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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartfelt storytelling
This is not your typical John Grisham book - this will probably not go down too well with his thriller fans. Hence the 3 point rating.
Do not let this put anyone off from buying this compelling novel. Superbly written I personally felt that this is his best piece of work.
Narrated by 7 year old Luke - the reader is taken on a sentimental journey into 50's rural...
Published on 10 Mar. 2001

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Regular Grisham fans should avoid this.
Having read all of Grishams previous books I bought this on his name thinking I would be guarenteed a plot-rich, intriguing and excellent story. I was wrong. Whilst there is nothing wrong with authors trying new ideas certain ones know what to stick to (King, Herbert, Clancy etc) to keep their fans entertained. The story never really gets going, the characters are lacking...
Published on 14 Jun. 2001


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartfelt storytelling, 10 Mar. 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: A Painted House (Hardcover)
This is not your typical John Grisham book - this will probably not go down too well with his thriller fans. Hence the 3 point rating.
Do not let this put anyone off from buying this compelling novel. Superbly written I personally felt that this is his best piece of work.
Narrated by 7 year old Luke - the reader is taken on a sentimental journey into 50's rural America. On some levels a simple tale but Grisham hooks you from page one and written from the childs perspective the events that unfold (sometimes predictably)have a real heart-pulling and urgent quality.
This is contemporary fiction of the highest order - Simple yet so very effective - a really wonderful novel. This clearly shows the depth of Grishams writting.
Not an intricate law thiller -- Just a brilliant piece of literature. A must buy.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Grisham's back: and this time it's personal!, 8 Feb. 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: A Painted House (Paperback)
Since the last book I read by Grisham was "The Brethren", widely recognised as a career low for the great man, I picked up this new book with some trepidation. But I need not have worried, and neither should you, unless you're looking for another courtroom drama.
In total contrast, this is a rather episodic tale of a seven-year-old boy growing up on a cotton plantation in the heart of America in the early fifties. It is so vividly written that you feel you are really there. This is obviously written from the heart. The characters are unforgettable, and you may well feel that you want to read the book more than once. In a word, magical.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!, 19 Sept. 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: A Painted House (Paperback)
Having read quite a few of John Grisham's books in the past I was beginning to find the whole lawyer thing quite tired and boring. When I purchased "A Painted House" I thought I'd give him one more go and then give him up for a lost cause. However I was pleasantly surprised to find that I could not find a lawyer anywhere in in sight! The book is written with tenderness and insight into the hardships of the lives of cotton farmers many years ago. Although it would not fall into the category of your usual "gripping" novel, I just couldn't put this book down and finished it in a weekend. I would imagine that if someone still enjoyed John Grisham's usual style they would be bitterly dissapointed with this book but if you feel the need for something different and more mellow, this book is definitely for you.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great change of style for this renowned thriller writer, 17 Dec. 2001
This review is from: A Painted House (Hardcover)
Prior to "A Painted House" I had lost interest in John Grisham's books as the last two or three had become very samey and much too far fetched for even a fictional courtroom law drama. However, I was very pleasantly surprised by this novel. In the tradition of Steinbeck (but not a classic) this story of Arkansas farmers and their labourers gripped me from the start. I was fascinated by the traditions of cotton farming, and the hardships experienced by the farmers and labourers alike. The violent episodes were well described, and emotionally, the characters remained with me. I enjoyed this new style by John Grisham very much. But I'm still hoping his future law dramas will have regained the author's edginess I always loved.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Charming Grisham, 11 July 2004
By 
Jan Erik Frantsvåg "janeriks" (Tromsø, Norway) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: A Painted House (Paperback)
This is an atypical Grisham, with no lawyers and no courtroom. There is crime, though, and passion.
The story is set in the poor, white south, among cotton farmers in Arkansas, who scrape out a meagre existence on rented land. Success and failure is meted out by the weather, in a good season the burden of debt can be made lighter, a bad season will bring new debt taking years to pay back.
The Chandlers hire Mexicans and a hillbilly family to help out in the harvesting season, which is hard work from early morning to evening, 6 days a week. Passion and conflict stem from these "outside" elements in an otherwise stable, not to say stale, society.
The life on the Chandler farm is seen through the eyes of seven year old Luke, and I think making Luke that young is a major problem with the story. His language and reflections belong to someone some years older, maybe a young teenager.
The book gives an interesting insight in one kind of rural American life, and I will recommend it to anyone who is interested in a slowly unfolding story. If you're looking for fast action, this is not the book for you.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The master comes up trumps once again...., 6 Feb. 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: A Painted House (Hardcover)
Having read all of J.G's books, I have to say that each (except The Firm) has it's own faults. The Partner has a poor ending, The Street Lawyer a little to perfect etc etc etc.
A painted House is totally different, yet carries the same concepts of all his other legal epics...this is to surprise the reader at the most opportune moment.
A book well worth reading, especially if you like J.G. As John Grisham himself admits, he is not the worlds best author, and neither does he purport to being so, but what he does is produce excellent fictional entertainment in an industry that appeals to many.
As with all of his books, once you pick it up, it's difficult to put down.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Written by an 'old master', 15 Nov. 2001
By 
Mr. A. P. Short (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: A Painted House (Paperback)
This is a departure from his homeground of US law, one which I had always found highly enjoyable. This book has Grisham returning to his roots in the cotton picking fields of 50's America. Seen through the eyes of a seven year old this is a warm and affectionate look at a family struggling to survive the hardships of those times. The first few chapters don't exactly grab your attention in Grisham's usual way, but soon the characters come to life and the book becomes a joy to read. Don't be put off by the subject matter, if you've read John Grisham before and like him, then you will like this.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A little boy's secrets, 8 Dec. 2002
By 
Amazon Customer (Glendale, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)   
This review is from: A Painted House (Paperback)
In the autumn of my eighth year, mention "cotton" and "cotton candy" was what probably came to mind. In A PAINTED HOUSE, Luke Chandler picks the stuff - real cotton that is. He lives on a farm in the Arkansas Delta with his parents and his father's parents, Pappy and Gran. Pappy rules the household - until Gran speaks. It's now September and there're 80 acres of King Cotton to harvest, for which job the Chandlers hire the Spruills, a poor family down from the "hill country", and10 Mexican migrant workers.
Set in the fall of 1952, A PAINTED HOUSE is a splendid period piece of that time and place. Its enthralling magic is that it's life seen through the eyes of 7-year old Luke, who spends five and a half days each week of the picking season under the hot Southern sun plucking the cotton bolls until his fingers bleed. In the evenings, he and the men folk listen to radio broadcasts of their beloved St. Louis Cardinals baseball team led by the great Stan Musial. On Saturday, there's the weekly bath and the afternoon movie matinee in the nearby settlement of Black Oak. Sunday is for churchgoing at the local Baptist house of worship.
Needless to say, this is a coming-of-age story, or a least the very beginning of one. To date, Luke's major worry has been for his 19-year old Uncle Ricky, his father's brother, off fighting in Korea. Now, his mind becomes preoccupied with things he's seen unbeknownst to his elders - two murders, a childbirth, and his first sight of a live and pretty, naked, young woman. Some things are best kept secret from adults, especially the last:
"If (the girl) caught me, she'd tell my father, who'd beat me until I couldn't walk. My mother would scold me for a week. Gran wouldn't speak to me, she'd be so hurt. Pappy would give me a tongue-lashing, but only for the benefit of the others. I'd be ruined."
And, because of the dynamic that exists between parents and offspring, there's the keeping of secrets because:
"(Mother) told me many times that little boys shouldn't keep secrets from their mothers. But every time I confessed one, she was quick to shrug it off and tell my father what I'd told her. I'm not sure how I benefited from being so candid."
A PAINTED HOUSE is not a "thriller" in the usual sense, but I couldn't put it down nonetheless. (I usually read two books at a time, one at home and one at work during my lunch breaks. I brought this novel home to temporarily shove aside the second book.) By the last page, I was strongly connected with the members of the Chandler clan and wished them well. Having said that, one of the book's shortcomings was author Grisham's failure to adequately describe the physical appearance of the Chandlers - I couldn't picture them in my mind's eye. Moreover, the storyline eventually concludes with too many loose ends. This begs for a sequel. But since that isn't Grisham's style, my curiosity shall likely remain unsatisfied.
Finally, that part of the plot dealing with an unpainted vs. painted house was unnecessary. Grisham probably intended some profound symbolism here, but it was wasted on me.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a change!, 31 Mar. 2001
By 
hgg9@aber.ac.uk (Aberystwyth, Wales) - See all my reviews
This review is from: A Painted House (Paperback)
This book is a complete change of tack for John Grisham, but it is one extremely well done. Grisham's usual courtroom drama is nowhere to be seen as he recounts a cotton picking season through the eyes of a little 7 year old farm boy, Luke Chandler. If John Grisham was never thought of as a master craftsman before this, he should be now. It shows a versatility not often seen in authors. Based on his own experiences growing up in Arkansas, it is gripping but in an entirely different way to his earlier books. I was reading so fast as I became entwined with and endeared to the Chandlers and their world, but as I neared the end I tried to read more slowly as I never wanted it to end; I fell completely head-over-heels with the entire Chandler family. It is a book I will recommend to anyone who'll listen and that I will read again and again!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A darned good yarn, 15 April 2001
By 
Richard (Deepest, darkest UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Painted House (Hardcover)
A complete departure on theme from any of John Grisham's previous novels shouldn't detract from the reading enjoyment to be gained from this, his latest book. Mr Grisham relates the events of summer 1952, in the life of Luke Chandler, a 7 year old only child in the year 1952 in rural Baptist-dominated Arkansas. From this seemingly innocent platform, Mr Grisham builds in all of the devices which contribute to a modern-day best-selling novel ; romance, sex, violence, family intrigue, religious and sporting tensions, combined with the uncertainty of outcome. In doing so, Mr Grisham has, once again, demonstrated that he has the insight and capability to conjure an imaginative tale incorporating all of the above into an entertaining and descriptive piece of modern fictional literature and with his story-telling gift, the book has all the ingredients to be another best-seller. He has written a simple, but good story with sensitivity and wit (I laughed out loud at the "shitsnake" event). Having been a "wee boy", albeit many years ago, I could relate to all the youthful pressures, aspirations, dreams , sensitivities and insensitivities experienced by Luke, the subject of the story. Mr Grisham has written a clever, touching and intriguing book and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. In some respects, it was a bit like a serious Adrian Mole, but with early rural American overtones. Having read all of his previous novels, I was pleased to find that he could remain as entertaining a novelist outside of his specialty of themes centred on the law.
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A Painted House
A Painted House by John Grisham (Paperback - 3 Jan. 2002)
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