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The Paper Chase

3.57  ·  Rating details ·  496 Ratings  ·  40 Reviews
When initially published, The Paper Chase was widely acclaimed as the first novel to realistically describe the experiences of students within American law schools. The film version appeared to sensational reviews, and John Houseman, playing Professor Kingsfield won an Academy Award. Then, with Houseman again playing Kingsfield, The Paper Chase appeared as a television ser ...more
219 pages
Published (first published 1971)
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Karen
Aug 27, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have One L. by Scott Turow more than once because it is a really good book on the experience of Law School. Note: One L is non-fiction. Paper Chase is a novel. I have to admit, I was a little disappointed with Paper Chase.
M.L. Rio
Read this in one day, and what an odd little book. I imagine many readers will be put off by the impenetrability of the characters, but personally I found this compelling because Osborn absolutely nails the many, many anxieties and insecurities of academia. A solid campus novel; I only wish it it had been a little longer and given the characters a little more room to breathe. (But also Susan is nuts and I love her.)
Jim Cherry
Feb 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“The Paper Chase” is John Jay Osborn’s 1971 novel of law school and the main character Hart’s mostly one sided psychic war with contracts professor Kingsfield.

Osborn started writing “The Paper Chase” in his first year at the Harvard Law School. The novel is formatted like a series of vignettes of law school linked together by Hart’s romance with Kingsfield’s daughter Susan, a relationship he finds every bit as challenging and frustrating as his relationship with her father.

I’ve probably come to
...more
Alon Shalev
Jan 31, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great book with a timeless theme - the relationship between teacher and student - but with plenty of themes that make this a highly individualized novel.

Also, I loved the insight into the mechanics of an ivy league law school. Working with law students here on the West Coast only added to the spice of this crazy rite-of-passage.
Hyland
Aug 10, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This is a fabulous read. It's short, takes a day to read, and gets right to the point. It does the job so much more brilliantly and pungently than Turow's One L. This is the definitive book about the first year at the Harvard Law School. It really made me glad I went somewhere else.
Rgauthie
Sep 24, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The movie is better.
Jacob
Aug 04, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having never been in law school--nor ever interested in attending--any finer points regarding accuracy and stereotypes have fully passed me by.

But as a regular ol' English major, there were aspects of this which really appealed to me.

The Paper Chase reads much less like a novel and more like a series of sketches. They don't necessarily link from chapter-to-chapter, and even once the whole thing is said and done a number of the chapters still feel a bit haphazard. Few books could get away with do
...more
Brian
Mar 16, 2011 rated it it was ok
Meh.

I guess it's almost inevitable that such a short novel(la) would operate in the stereotype-osphere, but allowing that doesn't make The Paper Chase any more enjoyable. I think there was a great nugget of an idea here, but Osborn was either too busy or young to fully develop it. I do hope, however, that the stereotypes in his novel were a reflection of the various sides and states of mind he was in while at Harvard Law...that would be a little redeeming. I had wondered (before reading his bio)
...more
Nick Mann
No book had more influence on me in writing “Forgetful” than “The Paper Chase.” The parts of my book that dealt with the seminar were difficult to write. But the knowledge that more than 40-years ago John Osborne had been able to vividly capture the feel of a 1st-year law class at Harvard made me know that it could be done. I just had to keep at it. Of course Osborne wrote from the viewpoint of Hart, the student, while I wrote from the perspective of Ben Parks, the professor. But still Osborne’s ...more
Rob
Aug 18, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: beginning law students (with a big grain of salt)
What I learned is that this book is over-hyped. I start law school in a few days and virtually all the books I've read about it say that law school is this horrible experience filled with awful people who engage in every sort of cutthroat tactic in order to get ahead of you in the curve. The Paper Chase is the quintessential example (and probably most famous) of these types of stories. From all the people I've talked to here at William & Mary and elsewhere, this type of behavior is quite rar ...more
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John Jay Osborn, Jr. is the author of the bestselling novel, The Paper Chase, a fictional account of one Harvard Law School student's battles with the imperious Professor Charles Kingsfield. The book was made into a movie starring John Houseman and Timothy Bottoms. Houseman won an Oscar for his performance as contracts professor Kingsfield. The Paper Chase also became a television series. Osborn w ...more
More about John Jay Osborn Jr....
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