope around the world. A focus on earthly matters does not prepare someone for eternity. This novel, still a page turner, left me feeling empty on second reading--there is no mention of God unlike some of Grisham's other books. I also struggled with the way the main character's marriage dissolved as if it was inevitable.

The novel does highlight the meaninglessness of wealth and the purposelessness of climbing the corporate ladder. There is a little bad language, no sexual content and limited violence. Grisham fans will enjoy this book but maybe Christians should have a different perspective. For further discussion about help without hope see my posts below:

http://christianmissionaryuk.blogspot.co.uk/2017/03/is-gospel-answer-to-every-pr...
http://christianmissionaryuk.blogspot.co.uk/2015/06/help-without-hope-ultimate-t... ( )
  sparkleandchico | Jun 2, 2017 |
His stories are easy to read. This one was a bit predictable but well written as always. ( )
  Neale | Mar 7, 2017 |
Michael Brock gives up a lucrative practice at a prestigious DC law firm and becomes an advocate for the homeless as a street lawyer. Filled with realistic characters this is a well written book. ( )
  lewilliams | Dec 24, 2016 |
Michael is a lawyer in a big American firm and climbing his way up to a bigger position with the associated salary and sees nothing changing that. However everything changes when a homeless man forces his way in with a gun and takes several people hostage including Michael. Who is he and what does he have against this particular company?

Michael decides to investigate and finds himself in the world of the homeless which is totally out of his comfort zone.

This book follows the usual Grisham mould of a lawyer forced to reconsider his life choices and does it well.

Everday people live without knowing where they will sleep or where the next meal is coming from and this book gives an insight into the struggles faced by them. Michael is somewhat idealistic at times but through the book gets to know what his real values and priorities are. ( )
  Northern_Light | Dec 20, 2016 |
I like Grisham books because they are easy reads and he takes a subject and delves deep, teaching his readers along the way.
The message I got from this book is that people who work hard and make money should feel guilty about 'homeless' people who don't want to own an alarm clock and don't like the restraints of having to be somewhere - like work - at a particular time.
The government doesn't give people who work handouts so I'm more for cheering on the workers rather than the druggies, alcoholics, thieves and the downright lazy.
Sorry Mr Grisham I'm not recommending this one - except to the bleeding hearts.
I'm giving it 3 stars because the writing was good and there is nothing between "I liked it" "I didn't like it". Hello, editors .... not the first time I've commented on the deficient star rating.
( )
  GeneHunter | Mar 13, 2016 |
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Salojärvi, HeikkiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0385339097, Paperback)

John Grisham is back with his latest courtroom conundrum, The Street Lawyer. This time the lord of legal thrillers dives deep into the world of the homeless, particularly their barely audible legal voice in a world dominated by large, all-powerful law firms. Our hero, Michael Brock, is on the fast track to partnership at D.C.'s premier law firm, Sweeny & Drake. His dream of someday raking in a million-plus a year is finally within reach. Nothing can stop him, not even 90-hour workweeks and a failing marriage--until he meets DeVon Hardy, a.k.a. "Mister," a Vietnam vet with a grudge against his landlord--and a few lawyers to fry. Hardy, with no clear motive, takes Brock and eight of his colleagues hostage in a boardroom, demanding their tax returns and interrogating them with a conviction that would have put perpetrators of the Spanish Inquisition to shame. Hardy, a man of few words and a lot of ammunition, mumbles cryptically, "Who are the evictors?" as he points a .44 automatic within inches of Brock's face. The violent outcome of the hostage situation triggers an abrupt soul-searching for the young lawyer, and Hardy's mysterious question continues to haunt him. Brock learns that Hardy had been in and out of homeless shelters most of his life, but he had recently begun paying rent in a rundown building; that means he has legal recourse when a big money-making outfit such as Sweeny & Drake boots him with no warning. When Brock realizes that his profession caters to the morally challenged, he sets out on an aimless search through the dicier side of D.C., ending up at the 14th Street Legal Clinic. The clinic's director, a gargantuan man named Mordecai Green, woos Brock to the clinic with a $90,000 cut in pay and the chance to redeem his soul. Brock takes it--and some of the story's credibility along with it; it's hard to believe that a Yale graduate who sacrificed everything--including his marriage--to succeed in the legal profession would quickly jump at the opportunity for low-paying, charitable work. However, Brock's search for corruption in the swanky upper echelons of Sweeny & Drake (via the toughest streets of D.C.) is filled with colorful characters and realistic, gritty descriptions. In the The Street Lawyer, Grisham once again defends the voiceless and powerless. In the words of Mordecai Green, "That's justice, Michael. That's what street law is all about. Dignity."

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:10 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

A corporate lawyer in Washington goes to war against his own company to defend the homeless. It happens after Michael Brock is abducted by a homeless man and held hostage. The homeless man is killed by a police sharpshooter and the lawyer is rescued, but the experience changes his life. Michael was in a hurry. He was scrambling up the ladder at Drake & Sweeney, a giant D.C. law firm with eight hundred lawyers. The money was good and getting better; a partnership was three years away. He was a rising star with no time to waste, no time to stop, no time to toss a few coins into the cups of panhandlers. No time for a conscience. But a violent encounter with a homeless man stopped him cold. Michael survived; his assailant did not. Who was this man? Michael did some digging, and learned that he was a mentally ill veteran who'd been in and out of shelters for many years. Then Michael dug a little deeper, and found a dirty secret, and the secret involved Drake & Sweeney. The fast track derailed; the ladder collapsed. Michael bolted the firm and took a top-secret file with him. He landed in the streets, an advocate for the homeless, a street lawyer.… (more)

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