19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Good but the film is better,
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This review is from: A Time To Kill (Paperback)
After watching the film version of "A Time to Kill" for about the thirteenth time on TV I decided I decided to turn to the book to see how Grisham tells the story. I was expecting a more or less one-to-one correspondence between the two, but was surprised to find a number of differences, most of which to redound to the advantage of the film. This is an entertaining read and I recommend it to Grisham fans, but I can just picture Grisham watching the film version and thinking to himself "why didn't I think of that?" on so many occasions. This is especially true toward the end where the film finishes with a dramatic climax brought about by the skill and dedication of the story's protagonist lawyer, whereas in the book we simply seem to stumble from coincidence to coincidence, with the main resolution brought about by a completely incidental character who is only introduced a few pages before the end of the book. In many film adaptations the writers, pressured for concision, omit relevant and illuminating parts of the book, often at the expense of depth. With "A Time to Kill" this is entirely reversed. Grisham has a tendency to include too much detail, not so much in his descriptions, but in the minutiae of the legal process, so much so that I often felt the plot losing its bite as the same scenes were repeated a few too many times (eg Jake visiting Lucien and getting drunk, or everyone getting drunk at Jake's office). By virtue of its brevity, the film condenses these revealing yet ultimately redundant scences and keeps a much tighter pace. I admit that I read this book with the bias of knowing the film very well, but since there is a 2 hour, more polished, more gripping, more refined and more witty film version of the very interesting premise of this book I find it hard to rate it very highly.