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A Painted House by John Grisham

A Painted House (2001)

by John Grisham

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Showing 1-5 of 78 (next | show all)
Many John Grisham fans don't like this book. It isn't a thriller or a legal mystery. It is a literary coming-of-age novel. It's my favorite Grisham novel.

It has one flaw--aside from not being a thriller. The MC, Luke, is supposed to be seven-years-old. Don't believe it. When John tells you he is seven, you just substitute eleven. Luke has too much social awareness to be seven. (Guess Grisham hasn't been around enough seven-year-olds.) So, Luke is a socially precocious eleven-year-old.

The story occurs at cotton harvest time in 1952 in northeast Arkansas. Luke lives on his family's small cotton farm. His family hires a family of hillbillies and a truck load of Mexican guest laborers. Conflicts occur between the two groups. Luke sees much of the worst and the best humanity has to offer--sometimes in the same person.

If you like literary fiction, read this book. If not then just move on to something else. ( )
  Mister.Furkles | Jan 4, 2015 |
A nice little slice of life - 1950's Arkansas cotton farmers told from the view point of a 7-year old boy. Reminded me a bit of Eudora Welty. It was much better crafted than some of his mysteries that have poorly structured endings. It took me a little while to get into it, but once I did, I truly enjoyed it. ( )
  AliceAnna | Aug 13, 2014 |
Different type of Grisham about a tenant farm family in Arkansas told from the perspective of Luke, the seven year old boy in the extended family . Grisham did a good job with his description of the early 1950s. ( )
  LivelyLady | Jun 11, 2014 |
Painted House by John Grisham
Story about a house that's never been painted. Lots of colorful characters, 1952 with lots of baseball talk.
Mexicans and hill people come to aid in picking the crops. About the author's real childhood experiences in the cotton field.
80 acres rented planted with cotton. Nature gets in the way and the 7yr old hears things and sees things that will change their lives forever.
Love these stories. the author makes you feel like you are right there with them.and with the descriptions you can feel the same emotions.
Such a different life from what I grew up with, love learning about others. A lot of the story surrounds the brother who's serving his country in the military and the family hopes to see him soon.
I received this book from National Library Service for my BARD (Braille Audio Reading Device). ( )
  jbarr5 | Jun 11, 2014 |
A very different novel from most of John Grisham's novels. A tale of the reality of life for Arkansas cotton farmers. ( )
  adeej | Apr 25, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 78 (next | show all)
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John Grishamprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dobner, TullioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For my parents, Weez and Big John,
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The hill people and the Mexicans arrived on the same day.
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Book description
For seven-year-old Luke Chandler, 1952 is proving to be a year filled with secrets. Heavily in debt and renting some of the most flood-prone land in Arkansas, his family must do whatever it takes to bring in a good cotton crop this yar. But Luke witnesses things that could threaten his famiy's entire community. A forbidden love affair is brewing between two of the Chandlers' migrant workers. Two brutal murders are committed. A fatherless baby is born. And someone has secretly begun painting the Chandler's dilapidated farmhouse, whose weathered clapboards make Luke's mother look wistfully on the missed opportunities of life. Beautifully evoking an extraordinary time and place, A Painted House has captivated millions of readers. Depicting aspects of family, community, trust, and faith through the eyes of a charming little boy.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0385337930, Paperback)

Ever since he published The Firm in 1991, John Grisham has remained the undisputed champ of the legal thriller. With A Painted House, however, he strikes out in a new direction. As the author is quick to note, this novel includes "not a single lawyer, dead or alive," and readers will search in vain for the kind of lowlife machinations that have been his stock-in-trade. Instead, Grisham has delivered a quieter, more contemplative story, set in rural Arkansas in 1952. It's harvest time on the Chandler farm, and the family has hired a crew of migrant Mexicans and "hill people" to pick 80 acres of cotton. A certain camaraderie pervades this bucolic dream team. But it's backbreaking work, particularly for the 7-year-old narrator, Luke: "I would pick cotton, tearing the fluffy bolls from the stalks at a steady pace, stuffing them into the heavy sack, afraid to look down the row and be reminded of how endless it was, afraid to slow down because someone would notice."

What's more, tensions begin to simmer between the Mexicans and the hill people, one of whom has a penchant for bare-knuckles brawling. This leads to a brutal murder, which young Luke has the bad luck to witness. At this point--with secrets, lies, and at least one knife fight in the offing--the plot begins to take on that familiar, Grisham-style momentum. Still, such matters ultimately take a back seat in A Painted House to the author's evocation of time and place. This is, after all, the scene of his boyhood, and Grisham waxes nostalgic without ever succumbing to deep-fried sentimentality. Meanwhile, his account of Luke's Baptist upbringing occasions some sly (and telling) humor:

I'd been taught in Sunday school from the day I could walk that lying would send you straight to hell. No detours. No second chances. Straight into the fiery pit, where Satan was waiting with the likes of Hitler and Judas Iscariot and General Grant. Thou shalt not bear false witness, which, of course, didn't sound exactly like a strict prohibition against lying, but that was the way the Baptists interpreted it.
Whether Grisham will continue along these lines, or revert to the judicial shark tank for his next book, is anybody's guess. But A Painted House suggests that he's perfectly capable of telling an involving story with nary a subpoena in sight. --James Marcus

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:01:38 -0400)

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Until that September of 1952, Luke Chandler had never kept a secret or told a single lie. But in the long, hot summer of his seventh year, two groups of migrant workers-and two very dangerous men-came through the Arkansas Delta to work the Chandler cotton farm. And suddenly mysteries are flooding Luke's world. A brutal murder leaves the town seething in gossip and suspicion. A beautiful young woman ignites forbidden passions. A fatherless baby is born ... and someone has begun furtively painting the bare clapboards of the Chandler farmhouse, slowly, painstakingly, bathing the run-down structure in gleaming white. And as young Luke watches the world around him, he unravels secrets that could shatter lives-and change his family and his town forever ...… (more)

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