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Monday, June 16, 2014

John Grisham's The Chamber

It's John Grisham Day! I love a good Grisham novel for the beach, so while I was on Spring Break a while ago I picked up an early one, The Chamber.

Adam Hall grew up knowing nothing about his relatives. He had his immediate family--at least, until his father committed suicide when Adam was just a teen. It is then that he finds out the deep, dark family secret--he has a grandfather, a member of the KKK, on death row for the bombing of a law office and killing two young boys. Adam now just happens to be working for the law firm defending his grandfather and finagles his way on to the case. Can he save his long-lost grandfather's life? Will he even want to when he finds out the truth?

As per usual, I thoroughly enjoyed my quiet time with Mr. Grisham. This book is one of his original classics and it shows. I love how many of his stories take place in Ford County; it is nice for me to read a whole bunch of "y'alls" and hear about food and lifestyles that are a part of my childhood.

That being said, I was very taken by the story. I was surprised, actually--I found myself really sitting with the characters for long after I put the book down. I was at dinner with my family and wondering what would become of Sam Cayhall's soul after his execution, where on earth Aunt Lee had run off to, and how Adam could be so forgiving of such monstrous sins on the part of his relatives. There was a lot unsaid in this book, particularly in the realm of Sam's daughter Lee, who is Adam's aunt. She clearly went though much more turmoil than Grisham spells out for us and it is a harrowing yet moving addition to the story.

I appreciate that Grisham tells long and detailed stories with conflicted characters; he makes you choose for yourself how you feel about what's going one (at least in his early books). The death penalty is a fraught subject and it shows in this narrative--everyone has to pick sides, either out of conviction or because he or she just has to do the job for which they are hired. Sam's conversion from a tough and angry soul to his acceptance of his faith is quite a character arc, and it was fascinating to read and to be so involved in the transformation.

So yeah, it's another Grisham win for the beach books.

Kindle version on left, hard copy on right.

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