Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer, by John Grisham

I… ugh. I don’t usually regret reading books, but this one? This one I do. I have never read a John Grisham novel, so I don’t know how this compares, but on its own? It’s not good.

So why did I listen to it? Well, I’ve got five hours of tedious work everyday that is made better by the presence of audiobooks and podcasts. And I was out of podcasts. And audiobooks. And I knew that a friend had read and at least moderately liked this, so I figured it would be okay.

Well, I guess it had its okay moments. Let me think of them. … Um. …

Okay, let me take a different tack. Here’s why it should have been good: I adore Veronica Mars, which is about a high-schooler that kicks some butt in the private investigation department. Theodore Boone is about a middle-schooler who kicks some butt in the law department, and throughout the book I felt a distinct VM vibe from the story, with fellow students and even adults coming to Theodore with their problems and Theo solving them right quick.

But it turns out that the conceit doesn’t actually carry over very well. For starters, I’m pretty sure it’s not completely illegal to practice private investigation without a license, and even when it is, the nature of being a PI lends itself to a little rule-breaking. Theo Boone apparently thinks it is totally okay to practice law without a license as long as he doesn’t charge for it (very very wrong), and when he’s all hacking into computer systems and lying to school staff and whatnot I am like, “ARE YOU SURE IT IS A LAWYER YOU ARE TRYING TO BE.” I know lawyers are not all fine upstanding citizens, but the ones in Grisham’s novel here at least try to be, so all of this shenaniganizing kills me.

Other things I did not like: the central bit of the story is this big murder trial, and the prosecution has absolutely no case but everyone thinks the guy is guilty anyway but it doesn’t matter because reasonable doubt blah blah blah. And a convenient way for the guy to be convicted would be for a surprise witness to show up, like they do on TV. So when several characters informed me that a surprise witness NEVER happens because it is NOT ALLOWED… I figured there was going to be a surprise witness. And (spoiler!) there is, and he blurts his whole story to Theo (OF COURSE), and much of the book has Theo dithering about whether and how to get this dude into the trial.

And it’s just so… tiresome. I didn’t really care whether this guy’s testimony could or would be used, and I really didn’t care about the seventy million other legal troubles Theo helped in, but I was curious to see how it would all turn out and then the ending just does something else entirely!

On the plus side? It’s not Castle.

Recommendation: I think that if you are more willing than I am to suspend your disbelief and/or you are a precocious 7-year-old who thinks that law is pretty neat and wants to read books about kids and law, you will like this book.

Rating: 2/10
(A to Z Challenge)

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5 thoughts on “Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer, by John Grisham

  1. Mary says:

    Haha, am I the friend? I can't remember if we talked about this, but I really liked it 🙂 Though… I'm very sure he's setting it up to be a series, so the end really annoyed me.

    And I've read many a John Grisham book (though they were mostly at the age when I should have been reading something like Theodore Boone… so you probably shouldn't. This is like the baby book equivalent of a John Grisham book.

  2. Deborah says:

    I'm sad that you really did not like John Grisham. While I don't think that his books are amazing, I find that they are pretty easy to read and I usually enjoy the flow of the story. I have read a couple that I found incredibly boring though. I've also stayed away from his non-standard stuff because I don't think I would like it.

    If you ever feel like trying him again I would recommend something like The Runaway Jury, The Appeal, or The Last Juror.

  3. Mary says:

    My favorite was always The Rainmaker– though the movie is admittedly very good, while still excising the first 150 pages of the book. I tend to swing toward the very early Grishams– A Time To Kill, The Chamber, etc.

  4. Amy says:

    I don't think I liked Grisham all that well when I read one of his books. Actually, I can't even remember the title, just that there were lawyers acting as judges in prison working up a scheme to get out. Maybe Grisham just doesn't like lawyers? And maybe your views were colored because of what you know?

  5. Alison says:

    Mary — yeah, this is all your fault. Or not. 🙂

    Deborah — The “flow” to this story seemed pretty much non-existant, which was part of my problem. But I am certainly willing to try Grisham again after I've forgotten about this one!

    Amy — Oh, I'm sure having a law-student husband was part of the problem, but, I mean, if the story were good enough I could have overlooked it. 🙂

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