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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

A Painted House: A Novel

Another beach, another John Grisham novel. It's an addiction. This summer, it was A Painted House.

One summer, a young boy's life comes to a head before it changes for good. Luke, the young man at the heart of the story, is 7years old and has grown up in his small, Southern town his whole life. His father is a cotton farmer, and every year they must hire the hill people to help them with the harvest. It's never enough – and, inevitably, the floods wipe out the entirety of the remaining crop. This year though, a particularly violent man is a part of the hired help, and with the harvest season the town is forever changed. A beautiful young woman disappears, and a young man lies beaten to death. In addition, someone is mysteriously painting Luke's grandparent's house, which is more significant than most people realize. What is the cause of all of these events?

This was an interesting departure for Grisham, and I enjoyed it immensely. Maybe not in the page-turning sense, but in a way that was easy to sink into, like a big comfy chair that smells like your grandma's house. There was certainly an air of mystery, and there was definitely a sense of injury, but overall it was a well-crafted narrative of a boy's coming of age. I love the whole metaphor of watching the house be painted, and how it never really finished in the course of the out-of-towners being there. I also love the relationship between Luke and his elders. The older I get, the more I am able to relate to the characters are in their adulthood phase and who are struggling to be just that. The protagonist's relationship with his parents was lovely and moving, and his relationship with his grandparents was one that I loved as well as envied. I didn't particularly grow up around my grandparents, so I find it interesting to read stories of those who did. Is that what it would've been like? I don't know, but I am grateful to have the reading to be able to see for myself what the fictional view would be.

I left this book with my cousin because I thought that she could join me in loving this book. As I said earlier, because it's a departure from Grisham's usual thriller fair, it's one that I could recommend to quite a few people. It was a wonderful vacation read, and I'm glad I picked this one up.

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