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A Painted House

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  88,157 ratings  ·  4,596 reviews
"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 cou ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published February 3rd 2004 by Bantam (first published March 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 compa…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)
Rachael While reading this book it reminded me of Steinbeck, one of my favorite authors of all time. Grapes of Wrath I think is similar. If want something sho…moreWhile reading this book it reminded me of Steinbeck, one of my favorite authors of all time. Grapes of Wrath I think is similar. If want something shorter than GoW try Steinbecks collection of short stories The Long Valley or Cannery Row and Tortilla Flats.(less)

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Average rating 3.73  · 
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 ·  88,157 ratings  ·  4,596 reviews

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Mar 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Diane Wallace
Jul 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great read! therapeutic,compelling,enjoyable and a moving story...determination,twists and turns to hold your interest to the end..well written (paperback!)
Oct 03, 2007 rated it did not like it
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
Karl Marberger
Apr 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An incredibly wholesome, down to Earth, All-American tale.
Jul 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
John Grisham’s legal thrillers were a big part of my high school reading repertoire. A Time to Kill, The Firm, The Client; I read them all and looked forward to each new book as part of my summer reading list. After a while, Grisham’s books became formulaic and rather than anticipate his next thriller, I put him aside for years, choosing instead books with a literary bent. John Grisham, the baseball fan? Most men of his generation are, but I did not make the connection until Grisham came into th ...more
Bailey Jane
Nov 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Lee  (the Book Butcher)
Aug 13, 2021 rated it really liked it
A coming of age story. Luke Chandler a seven year old relates his last year on a cotton farm in Arkansas. John Grisham writes with extreme detail to paint a in-depth picture of the rural south. set in post dust bowl 1952.

My mother gave this to me and told me to take my time with it. she said it reminds her of going to her grandparents house in south Georgia. she spent a lot of time down there in the 60's before her parent moved permanently to Atlanta. This book reminds her of her childhood.

Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh
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
Wayne Barrett
Mar 27, 2017 rated it really liked it

A surprisingly good book. For me anyway because usually I'm not into the legal courtroom thrillers (which this book is not) so I have avoided Grisham. And I have to also humbly admit that I have only read one of his novels, The Firm, and I liked it. So, I think I will give the guy a chance and add another of his books.

I only read this because my mom recommended it and I felt like I needed to reciprocate because she usually reads my recommendations. Well, thanks mom. This was a pretty darn good
Inspired by his own childhood in Arkansas, A Painted House is John Grisham'S first major work outside the legal thriller genre, the genre for which he is so well known.

Grisham’s trademark is suspense. If this isn’t a legal thriller, does the book at least have suspense? Yes, but only to the extent you can see the events of the summer of 1952 through Luke’s eyes. He is the central protagonist. He is seven, and it is he telling the story. In my view, Grisham captures remarkably well the world of a
"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
Mar 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: grisham
At first glance,cotton farming in rural Arkansas doesn't seem like a likely subject for a John Grisham book,as he specializes in legal thrillers.

However,Grisham spent his childhood in such a setting and there is a touch of authenticity to the proceedings.

It starts rather slowly,but then the tempo picks up.It is about poverty,struggle and adversity.Cotton farming is a tough life.

But as would be apt for a thriller writer,the book has its share of crime too,in the later part.

As usual for Grisham bo
N.N. Light
Dec 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Amazingly I had never ever heard of this Grisham work until I read the book. I have seen many a book made into a movie and never really liked any of those. I have read other Grisham works and never liked those. I loved this book.

The most amazing part of this book is that it is written from the perspective of a 7 year old. This so reminds me of the fantastic 'A Christmas Story' which is told from the point of view of little Ralphie. Here Luke tells the story and it is one that grips the reader.
Jul 23, 2009 rated it liked it
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. ...more
Feb 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
May 09, 2012 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
Ginny Messina
Aug 24, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
Apr 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
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’
Mar 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 19, 2011 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
Aug 28, 2008 rated it it was ok
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
Sharon Huether
Mar 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: family, fiction, secrets
This story told by Luke Chandler, the youngest member of the Chandler family. They were cotton farmers in Arkansas. They hired Mexicans and the Hill people from the Ozarks to pick their cotton.

The Hill people felt sorry for the Chandlers, since their brown wood house had never been painted.
Tally with brother Trot bought white paint every week with their earnings. Trott started the painting while the rest of them were picking cotton.

Luke saw a lot of things that a little boy should not see and wi
Feb 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
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. ...more
Jane Stewart
Oct 10, 2014 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
Jane West
Jan 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I read this some time ago. I love the story. The setting is in the 50s, a much simpler time and yet a much more difficult time. The story is told through the eyes of an eight-year-old. I'm not sure, but I understand the story is based on John Grisham's childhood.

This is not a fast pace book. It is so much more. John Grisham told a very heart moving tale of the hard times as a farmer through the eyes of a young boy. The boy had me laughing at times with some of his silly pranks. It was a time th
Theresa Leone Davidson
Oct 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I am convinced the people here who rated this book poorly were just disappointed that this is not Grisham's usual, forgettable crime thriller. A Painted House is serious fiction, and I admit being surprised because I didn't think Grisham could write this well. A story told from seven year old Luke Chandler's point of view, about his life on a cotton farm in 1952 in Arkansas, and all of the big and small dramas that take place. The novel reminded me very much of John Steinbeck's writing, and in p ...more
Jul 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
This was fun to read about life in Arkansas, where I grew up. He did a great job with descriptions of land and such. It's a different kind of Grisham book, but it's worth the read. ...more
Mar 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
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
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John Grisham is the author of forty-seven consecutive #1 bestsellers, which have been translated into nearly fifty languages. His recent books include The Judge's List, Sooley, and his third Jake Brigance novel, A Time for Mercy, which is being developed by HBO as a limited series.

Grisham is a two-time winner of the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction and was honored with the Library of Congress C

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