Monday, November 08, 2010

Books: A Painted House

A Painted House
By John Grisham
Copyright 2001
Read by David Lansbury
Approx. 5 hours

I am not a John Grisham fan, having never been inclined to read suspenseful books about lawyers. So I was surprised when I was perusing the audiobooks at the library and ran across this book. There are no lawyers, no courts, no juries. This is a book about growing up on  a farm.

Narrated by 7-year-old Luke Chandler, the story depicts farm life in Arkansas in 1952. The young Chandler lives on a sharecropper's cotton farm with his parents and grandparents; he also has a young uncle fighting the war in Korea.

When the cotton is ready, it takes six weeks to harvest the 80 acres. The whole family works in the fields along side hired Mexicans and hill people - folks from the Ozarks who come down specifically for the harvest.

During this time, Luke learns things he shouldn't and finds himself keeping secrets that no young boy should have to keep. The hill people his grandfather has hired are mean folk, and one of the Mexicans has a hankering for the hill people's daughter.

This is a very moving coming-of-age story, one that I would not hesitate to recommend. This was thoughtful and contemplative. I enjoyed the look back at simpler times and of course, being a farm wife, I had great empathy for the characters. It reminded me of Newberry Award winning books that I had read in my younger days, except of course this is not a book for children.

What a pleasant surprise.


  1. I remember reading this book and being pleasantly surprised. He definitely caught the flavor of a time and a people. Or rather, peoples.

  2. I'll have to check this one out. Like you, I've always assumed that his books were legal thrillers, which didn't interest me, but I like the sound of this one. He also wrote a book of short stories which were different from his usual, but I didn't care too much for the couple I read. But good for him making the effort to expand the scope of his writing, especially when his lawyer books are so successful.

  3. I believe I have this book somewhere around here. I'll have to hunt it down and read it.

  4. I don't remember a lot about this book other than I enjoyed it. I, too, am not a Grisham fan.

  5. John Grisham was my FAVORITE author until he began writing the same story with different names for the characters. I haven't read a story of his for over a decade...this sounds like a reason to check it out!


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