Michael's Reviews > Ford County

Ford County by John Grisham
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Dec 24, 2009

did not like it
Read in December, 2009

This book was so bad I couldn't finish it. I normally have enjoyed every other Grisham book and can depend on them for good light entertainment and occasionally a very well done, enlightening story. Ford County must have been written because Grisham had a commitmment with his publisher to churn something out. The book is a series of seven short stories abouth life in Ford County, Mississippi the scene of an early Grisham novel. I went through the first two stories and wondered; why did he bother writing this stuff? The stories are not interesting, they convey no message or idea other than that the characters are not very sympathetic or likeable rednecks. The endings didn't seem to have any object or finality to them other than the author had reached his alloted page count.
Now, I have to confess that I "read" this book as an audio book. I didn't realize that Grisham was going to be the reader until I had started listening to it. What a disaster. Maybe the book was better than it "sounded". Whatever cornpone southern authenticity he thought he would give it by reading it himself was completely sabotaged by his ineptness as a reader. His voice was monotonic and lacked any inflection or drama to it. His speech was so halting that it seemed he was inserting commas after every three or four words. Certainly Grisham wasn't trying to make more money for himself!
There should be a law against authors reading their own work. Seldom do they catch the voice of their characters as a good professional reader can do.
I see all the other 4*-5* reviews of this book in Goodreads and am left wondering : Is it me, or is it Memorex?
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12/04/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-27 of 27) (27 new)

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Verona That's exactly how I feel about this novel. And I am a big Grisham fan. I may not finish it either, but I am definitely putting it down for now.


message 2: by Luann (new)

Luann I saw this at the library, but didn't check it out. Now I'm glad! It definitely won't be at the top of my list to read. Too many other good ones out there! Thanks, Michael and Verona.


message 3: by Philip (new)

Philip I'm a huge Grisham fan myself and didn't like it or finish it, either. The audio performance was definitely a bad idea, although I think the book would still be poor with a better job done reading it. By the way, I love the job Michael Beck does reading Grisham's books- he's #1 in my book.


Michael I'm still wondering how it made the NY Times Best Seller List.


message 5: by Philip (last edited May 06, 2010 10:07AM) (new)

Philip Michael wrote: "I'm still wondering how it made the NY Times Best Seller List."

HaHa! I've got two words for you: John Grisham! He's at the point where he can put out anything and it will sell. Funny thing is, I heard Steve Martin quit doing stand up because people laughed at everything he said- because he was Steve Martin.


babyhippoface I am a big Grisham fan, but I didn't like this one either. Almost every character was unlikeable. I was very disappointed.


message 7: by Philip (new)

Philip babyhippoface wrote: "I am a big Grisham fan, but I didn't like this one either. Almost every character was unlikeable. I was very disappointed."

That was a big issue for me also, I like to have at least one character in the story that I like and root for. Otherwise, why bother reading?


Jenny "Best Seller List" .... means it sold more copies than most.


Jenny Michael's review misled me a bit. First, the edition selected implies that the review is of a book; yet he says later that it was an audio version. Big difference. Secondly, the review is of a piece unfinished by the 'reader'; and how can that be a fair evaluation.

Many comment that they are 'big Grisham fans'. This may mean that they read his thrillers and not his novella works. If I expected a "Pelican Brief", I'd be disappointed too.


Jennifer Jenny wrote: "Michael's review misled me a bit. First, the edition selected implies that the review is of a book; yet he says later that it was an audio version. Big difference. Secondly, the review is of a p..."

I totally agree with Jenny. I really liked Ford County but have never read another Grisham book, so I don't have anything to compare Ford Counties to. Looks like I'll be checking some of his books out now, though! Which are his best ones??


message 11: by Philip (new)

Philip Jennifer wrote: "I totally agree with Jenny. I really liked Ford County but have never read another Grisham book, so I don't have anything to compare Ford Counties to. Looks like I'll be checking some of his books out now, though! Which are his best ones?? "

I'm a big Grisham fan, but didn't finish Ford County because I found it so irritating. I don't think it's necessary to suffer through an entire book to post a review disliking it, it just needs to be stated in the review. Also, it's obvious that Micheal reviewed the audiobook when you read his review. Perhaps he didn't care enough to switch the edition- so what? I tried more than one of the stories and gave up after finding nothing likable. I also quit on The Confession, which became obnoxious in it's heavy handed approach to opposing the death penalty in particular and the state of Texas in general.

Having said that, Grisham's previous novels are among my favorites. If you can listen to his audiobooks narrated by Michael Beck- they're terrific. A Painted House, The Summons, The Chamber, The Testament, and Bleachers I highly recommend. And if you're like me and enjoy topical books during Christmastime, read Skipping Christmas- it's clever and funny. Grisham's humor is one of my favorite things about his stories. Lately his work has been preachy and self-indulgent, not too shocking from someone who is fabulously famous and wealthy- just disappointing. However, I refuse to throw the baby out with the bathwater and will continue to re-read all his wonderful books I have enjoyed so much. Hope that is helpful, Jennifer :0)


Jennifer Philip wrote: "Jennifer wrote: "I totally agree with Jenny. I really liked Ford County but have never read another Grisham book, so I don't have anything to compare Ford Counties to. Looks like I'll be checking s..."

Thanks for the ideas on which books to check out, Phillip! For the record, though, I never said anything about Michael's review of the audiobook or lack of reading the actual book, that was the poster before me. If you reread. My first post, you will see I only said I agreed with her thought that non-Grisham fans liked the book whereas Grisham fans did not. I look forward to reading more Grisham!


message 13: by Philip (new)

Philip Jennifer wrote: "Philip wrote: "Jennifer wrote: "I totally agree with Jenny. I really liked Ford County but have never read another Grisham book, so I don't have anything to compare Ford Counties to. Looks like I'l..."

I knew Jennifer, sorry I didn't make that clear in my reply. My main purpose was to give you some recommendations, but I got on a tangent going back to the post you commented on. It all made perfect sense in my mixed up head, though!


Jennifer Philip wrote: "Jennifer wrote: "Philip wrote: "Jennifer wrote: "I totally agree with Jenny. I really liked Ford County but have never read another Grisham book, so I don't have anything to compare Ford Counties t..."

Lol it's all good! I added your recommendations to my to-read list, and am excited to start them! Thank you :D


Michael Philip wrote: "Jennifer wrote: "I totally agree with Jenny. I really liked Ford County but have never read another Grisham book, so I don't have anything to compare Ford Counties to. Looks like I'll be checking s..."
I'm pretty sure I made it obvious that it was an audio book being reviewed. I didn't realive there was a different cover to use for idntification so I appologize. I have read/liked all of Grisham's books up until Ford county. I've read about 90% of Grisham's books and used audio books only when that was more convenient (Ford County and Playing for Pizza are two). It usually depends on what is available first at the library or if I think its not a serious piece of literature that I want to ponder as I read. I've always liked both (maybe with the exception of Theodare Boone which was just OK for me).
I found nothing to like in Ford County and Grisham's reading of it only made it worse.


Jennifer I've never tried audio books, I feel like I'd stop listening after awhile if I was doing other things while listening lol.


Michael Yes, they are easy to lose focus so I don't do any heavy reading with them.
What works best for me is to listen to them while I'm doing my 45 minutes on the elliptical trainer at the gym.
It's easy to focus and counters the boredom of exercising. Plus the time flies by!
My library has free downloads for my MP3 so I always have several books ready to pass the time.


Jaime I agree! I'm halfway through (just finished the 3rd story, which is the best so far) but I just think he's not good at short stories. They are arguably harder to write than novels even though he seems to waste words and approach them the same, which is bad.


message 19: by CJ (new) - rated it 3 stars

CJ Scurria Though I gave this book a higher rating than what you gave it, I pretty much agree with your review. There were stories that had little to no message but at least some were pretty entertaining. As a short-story book I have read better so I was a little disappointed in Grisham with this one.


Michael CJ wrote: "Though I gave this book a higher rating than what you gave it, I pretty much agree with your review. There were stories that had little to no message but at least some were pretty entertaining. As ..."

Griffbluedog wrote: "No, he is a master at short story writing, and after reading three of his novels, I never thought I would think he was a master at anything.

Perhaps you are reading for entertainment alone, and n..."


I read for pleasure which also includes thinking about what I read.


Richard Andrei I read this book and boy, I just forced myself to read it cause I don't want any book hanging around my house unread. And my you, I'm a huge JGrisham fan. I just can't absorb this book.


message 22: by Ann (new) - rated it 1 star

Ann Gann I agree with Michael


Michael I don't hate short stories or John Grisham. I just think short stories are a difficult style to do well and I don't think Grisham did a good job in this attempt. Some examples of good short story writing in my mind is "Tenth of December" by George Saunders and "Country Hardball" by Steve Weddell. The latter could be contrasted to "Ford County"


Griffbluedog It could be that I gave Ford County a high rating because I thought his short stories were twice as good as either The Firm and The Client, his only two novels I've read (I must have mis-counted earlier). I definitely overstated my point, I see, by stating that he is a master at short story writing. Maybe his other novels are considerably better than these two.

At any rate, I'm tired of arguing (and I don't mean you and I are arguing) about something I really don't care much about. You, I, and everyone else in this thread have our own opinions and each is valid because appreciation of any particular story is subjective.

I've heard good things about "Tenth of December" and would like to read it. On your recommendation, I'll also read "Country Hardball." Thanks for the suggestions. I'm a big fan of short stories and if you're interested, I'd be happy to share the titles of some of my favorites.


message 25: by Daniel (new)

Daniel Emery What made you not like the book? I've read western books for 4-5 years and this was the best one I've ever read.


message 26: by Rene Hughes (new)

Rene Hughes gppm0


message 27: by Mick (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mick You missed the best stories! *L* Skip to Michael's Room and Funny Boy. Very good.


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