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The Street Lawyer [Mass Market Paperback]

John Grisham
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Publisher: Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group; Reprint edition (15 Feb 1999)
  • ASIN: B0012856OO
  • Product Dimensions: 24.9 x 15.2 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)

More About the Author

Long before his name became synonymous with the modern legal thriller, he was working 60-70 hours a week at a small Southaven, Mississippi, law practice, squeezing in time before going to the office and during courtroom recesses to work on his hobby--writing his first novel.

Born on February 8, 1955 in Jonesboro, Arkansas, to a construction worker and a homemaker, John Grisham as a child dreamed of being a professional baseball player. Realizing he didn't have the right stuff for a pro career, he shifted gears and majored in accounting at Mississippi State University. After graduating from law school at Ole Miss in 1981, he went on to practice law for nearly a decade in Southaven, specializing in criminal defense and personal injury litigation. In 1983, he was elected to the state House of Representatives and served until 1990.

One day at the DeSoto County courthouse, Grisham overheard the harrowing testimony of a twelve-year-old rape victim and was inspired to start a novel exploring what would have happened if the girl's father had murdered her assailants. Getting up at 5 a.m. every day to get in several hours of writing time before heading off to work, Grisham spent three years on A Time to Kill and finished it in 1987. Initially rejected by many publishers, it was eventually bought by Wynwood Press, who gave it a modest 5,000 copy printing and published it in June 1988.

That might have put an end to Grisham's hobby. However, he had already begun his next book, and it would quickly turn that hobby into a new full-time career--and spark one of publishing's greatest success stories. The day after Grisham completed A Time to Kill, he began work on another novel, the story of a hotshot young attorney lured to an apparently perfect law firm that was not what it appeared. When he sold the film rights to The Firm to Paramount Pictures for $600,000, Grisham suddenly became a hot property among publishers, and book rights were bought by Doubleday. Spending 47 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list, The Firm became the bestselling novel of 1991.

The successes of The Pelican Brief, which hit number one on the New York Times bestseller list, and The Client, which debuted at number one, confirmed Grisham's reputation as the master of the legal thriller. Grisham's success even renewed interest in A Time to Kill, which was republished in hardcover by Doubleday and then in paperback by Dell. This time around, it was a bestseller.

Since first publishing A Time to Kill in 1988, Grisham has written one novel a year (his other books are The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, The Chamber, The Rainmaker, The Runaway Jury, The Partner, The Street Lawyer, The Testament, The Brethren, A Painted House, Skipping Christmas, The Summons, The King of Torts, Bleachers, The Last Juror, The Broker, Playing for Pizza, The Appeal, and The Associate) and all of them have become international bestsellers. There are currently over 250 million John Grisham books in print worldwide, which have been translated into 29 languages. Nine of his novels have been turned into films (The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, A Time to Kill, The Rainmaker, The Chamber, A Painted House, The Runaway Jury, and Skipping Christmas), as was an original screenplay, The Gingerbread Man. The Innocent Man (October 2006) marked his first foray into non-fiction, and Ford County (November 2009) was his first short story collection.

Grisham lives with his wife Renee and their two children Ty and Shea. The family splits their time between their Victorian home on a farm in Mississippi and a plantation near Charlottesville, VA.

Grisham took time off from writing for several months in 1996 to return, after a five-year hiatus, to the courtroom. He was honoring a commitment made before he had retired from the law to become a full-time writer: representing the family of a railroad brakeman killed when he was pinned between two cars. Preparing his case with the same passion and dedication as his books' protagonists, Grisham successfully argued his clients' case, earning them a jury award of $683,500--the biggest verdict of his career.

When he's not writing, Grisham devotes time to charitable causes, including most recently his Rebuild The Coast Fund, which raised 8.8 million dollars for Gulf Coast relief in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. He also keeps up with his greatest passion: baseball. The man who dreamed of being a professional baseball player now serves as the local Little League commissioner. The six ballfields he built on his property have played host to over 350 kids on 26 Little League teams.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Years pass by, but do things change? 30 Mar 2007
Format:Paperback
It might seem an odd choice to review a book coming up ten years old, but this has been sitting on my shelf gathering dust, and as it is the only Grisham book I haven't read, I decided to dip into it while I waited for the new Lee Child to come out. I'm glad I did.

It tells the story of Michael Brock, Corporate Lawyer earning big bucks, pretty wife, fast lane to partner status and millionairedom. Everything is rosy until an odd incident occurs. A vagrant, a street dweller hijacks the lawyers in their tower-block office and before he can make clear his demands, special-forces blow him away. The vagrant's brains are splashed over Brock's face. It changes his outlook on life, but then it would.

He begins to take an interest in the homeless, he resigns his cushy job and big bucks, loses his wife, and takes on pro bono unpaid legal work on behalf of the street people, and that is just the beginning of his journey.

This book concentrates attention on homeless people in American inner cities. Whether their plight has greatly changed in the intervening ten years I have no idea, but my guess is things haven't altered that much.

As always with Mister Grisham's books the narrative rushes along. I was never tempted to duck any pages and it is all too easy to see why he has shifted so many copies of his books over the years. I liked this one a lot. It was thought provoking, retained my attention throughout, and though I kind of guessed the ending long before I actually arrived there, I was never disappointed.

If you like Grisham, you will like this. If you don't like Grisham you will probably still like it. Definitely recommended.

Coincidentally this very day John Grisham was in London to collect a lifetime achievement award for among other things, selling over 250 million books. Incredibly he stated he had never won an award before. Perhaps writers should be more valued by us all, and feted too.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Read - A Real Must Have 29 Sep 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This book is brilliant! The story grabs you from the very first chapter which prompts you to continue reading. The story tells of how a hard-hearted lawyer re-thinks his priorities in life and chooses to help those people less off. The story is touching and makes you think after reading it. It is definately not just a read and throw away book! John Grisham has demonstrated what an excellent writer he truly is with this text and I would advise anyone who is reading this review to purchase the book as soon as possible.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable Grisham novel 26 Jan 2005
By John Kimble VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
A Yale graduate and fast tracked to partnership, Michael Brock has sacrificed everything, including his marriage, for the law and his firm Drake + Sweeny.
However a kidnapping by a homeless man 'Mister' is about to have a profound effect on his life. When the hostage situation is brought to a seemingly unnecessary violent ending Michael begins to look into Misters background and realises he is yet another victim of a big corporation who had his rights under the law overlooked.
A meeting with Mordecai Green, a legal champion for the homeless, changes Michael forever and sees the unlikely event of him turning his back on certain wealth and prosperity for a much less money, swapping his plush office for more basic surroundings.
I feel this is a good read, though it does lose its way a little. However I feel it demonstrates how today after some soul searching, people can still be called to their vocation, however unlikely.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Grisham with social conscience 21 Oct 2006
Format:Paperback
Grisham often writes about the mendacity of lawyers who will do all they can to earn as much as possible, usually over-billing their clients. But here we have lawyers who have a conscience. The life of one greedy lawyer is changed for ever by contact with a deranged homeless man. He becomes a lawyer for the poor losing his wealth, his wife and almost his career. My one criticism would be that his ending is so nice as to be rather incredible. Nevertheless, you have to love the abilities of a great storyteller.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A well written book that makes you take notice 14 April 2001
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
After reading the street lawyer, I started to notice myself the level of homelessness in my own city, Michael Brock a young lawyer has a drastic life changing experience that brings to light the plight of the homeless in Washington, and uncovers a dark wrongdoing comitted by his colleagues.
The book is written well and the sad story gives you a lot to think about and makes you see just what is around you, stuff i hardly ever noticed until reading this, one of the best books i've read and certainly one of John Grishams finest.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A guilt ridden read... 31 Jan 2005
Format:Paperback
An excellent portrayal of how life must be for the homeless. A clever book which makes you think about your own contributions to the poverty stricken people around you.
In my opinion a book which stirs emotion and makes you think how you can improve yourself, is a book worth reading!
Buy a copy now... and then give it away to a homeless charity!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Street Lawyer 9 Mar 2004
By linda
Format:Hardcover
Michael is a Lawyer with a top firm, a rising star in law,that is until he is held at gunpoint in his office by a man living on the streets, a swat team kills the gunman and Michael's life changes. His marriage ends, he has to leave his luxury home and has no choice but to live in a dingy appartment. He gives up his top job to defend the people who live on the streets. He discovers that they are not all down and outs and there are whole families trying to survive on the street. He finds evidence that there has been a great miscarriage of justice and he throws himself into uncovering the truth. While trying to uncover the truth he is arrested, branded a thief by his previous employers and is assaulted and robbed by the other men in the cell. This story is fast paced from the start. You will be caught up in the riveting, turning tide of Michael's life. A highly recommended read.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Thoroughly enjoyed it
Published 9 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic read that made the plight of the homeless so ...
A fantastic read that made the plight of the homeless so real to me, dispelling just about every prejudice that's ever crossed my mind.
Published 1 month ago by Alison Stevens
5.0 out of 5 stars I, m a JH fan, but wasn, ...
I,m a JH fan, but wasn,t so struck in this one.
Published 2 months ago by Mrs. V. Lewis
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Good read
Published 3 months ago by beverley whyman
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice easy read
A good read, not the best or most riveting by this author but easy to follow at a gentle pace
Published 5 months ago by Steve
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read
An insightful and compelling look at the tough life of the homeless and the system that is supposed to hep them. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Scarlet Dragon
5.0 out of 5 stars John Grisham
As usual excellant delivery and service. A good read, I always enjoy his books and take them on holiday for a good read.
Published 8 months ago by Catherine Wilson
5.0 out of 5 stars great book
thoroughly enjoyed the book like all other Grisham novels. Would recommend it to anyone who likes this type of book
Published 11 months ago by matt roberts
5.0 out of 5 stars John Grisham writes so well and I love his themes and characters
I have read every book he has written and love them all they are always so readable, pact and interesting
Published 11 months ago by PCGreenhalgh
3.0 out of 5 stars Neither good or bad
A fairly easy book to read before going to sleep but not something I'd want to sit up all night reading. Fairly predictable plot and not terribly exciting.
Published 12 months ago by MrN.McGranahan
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