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The Associate by John Grisham
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Aug 11, 2009

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Read in August, 2009

There are many valid complaints that could be made about Grisham's writing. It's not Pulitzer-quality. You're not going to walk away from any of his books feeling enlightened or changed in some way, as the most brilliant books frequently can inspire. However, I've found, and his most recent effort 'The Associate' is no exception, his novels are just plain fun. Popcorn literature, if you will.

'The Associate' tells the story of a young law student who finds himself blackmailed into spying on his law firm. There's a great deal of insight into the legal profession here - as a lawyer, of course, Grisham would know. It's rather fascinating, and sounds exaggerated - though whether it is or not I can't say.

The book's a fun, quick read. The protagonist is likeable, the toughness of his situation understandible. I will say this: as a woman, the moral.. grayness of the past event that haunts him is somewhat bothersome. Basically, in college he was partying with a group of boys who seemed to have taken advantage of a woman while she was passed out. The various characters go on about how she was promiscuous and how she'd slept with them before.

I havent quite decided if I should be aggrieved by this or not. There seems to be some latent sexism there. But I think perhaps the moral ambiguity of the event was done on purpose. Still - it grates somewhat. After consideration, I took off a star for it.

Setting that aside - the characters are interesting, the plot is fast-paced, and the insight into law firm life is intriguing. A good summer read, if you don't let the moral sketchiness get to too much.

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