John Grisham once said of his own writing, "I write grab readers. This isn't serious literature". (John Grisham CLC, 189) Serious literature or not, Grisham has written nine best-selling novels, many of which were also made into very successful movies. Before starting to write professionally, Grisham was a lawyer in Southaven, Mississippi, which has provided him with plentiful ideas for legal storyline's. In many of his novels, Grisham has on ongoing link of novice lawyers who uncover and overcome flaws in the legal system. Influences during Grisham's childhood and adult life have helped to shape his writing career.
His family moved around a great deal during his childhood. Eventually, they settled in Southaven, Mississippi. (Brand strom, 2) Grisham was an athlete in high school and decided he was going to play either professional football or baseball. After high school, he went to Northwest Junior College to play baseball.
After one year, he transferred to Delta State for more baseball opportunities. While at Delta State, his grades suffered and he decided he wasn't men to be a baseball player. In 1975 Grisham transferred again to Mississippi State University as and accounting major. (2) While at MSU, he started writing two books, neither of which was finished. (3) In 1977, Grisham received an undergraduate degree in accounting from MSU. He then went to the University of Mississippi and received his law degree in 1981.
Grisham went back to Southaven in 1982 and established his first law firm. One year later, he was elected to the Mississippi House of Representatives. (1) He now had he time to start a new book, which he finished in 1985. He called it Death knell, but the publisher changed to name to A Time to Kill.
The book published a mere five thousand copies during the first print. Grisham immediately went to work on his second book called The Firm. This hugely successful started Grisham on his new profession as an author. He moved to Oxford and has been writing one book per year ever since. Grisham's courtroom skills never suffered and in 1996 he took time off from writing to return to the place where his career began, the courtroom. This was to fulfill a promise he made to the family of a railroad man killed at work.
He prepared the case with the same passion as the characters he writes about and won the biggest verdict of his career. (About, 2) Grisham's second published book, The Firm, established a theme that would continue as a link for many more of his novels. The novice in The Firm is Mitchell Y. McDeere, a very appealing hero, a poor kid whose only assets are a first class mind, a Harvard law degree and beautiful, loving wife. (Amazon Firm, 2) He is described as the "perfect" law school graduate. He completes Harvard at the top of his class and is approached by several large Wall Street law firms.
A much smaller firm, called Bending, Lambert and Locke, also seems very interested in McDeere. This firm is quite different than others in the country. They don't actively seek new graduates, they have mere 41 lawyers, and the offer more money that firms four times their size " We don't hire too many people; about one every other year. We offer the highest salary and fringes in the country, and I'm not exaggerating. So we are very selective".
(Grisham Firm, 4) They offer the most money, so he takes that job. (Grisham Firm, 1-24) McDeere immediately moves to Memphis with his extremely attractive wife Abby. He begins to work ninety hour weeks and is well on his way to becoming the youngest partner the firm has ever seen. (35-49) As far as he knew, there was nothing illegal about that. However, McDeere should have remembered his brother Ray, who was doing fifteen years in a Tennessee jail, you never get money for nothing. Then an FBI investigation plunges this straight and narrow attorney into a nightmare of terror and intrigue, with no choice but to pit his wits, ethics, and legal skills against the firm's deadly secrets.
Secrets like why members of the firm keep mysteriously dying, and the biggest secret of all, the fact that the firm is a mafia run money laundering organization. (Amazon Firm 2) With its fancy Lear jets and condos in the Cayman Islands, the firm can make dirty money clean again in matter of a few weeks. McDeere must now help the FBI, or go down with his colleagues. While devoting even more time to his work, he is meeting with the FBI to arrange his new life and copying incriminating files from within the firm. Through a plant in the FBI, the mafia learns they have been double-crossed and begin the hunt down McDeere who has fled from the them and the FBI. For days they must run from both organizations and ends up in the Cayman Islands sipping rum on a beach.
He tapes his own testimony before leaving and, mixed with the copied files, gives the FBI more than enough information to take down the whole firm, thus overcoming this flaw in the legal system. (Ebsco Firm 2-3) Another book that carried on Grisham's link is The Rainmaker. This novel is about a law student named Rudy. Rudy is much different than Grisham's previous novice lawyer, Unlike McDeere, Rudy has nothing, no job, no money, and no experience. Rudy has just passed his bar exam and is trying to find a job in the crowded city of Memphis.
After finding no luck in getting a job he decides to start his own law firm. His first client is a old woman whose son is dying of leukemia. The problem is that the insurance company won't pay for a bone marrow transplant, which as a 90% chance of saving his life. At first the insurance company doesn't take Rudy seriously.
However, after a while the stakes start to get real high. Donny Ray soon passes away, and the case becomes much more than just an attempt to get the money the Blacks are owed, they want to teach the insurance company a lesson. In the end, they get a bittersweet victory when the company files for bankruptcy, but a novice lawyer still uncovered a flaw in the legal system. Along the way, Grisham throws in many red herrings, like an old, rich woman who wants a new will made, and an abused young woman who Rudy vows to protect. Rudy does get his reward when he and Kelly, the young woman, kill her abusive husband and run away together to live happily ever after so to speak. After seeing how flawed the legal system is, Rudy leaves everything behind for a new life", I will not, under any circumstances, have anything to do with the law.
I will allow my license to expire. I will not register to vote so they can't nail me for jury duty. I will never voluntarily set foot in another courtroom". (Grisham Rainmaker, 598) In Grisham's The Street Lawyer Michael Brock, is on the fast track to partnership at D.C.'s premier law firm, Sweeny & Drake. His dream of someday raking in a million-plus a year is finally within reach.
Nothing can stop him, not even 90-hour workweeks and a failing marriage -- until he meets DeVon Hardy, a. k. a. 'Mister,' a Vietnam vet with a grudge against his landlord -- and a few lawyers. Hardy, with no clear motive, takes Brock and eight of his colleagues hostage in a boardroom, demanding their tax returns and interrogating them with a conviction that was most definitely unethical and illegal. Hardy, a man of few words and a lot of ammunition, mumbles cryptically, 'Who are the evictor's?' as he points a. 44 automatic within inches of Brock's face. (Grisham Street 1-45) The violent outcome of the hostage situation triggers an abrupt soul-searching for the young lawyer, and Hardy's mysterious question continues to haunt him.
Brock learns that Hardy had been in and out of homeless shelters most of his life, but he had recently begun paying rent in a rundown building; that means he has legal recourse when a big money-making outfit such as Sweeny & Drake boots him with no warning. When Brock realizes that his profession caters to the morally challenged, he sets out on an aimless search through the rougher side of D.C., ending up at the 14th Street Legal Clinic. The clinic's director, a large man named Mordecai Green, woos Brock to the clinic with a $90,000 cut in pay and the chance to redeem his soul. Brock takes it -- and some of the story's credibility along with it; it's hard to believe that a Yale graduate who sacrificed everything -- including his marriage -- to succeed in the legal profession would quickly jump at the opportunity for low-paying, charitable work. (56-90) Brock settles the dispute of the wrongly evicted squatters and thus solves a problem within the legal system. Now, it may seem as though Michael Brock is not a novice lawyer.
In reality, he is not novice to law, but he is very much a novice to street law. Although this is a new twist, Grisham's link continued in this story.