Friday, November 5, 2010

Book Review: Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer

TITLE: Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer
AUTHOR: John Grisham
CATEGORY: Childrens
GENRE: mystery
PREMISE: Theodore loves law. He knows all the local lawyers, cops, and judges. He sneaks into trials, and even helps out the kids in his school with law advice. Then a big murder trial takes place and Theo ends up right in the thick of it...
MY REVIEW: I really wanted to like this. I mean it's Grisham. This man got me started on the mystery/thriller genre so I'll always have a soft spot for him (and Patterson). I admit I was a bit dubious about him writing a kids book, but hey it worked out well for Patterson with Maximum Ride so why not?
Unfortunately I think Grisham is one of those who can't write kids books well. Some author's aren't meant for childrens, or YA, or adult, and Grisham is not right for kids fiction. Mostly because I don't think he remembers what being a kid was like. At least that's my only explanation for Theo. The kid is thirteen yet he's not a raging ball of hormones (and neither are his classmates who apparently live in the sixties when we still had gender seperated classes). Plus I'm sorry but in my day Theo would been picked on relentlessly for his interest. Yet he's not only not bullied once but seems to be respected by his classmates (who are all also very eager to learn law apparently; any middle-school teacher would scoff at this) and even at one point gets asked out by a popular girl. way. Other things also don't really jive with this book (a kid loving trials? Really?) but the inaccuracy of the school life/how it is to be a teenager really kept bugging me.
Then there's the fact that it's just boring. Literally we already know who did it. There's no surprise twists, no turns. It actually turns into a preachy book about lawyer ethics. Some lawyers may find interest in that but most kids would fall asleep to this. I honestly find it hard to believe that Grisham wrote this because I don't remember him being this bad. I can't help but wonder if he gave this idea to someone and just let them ghostwrite it in his name or something.
Some good thins are that Theo is likeable (but not very relateable). It does a good job of explaining law in a way that kids will understand (I admit I even learned a thing or two I didn't know). But if Grisham plans on turning this into a series he needs to work on character and making Theo and pretty much all of this more believable.
WHO SHOULD READ: Grisham fans if you want, kids interested in how trials work
MY RATING: Two and a half out of Five Judge gravels

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