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A Goodreads user asked:

I love your book but I wish you would go back to more legal thrillers. These "issue" novels get old. For one thing, you're never going to change somebody's mind on how they feel about issues. If you want to help, support like-minded groups who feel the way you do about it.

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Fay Based on this reasoning, Upton Sinclair never would have written The Jungle. But he did and it led to changes, so there we are. If he's interested in the subject, the writing is good, and it is based on solid facts, then why shouldn't Grisham write where he pleases? In the end, people write for themselves.
Gina I disagree, believing that if the reader is open-minded, opinions can be changed by a well written issue novel and often an issue story can bring an issue to light if it is not a well publicized issue. I rarely choose a mystery novel simply for the sake of a mystery but will choose an issue story as I want to learn something as I read.
Marty Fried I disagree completely. I knew very little about this subject before reading the book, but after reading it, and seeing how it can affect people and the environment, I wanted to immediately do something about it.

I think this is one of the greatest accomplishments of reading books - to see issues from someone else's perspective. This has great power to change someone's mind, more so than dry facts.
Nandi Crawford First off, I had no knowledge on strip mining. regular mining yes, but to see that the natural landscape of our country is going to straight pot for straight profit, that is wrong, and NO, I live nowhere near where this is happening, but I'm glad he brought it up in this book.
Merrell Gerber Books offer insights into topics that the average reader would have no knowledge of. Usually the author does a minimum of research on the issue. One still has to weigh the facts and sources but to dismiss a book because it is an ''issue'' novel is a close-minded reaction. Grisham certainly has the background, intelligence and skill to write about 'issue' related topics.
Tammy While he may not "change" the mind of anyone..... He does make many aware of an issue that was not something of which they were concerned about before reading his book. John Grisham is an excellent writer across genres. I too would have like a neatly tied ribbon at the end where everyone lived happily ever after. But..... that is not normally the way things are in real life either. Regardless, WTG Grisham. Nicely done.
Mary Nearly all, if not all of Grisham's books are "issue" books. As a daughter and granddaughter of coal miners I am so very pleased with the research that he put into this book. Thanks to discussions of this book Ive been made aware of the ignorance of this country regarding the rape of the southern appalachian mountains. Name me one other area in the USA where the government has allowed commercial companies, some from out of the country, to destroy so much and leave behind so little of value!
Denise Yes, I too, disagree with your opinion about "issue" novels. It was an "issue" novel that brought me back to John Grisham books. His book The Confession was about the death penalty. Below, I've pasted the last part of my review of the book, it speaks to why I like reading such "issue" novels:
" ...Yes, Mr Grisham tells a story around a topic about which he holds strong belief. That he ended his story with a "business as usual" incident really bothered me - that person had no ally. That speaks more for our attention span on important issues and how carefully we monitor our legislators' action or non-action. They are our representatives. Some say we have the government that we deserve. Perhaps that is the moral of Mr Grisham's story. ..."
DD@Phila
Jean Did you learn about the coal mining situation in Appalachia? I've had arguments with people who insist there is "clean coal" and now feel vindicated about that. But I also wish other corporations would put stores in the area so the communities had other means to support themselves.
Russell Turner I have read most of Grisham's books. They are both entertaining and thoughtful. This is no exception.

I would like to comment on what some others have said regarding this novel. There seem to be a number of folks who are decrying the fact that this is an "issue" book and that Grisham should adhere to other material. Actually those folks must not have read most of his other books. Virtually all of his legal novels are "issue" books. His first published novel "A Time to Kill" dealt with, among other things, racism. There have since been various "issues" he has dealt with including health insurance, big oil's manipulation of the courts, class action lawsuits, and many more.

I have to wonder if those who are demeaning this book as a departure for him are in fact trolls doing the bidding of big coal. (less)
~mad Go back, reader, to reading other authors!
I, for one, knew very little about the coal industry, big law and Appalachia.

I was fascinated.
Mary Ann Oh, contraire - "Issue" novels create awareness - dire issues that scream for our attention, but we choose to just not think about if it does not effect us directly. We've become so complacent in our busy lives that sometimes even things that are right in front of us everyday - and quite horrific - do not compel us to DO anything about it. There must be other ways to deal with the poverty in Coal Country than allowing this degradation of land and human spirit. And anyway...You don't pick up an "issue" novel unless that issue "spoke" to you when you checked out the jacket, right? Keep writing them Grish!!
Brian I love his issue novels- they do shed light on things like big coal, banking, the legal profession, and how far someone will go to maintain power. I didn;t love this one though.
Sharon I like the 'issue' books.
Bernie Pisczek This should have been a legal thriller, if he would have finished it. The book is great, well written and realistic. But it needs another 100 or so pages to finish it. Obviously rushed to make the Christmas selling season.
Mike Day I will disagree with the "issue" based novels comment. Grisham changed my views on capitol punishment when I read "The Chamber"... he is a great writer, this novel on the coal mining was just a lame book. The main character didn't really have anything - no depth, nothing that I found I wanted to get behind. She was just... flat. So this was a lame Grisham novel, but this author CAN change hearts and minds. That is part of why he is so good.
James IT is clear to me that Grisham became tired of writing books about sleazy lawyers. He wants to do something different: hence Skipping Christmas, Playing for Pizza, and this book.
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by John Grisham (Goodreads Author)
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