Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Ford County - Book #118

| Title | Ford County |
| Author |John Grisham |
| Genre |Adult Fiction – Short Stories |
| Pages | 308 |
| Publisher | Dutton |
| Copyright |2009 |

Synopsis (from web-site)
In his first collection of short stories John Grisham takes us back to Ford County, Mississippi, the setting of his first novel, A Time to Kill.
Wheelchair-bound Inez Graney and her two older sons, Leon and Butch, take a bizarre road trip through the Mississippi Delta to visit the youngest Graney brother, Raymond, who’s been locked away on death row for eleven years. It could well be their last visit.Mack Stafford, a hard-drinking and low-grossing run-of-the-mill divorce lawyer, gets a miracle phone call with a completely unexpected offer to settle some old, forgotten cases for more money than he has ever seen. Mack is suddenly bored with the law, fed up with his wife and his life, and makes drastic plans to finally escape.
Quiet, dull Sidney, a data collector for an insurance company, perfects his blackjack skills in hopes of bringing down the casino empire of Clanton’s most ambitious hustler, Bobby Carl Leach, who, among other crimes, has stolen Sidney’s wife.Three good ol’ boys from rural Ford County begin a journey to the big city of Memphis to give blood to a grievously injured friend. However, they are unable to drive past a beer store as the trip takes longer and longer. The journey comes to an abrupt end when they make a fateful stop at a Memphis strip club.
The Quiet Haven Retirement Home is the final stop for the elderly of Clanton. It’s a sad, languid place with little controversy, until Gilbert arrives. Posing as a low-paid bedpan boy, he is in reality a brilliant stalker with an uncanny ability to sniff out the assets of those “seniors” he professes to love.
One of the hazards of litigating against people in a small town is that one day, long after the trial, you will probably come face-to-face with someone you’ve beaten in a lawsuit. Lawyer Stanley Wade bumps into an old adversary, a man with a long memory, and the encounter becomes a violent ordeal.Clanton is rocked with the rumor that the gay son of a prominent family has finally come home, to die. Of AIDS. Fear permeates the town as gossip runs unabated. But in Lowtown, the colored section of Clanton, the young man finds a soul mate in his final days.
Featuring a cast of characters you’ll never forget, these stories bring Ford County to vivid and colorful life. Often hilarious, frequently moving, and always entertaining, this collection makes it abundantly clear why John Grisham is our most popular storyteller.

Why I read It
I find John Grisham books quite enjoyable most of the time.

The Good
Quick glimpses of a southern town. All the stories were quite good and developed some really strong characters; from the lawyer trapped in a dead life who catches an opportunity for freedom, to a men who have death beating a path to their door.

The Bad
My problem is universal to all short stories. If they are bad they tend to be really bad. If, as in this case, they are good they are too short. I would have liked to have read a full book on each of these.

The Ugly (my opinion)
If you have never taken the time to read a short story collection before, than this is a good place to start. The tales all involve characters from Ford County (which was featured in the book A Time to Kill). If I were to name a binding them that runs through all of them it would be Escape. As in the unknown gambler who escapes his boring identity and finds the life he should have had, to the death row inmate who is trying to escape his rapidly approaching destiny. I liked the last story in which a wealthy black sheep returns home to finish out his days because of AIDS. Through his struggle his caretaker is able to escape the social bonds that have held her prisoner for decades.

The Truth? (other reviews)
The Washington Post

Mormon Mentions

Author BiographyBorn on February 8, 1955 in Jonesboro, Arkansas, to a construction worker and a homemaker, John Grisham as a child dreamed of being a professional baseball player. Realizing he didn’t have the right stuff for a pro career, he shifted gears and majored in accounting at Mississippi State University. After graduating from law school at Ole Miss in 1981, he went on to practice law for nearly a decade in Southaven, specializing in criminal defense and personal injury litigation. In 1983, he was elected to the state House of Representatives and served until 1990.

When he’s not writing, Grisham devotes time to charitable causes, including most recently his Rebuild The Coast Fund, which raised 8.8 million dollars for Gulf Coast relief in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. He also keeps up with his greatest passion: baseball. The man who dreamed of being a professional baseball player now serves as the local Little League commissioner. The six ballfields he built on his property have played host to over 350 kids on 26 Little League teams.

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