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A Painted House

3.64 of 5 stars 3.64  ·  rating details  ·  55,683 ratings  ·  2,902 reviews
Until that September of 1952, Luke Chandler had never kept a secret or told a single lie. But in the long, hot summer of his seventh year, two groups of migrant workers — and two very dangerous men — came through the Arkansas Delta to work the Chandler cotton farm. And suddenly mysteries are flooding Luke’s world.

A brutal murder leaves the town seething in gossip and suspi
Paperback, 384 pages
Published February 3rd 2004 by Bantam (first published January 1st 2001)
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Steve Walker Yes. By all means they should read it. No worse than the garbage on TV and in the video games.
The Help by Kathryn StockettTo Kill a Mockingbird by Harper LeeThe Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk KiddFried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie FlaggGarden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
Quirky Southern Fiction
17th out of 670 books — 1,671 voters
A Time to Kill by John GrishamThe Firm by John GrishamThe Client by John GrishamThe Street Lawyer by John GrishamThe Pelican Brief by John Grisham
The best of John Grisham
13th out of 33 books — 235 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Mar 21, 2008 Gina rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Young and Old alike
Recommended to Gina by: John Grisham on Bill Moyers show
I learned that John Grisham should write more books in this genre because this is his best work....forget all those clients, partners, pelicans. One night, with a bunch of old friends in an apartment above Times Square, we tuned in to tv before turning in and The Bill Moyers Report was being aired; his guest was John Grisham. From his first responses, it was obvious that he possessed "gravitas" beyond his public persona.
Grisham grew up in Arkansas, the son of a cotton farmer, and went on to L
Oct 03, 2007 Amy rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: someone who enjoys a lack of a plot
This was such a horrible book! It had potential - I kept thinking the story would come around but once I got 2/3 way through the book, I knew there was no room left for a story. I finished it anyway and was really disappointed. There is absolutely NO story. Nothing. We are introduced to this family and the other characters for no reason. It's almost like the author had great ideas for characters but couldn't come up with a story line.

If you've never read Grisham and this is your first book - PLE
Bailey Jane
Nov 24, 2008 Bailey Jane rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone ages 12 to avanced years
Recommended to Bailey Jane by: Craig Sherry
For being from John Grisham, this was such a great book! For a long time I've enjoyed his legal thrillers, but after a while I suspected each book would be exactly the same as the last with the only difference being the plot. Granted that's one of the reasons I liked his novels, because I could trust they would be consistently good. When this book first came out I couldn't wait to read it and I fell in love with his ability to tell a heartfelt, meaningful story having nothing to do with law. I l ...more
Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh
Aug 01, 2012 Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Grisham fans who want a change of pace
I was wary when this book came out - doubting Grisham could pull off historical fiction. Well he absolutely nailed it. It’s obvious Grisham drew from his personal experiences growing up in rural Arkansas. This is a heart-wrenching story of an impoverished farming community. It’s got it all, destitute share-croppers, migrant farm workers, a sweet young boy who lives for baseball, a devastating flood and a mentally unhinged murderer thrown in for good measure.
I wonder if Grisham had written this
I liked this book. There isn't any wild climatic events that you may find in other Grisham books. This is a simple novel of a simple life as told by a seven year old boy. Still, Grisham manages to capture the feelings of the times; a poor family in the south who hire workers to harvest their cotton and the drama that ensues with these "lower class" folk. I can see why a lot of Grisham fans wouldn't like this, it's a departure from his normal genre.
"The hill people and the Mexicans arrived on the same day. It was a Wednesday, early in September 1952. The Cardinals were five games behind the Dodgers with three weeks to go, and the season looked hopeless. The cotton, however, was waist-high to my father, over my head, and he and my grandfather could be heard before supper whispering words that were seldom heard. It could be a `good crop.'"

This was a really pleasant surprise. When asked about John Grisham, most of us immediately think of his
Aug 28, 2008 Mary rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to Mary by: Coreen Schnepf
This book came to me very highly recommended. I had two friends who really really liked it and just knew I would love the story too. I suppose if it had been cleaned up a bit, I probably would have liked it more. The characters were engaging enough although the plot did seem to drag a little bit and left you feeling like the auther was searching for a plot in a rambling sort of way. I had a hard time with the language and violence; I'm a wouss I guess. I also couldn't get past the feeling that I ...more
I seldom give five stars; they must be earned by the author's offerings. This book supplied all the necessary plot ingredients to satisfy the curiosities of this avid, mature reader. (No desire to see the movie, it could not possibly do this story justice.) Its not for the squeamish or sheltered reading audience. A realistic slice of life, poor/destitute Arkansas folks during the early Fifties, well-described and believable.
I read one review stating that the title of this book should have been "Watching Paint Dry". While it's not as exciting and riveting as Grisham's other works, and it took me about six chapters to get into the story, it was still an enjoyable book.

Set in 1952 Arkansas, 7-year-old Luke Chandler is forced to grow up quickly when he becomes exposed to several adult situations. It seems as though everyone in the story has a secret to keep and they all manage to confide in Luke.

The yearly ritual of h
Mauoijenn ~ *Mouthy Jenn* ~
Not your typical Grisham novel. It did get my attention with the story line. Always up for a good southern mystery.
This is, so far as I know, Grisham's second or third departure from his legal thrillers. I have read several of his previous works and I found this novel to be a refreshing change, for the writer.
Until that September of 1952, Luke Chandler had never kept a secret or told a single lie. But in the long, hot summer of his seventh year, two groups of migrant workers—and two very dangerous men—came through the Arkansas Delta to work the Chandler cotton farm. And suddenly mysteries are flooding Luke’
Scott Rhee
"A Painted House" was my favorite of John Grisham's novels. Grisham's depictions of life in the '50s on a farm reminded me of one of my favorite authors, John Steinbeck. Grisham's prose is sparse but beautiful in this story, which involves a murder, but is mostly a coming-of-age story of the young protagonist.
Such a well-written, engaging book. As the back cover suggests, A Painted House reminded me of books like To Kill a Mockingbird and Huck Finn. A boy from Arkansas (who loves the Cardinals and baseball and dreams of moving to St. Louis, all pluses in my book) grows up living the hard life on a cotton farm in the 50s. The book paints a vivid picture of what that common life might be like, with coming of age stories, family drama, and interpersonal conflicts, all while throwing in the less common i ...more
This is NOT your father's Grisham!

From the back cover: Until that September of 1952, Luke Chandler had never kept a secret or told a single lie. This is an interesting description that tells nothing and everything about the book :)

First, the only thing about this book that is Grisham-like is that it takes place in the South. Other than that, you'd never know who wrote this book if his name wasn't on the cover.

In some ways, it reminded me of a book I read in high school -- John Steinbeck's The Gr
Crystal Craig
This was the first John Grisham book I’ve read in years. It was different than what we normally see from him; it wasn’t a legal thriller. I really enjoyed it. It wasn’t fast-paced; it’s not the type of story that’s meant to move along quickly. It was a realistic story about the everyday life of seven-year-old, Luke. He lives with his parents and grandparents on a cotton farm in a small town in rural Arkansas. They wake before the crack of dawn – tend to the animals, eat breakfast – then it’s off ...more
Ginny Messina
This is not the usual John Grisham fare, but instead is a beautiful story told with great warmth and compassion. I have always enjoyed Grisham's books as good airplane reads--but never expected that he would write a book that I would list as one of my all-time favorites.
I picked this book up at a library book sale, and didn't have very high expectations for it. But after the first few pages I was hooked. It's a great sweet story.
Jane Stewart
The audiobook narrator makes this better than my own reading would be.

I am biased against 1st person point-of-view (thanks to the New Adult genre). But this book reminds me how great 1st person can be. And I can’t imagine this story done any other way. This is 1st person Luke. He is seven-years-old. He is always sneaking around and listening to things and seeing things he’s not supposed to. It was exciting. And then he’s got all these secrets. He doesn’t want to keep secrets but he has to. I enj
I don't normally read Grisham, he's a great writer just not my typical genre. This, however, was an awesome story. I loved the whole experience of entering the world of Luke Chandler in 1951. It was a tremendously entertaining story. Well written, with so much detail and humor, realistic voices and a simpler time that was somehow made to be full of drama and suspense. I felt this was one of the best stories I can recall written from this era and brought so fully into focus.

Luke Chandler, 7 years
 Δx Δp ≥ ½ ħ
Entah mengapa, diantara segudang buku Grisham, buku-bukunya yang tidak bertema hukum justru yang menjadi favorit saya-kecuali yang 'The Rainmaker' dan 'A Time To Kill'--
Seperti halnya di buku 'The Bleacher', dengan lihainya Grisham mengaduk emosi pembaca dengan kehidupan getir sang tokoh utama. berbeda dengan 'The Bleacher' dimana tokoh utamanya adalah mantan pemain baseball terkenal yang kemudian hidup 'gagal', di buku APH, tokoh tamanya adalah sang tokoh cilik yang baru berusia 7 tahun, Luke C
Daniel Powell
John Grisham's novel A Painted House met with mixed reviews when it was first published in 2000. Many derided his pacing, one of the work's greatest strengths. And some thought he was in over his head after fleeing the safe harbour of the legal thriller that he had come to dominate.

I really like the book. Told in the first-person through the eyes of seven-year-old Luke Chandler, A Painted House chronicles three generations of cotton farmers and their trials in Arkansas in the 1950s. The story is
This was my first book read by John Grisham and still is one of my all time favorites!!!

I listed to the audio version of the book.

It is full of suspense, drama and humor and there is not a lawyer in site. Written from the viewpoint of 7yr old Luke who is the Chandler family's son, the book covers a season of cotton picking along with all of the details and drama the cotton farmer experiences as a result of mother nature.

The family hires a crew of Mexicans and "hill people" to pick the cotton f
Una Tiers
Slow rambling tale that emanates from unbelievable POV of seven year. No plot.
Not a crime novel at all. I started this book thinking it was another one of those much appraised courtroom crime novels that've made Grisham rich and famous but no- it is a simple yet an effective book about the paradox of human choices and relationships, not only amongst themselves but with each other in a society too. I read somewhere that after having written so many courtroom thriller, it was only natural for Grisham to want to write something with no juries or trials or nagging conspiracy ...more
I loved this book! Told through the eyes of a very wise seven year old boy (who realistically should have been more like 10 or 11 -- he's too mature and thoughtful for seven, I think), this is the story of one fall cotton harvest season in 1952 Arkansas. The motley cast of characters include "hill people" and Mexican migrant workers, who come to help with the cotton harvest, the multi-generational Chandler family, who live on and are renting the farmland, and other local families. Grisham's char ...more
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Found this in the lobby of a hotel in South Africa, and only read it because it was the only English book there (it was a hotel that catered to the Dutch, who LOOOVE South Africa.) The book is okay, but I probably wouldn't have stuck with it if I had other books to choose from. It's pretty long without much of a storyline.
Aug 14, 2015 Mary rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: drama
Maybe 2.5 stars. I didn't really like any of the characters except maybe Pearl and the nameless, characterless Mexicans minus Cowboy. The characters were not well developed. Their sense of morality was all screwed up, even by the main characters. The seven year old did not have the mind or voice of a seven year old and for all of his moving from "innocence to experience" as per the book summary, I got very little indication of growth. I skimmed most of it because I didn't care enough for the sto ...more
I... I really don't want to finish the book. I'm about 2/3rd of the way through and I'm forcing myself to turn page after page so I thought I might as well write a review and just put the book down.
I think someone read 'Angela's Ashes' and got jealous of the prize it won. haha... just joking...
A Painted House was not a memoir like Angela's Ashes but it portrayed the picture of a 1952 Autumn in Arkansas very well. Not surprising as John Grisham was born in the same state a few years later. From
Alex Telander
“The hill people and the Mexicans arrived on the same day. It was a Wednesday, early in September 1952. The Cardinals were five games behind the Dodgers with three weeks to go, and the season looked hopeless. The cotton, however, was waist-high to my father, over my head, and he and my grandfather could be heard before supper whispering words that were seldom heard. It could be a ‘good crop.’”

This is how John Grisham begins his latest novel, A Painted House. Notice anything different? No lawyers
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"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
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“I looked at her and tried to speak, but all I could think about was how shocked she'd be if I said what I was thinking.” 40 likes
“I was tired of secrets, tired of seeing things I was not supposed to see. And so I just cried.” 37 likes
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