John Grisham’s “A Painted House” Garners Tepid Response

A small group of seven gathered at Connie’s home yesterday to discuss John Grisham’s non-legal story, A Painted House. Set in 1952 Arkansas, it is a slice of life tale of small time cotton growers.

All in attendance agreed that the book’s greatest flaw was in Grisham’s choice of making his lead character and narrator a seven-year-old boy, whose recall and maturity of thought was unrealistic, as was his ability to carry out the chore of painting his family’s house. Some readers found that the story had no strong center, others that it took too long to get to the point. All that said, there were some strong points to the novel, including the sense of time and place, the rendering of community, and the depiction of awe at the technological invention of television.

No one hated the book, but the response was not in general highly enthusiastic. On to our next selection


About connieciampanelli

I am the administrator of this page on behalf of our book club. I retired from La Salle Academy after serving as a secretary in The Admission and School/College Counseling offices to a total of fourteen years. A lifelong avid reader with a B.A. in Liberal Arts, Major in English, I read as I breathe, meaning reading is like the oxygen that keeps me alive.
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2 Responses to John Grisham’s “A Painted House” Garners Tepid Response

  1. maryjmis says:

    Unfortunately I was unable to make the meeting, but I immensely enjoyed the book. I appreciated the voice of the young reader. It gave a totally different view than if written in a voice of an adult. I loved hearing his interpretation of the events, and how so much of what he did or did not do was related to if he would get in trouble or not. So classic for that time and place. I did not feel that his recall was unrealistic, but that his thoughts would amplify certain events more than others. I really enjoyed his perspective! In addition, I thought it was a very interesting to see cotton picking from a different view from our Aug selection.

    I would have liked a few threads wrapped up though, such as was the murder of Hank ever discovered, and did Uncle Ricky acknowledge the baby. I also felt the ending came abruptly, but I guess that really was the end of his cotton picking days and it just leaves you a sense of brand new start.

    Liked by 1 person

    • connieciampanelli says:

      Mary, the loose threads at the end was part of our discussion. Several readers felt as you did, but I thought that leaving some issues unresolved made the end of the story more like real life, when we don’t know what is going to happen in the future.
      I’m glad that you liked the book as much as I did.


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