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A Painted House

3.65  ·  Rating Details  ·  59,720 Ratings  ·  3,104 Reviews
The Barnes & Noble Review

John Grisham takes a break from penning edge-of-your-seat legal thrillers for his latest effort, a coming-of-age tale with a deceptively languid pace and a strong literary flavor. A Painted House, which Grisham first serialized in his magazine, The Oxford American, depicts the simple but hardscrabble life of an Arkansas farming family during
ebook, 480 pages
Published March 16th 2010 by Dell (first published 2001)
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Mike Hill It's written from a Southern perspective, which being one growing up in a similar situation I really enjoyed. A lot of truths in this book about…moreIt's written from a Southern perspective, which being one growing up in a similar situation I really enjoyed. A lot of truths in this book about compassion, good and evil, family ties, prejudice on all sides and forgiveness.(less)
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Mar 21, 2008 Gina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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 it was amazing  ·  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 it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 23, 2009 Janelle rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
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.
Ginny Messina
Aug 25, 2007 Ginny Messina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: all-time-faves
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.
"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 it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 01, 2016 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like Grisham's legal thrillers on occasion, and I love SKIPPING CHRISTMAS. This is an altogether different beast. Straight up historical fiction, set on a struggling cotton farm in 1950's Arkansas, it's as much a picture of that time and place as it is a coming of age tale. I would recommend this to teens, I think it would be great for classroom discussion. It's a sort of post-Depression, Grapes of Wrath-lite.
Feb 21, 2014 Carol rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jul 19, 2014 Johnny rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, kindled
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
Jan 28, 2011 Dawn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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
Mar 31, 2008 Stephen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 02, 2015 Marian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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’
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
Mauoijenn ~ *Mouthy Jenn* ~
Not your typical Grisham novel. It did get my attention with the story line. Always up for a good southern mystery.
Jul 11, 2010 Suzanne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Suzanne by: Kim (book club selection)
Shelves: book-club
Found this very entertaining. Good story. I can see a movie being made of this tale about a little boy getting caught up in adult drama when all he wants to do is dream about being a professional baseball player someday. Centered around the hard life of a poor farming family in 1950s Arkansas, and seen through the eyes of a 7-year-old, many of the most dramatic elements of the story could be very compelling cinemagraphicaly and, if done right, the characters' plights very moving.
Jul 28, 2008 Neva rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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.
Jan 02, 2009 Antof9 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2005-read, americana
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
Scott Rhee
Jun 18, 2013 Scott Rhee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"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.
Una Tiers
Slow rambling tale that emanates from unbelievable POV of seven year. No plot.
Jane Stewart
Oct 10, 2014 Jane Stewart rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5-star-other, fiction
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
 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
Jun 03, 2011 Daniel Powell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 06, 2010 Patsy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 06, 2009 Betsy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult-ficton
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.
Nov 28, 2014 Ishita rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 19, 2014 Emily rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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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Asghar Abbas
Feb 21, 2016 Asghar Abbas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Poignant, in the vein of To Kill a Mocking Bird.
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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
More about John Grisham...

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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.” 43 likes
“I was tired of secrets, tired of seeing things I was not supposed to see. And so I just cried.” 40 likes
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