Elaine's Reviews > A Painted House

A Painted House by John Grisham
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's review
Aug 23, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: year-2011, z-763, g-historical
Read from August 18 to 19, 2011

Yes, that John Grisham. But in this nostalgic, coming-of-age tale set in 1952 Arkansas, there’s not a lawyer in sight. Seven-year-old Luke Chandler lives and works on a cotton farm with his parents and grandparents. They don’t own a phone, the annual Sears catalog has pride of place next to the radio and the family bible, and Luke just knows he’s going to grow up to play for his beloved St. Louis Cardinals. When cotton-picking time comes around, the Chandlers hire a group of Mexican workers and the hillbilly Spruill family – and though tensions run high between the two groups, they need every hand possible to get the crop in. Which leaves Luke in a tough position when he witnesses one of the Spruills fatally beat a man in town. He has learned it’s a sin to tell a lie, but revealing the truth will make it impossible for the family to get the cotton in on time. And unfortunately that’s not the last secret he has to keep during that fateful harvest. Before the last of the cotton is picked, Luke has witnessed enough to realize his sheltered, idyllic life will never be the same. Grisham’s vivid descriptions and steadily building tension make this a compelling read.

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