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A Painted House (2001)

by John Grisham

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
9,385114853 (3.55)86
Fiction. Literature. Suspense. Thriller. HTML:#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER â?˘ 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 â?? and two very dangerous men â?? came through the Arkansas Delta to work the Chandler cotton farm. And suddenly mysteries are flooding Lukeâ??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 â?? and change his family and his t
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Showing 1-5 of 108 (next | show all)
Loved this book, couldn't put it down. Is a great book about a poor young boy living in the south. ( )
  rjvanscoy | Jun 6, 2024 |
3.5 Stars

Another challenge read, and though I would never pick this on my own, it wasn’t half bad.

Chronicling the harvest season of cotton, this is told from the POV of seven year old Luke Chandler, whose family is barely making ends meet. Though Luke witnesses some scary situations, shattering his innocence on several fronts, the lens through which we see things was endearing, funny, and sweet.

This was definitely a love letter from the author to his southern upbringing and roots. It also harkens back to a simpler time, an era without technology and the struggle of daily living to just survive and really taking into account what matters - family, community, and appreciating the small wins of the simple life. ( )
  A_Reader_Obsessed | Apr 25, 2024 |
As a lawyer, I started reading Grisham for his legal books. I don't remember how I cam upon this one, but it is, frankly, my favorite among all of his works so far. It does not seem to be written for mass marketing; it is written from the heart, which is understandable since much of it was inspired by Grisham's own boyhood.

Having grown up in the Ozarks, having friends throughout southeastern Missouri and northern Arkansas, having traveled extensively through the years in the far northeastern reaches of the latter, I can tell you that the book is very much accurate regarding its depiction of everyday life there. There are still some far-flung, backwater pockets of the state, where the depictions could just as well be describing life in this day and age. ( )
  blakelylaw | Apr 18, 2024 |
Story of a young boy growing up on a cotton farm in Ark in the 50?s.
  bentstoker | Jan 26, 2024 |
This is my first Grisham novel and it’s everything everyone has always said about his writing. This story was inspired by the author’s own life. He grew up as the son of a cotton farmer in Arkansas. It’s a slow, well-written story that brings you back in time, yet he keeps you interested with the events that take place on the cotton farm. At times, I found myself chuckling at the thoughts that went through this 7-year-old's mind, but I also found myself in tears a time or two because of the compassion shown in the story.

Set in 1952 rural Craighead County, in northeastern Arkansas, right outside of Black Oak, the closest town of about 300 people, little 7-year-old Luke Chandler is narrating. He is the son of a cotton farmer, and like all other children of cotton farmers in the area, they are let out of school two months early to help their families pick cotton. Luke’s family lived with his grandparents, Pappy and Gran. His number one love was baseball. All he ever dreamed about was being a Cardinal’s baseball player. And during baseball season, every evening after supper, the family gathered around the radio to listen to the games. They all took part and farmed about 80 acres every summer along with the help of migrant workers: Mexicans from Mexico and hillbillies from up in the Ozark hills.

This summer Luke was about to find out just how hard and risky life can be on cotton farms with rains that threatened to flood out their crop. He would also learn some valuable lessons in hate, love and caring for others even less fortunate, such as the sharecroppers, the lazy Mr. Flatcher, his worn-out wife, and their many barefoot kids, who had even less than his own family. They hired 10 Mexicans and the Spruill family from up in the hills. There would be trouble between the groups, especially between one rough Mexican nicknamed Cowboy and big Hank Spruill. You have 7-year-old Luke, scared for his and his family’s life, having to make some hard, grown-up decisions about what he sees and hears on the farm. He’s got to wrap his head around seeing their worker, big, mean Hank, stop an unfair fight between other hill kids while at a festival, but then his uncontrollable anger also caused him to pointlessly kill one of the kids. Hank was definitely a bad seed. He was the cause of all the friction between his own family, the Chandler family, and between him and Cowboy, which caused Cowboy to want to kill Hank.

When the grownups weren’t around, Hank was demanding to Luke and constantly sneering at him and putting him and his family down in front of the other Spruills, “You think you’re better than us, don’t you? Well, you don’t even have a painted house. Our house is at least painted.” Of course, they would all laugh at him. Well, before the story is over, his grandparent’s house does get painted with the help of mean Hanks autistic brother, Trot, who secretly started on the house, one board at a time, when no one was looking, and the rest of the Mexicans, all except Cowboy, who chipped in at the end to show their appreciation and respect for the Chandlers for how they were treated this summer on the farm. He also got help from the lazy sharecropper, Mr. Flatcher, who the Chandlers had to rescue his family from the flooding rivers and put up in their barn. A painted house was a rare thing to see back then in rural Arkansas, but this house’s paint represented so much more than just paint.
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MOVIE: A Painted House (2003), starring Scott Glenn & Logan Lerman, John Grisham (the author) narrating. ( )
  MissysBookshelf | Aug 27, 2023 |
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» Add other authors (18 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John Grishamprimary authorall editionscalculated
Berthon, PatrickTraductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dobner, TullioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For my parents, Weez and Big John,
with love and admiration
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The hill people and the Mexicans arrived on the same day.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Fiction. Literature. Suspense. Thriller. HTML:#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER â?˘ 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 â?? and two very dangerous men â?? came through the Arkansas Delta to work the Chandler cotton farm. And suddenly mysteries are flooding Lukeâ??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 â?? and change his family and his t

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