June 14, 2016

Book Review : A Painted House by John Grisham

Book: A Painted House
Author: John Grisham
No. of Pages:384
Price:501 INR

About the book:

Until that September of 1952, Luke Chandler had never kept a secret or told a single lie. But in the long, hot summer of his seventh year, two groups of migrant workers — and two very dangerous men — came through the Arkansas Delta to work the Chandler cotton farm. And suddenly mysteries are flooding Luke’s world.

A brutal murder leaves the town seething in gossip and suspicion. A beautiful young woman ignites forbidden passions. A fatherless baby is born ... and someone has begun furtively painting the bare clapboards of the Chandler farmhouse, slowly, painstakingly, bathing the run-down structure in gleaming white. And as young Luke watches the world around him, he unravels secrets that could shatter lives — and change his family and his town forever....


A painted house is the coming of age book about a seven year old boy, Luke Chandler. Set in the year 1952 and the author’s home town northeastern Arkansas, the book is set over a period of two months, the harvest season that is. The Chandler family hires a family of hill people ‘the Spruill’s’ and some Mexican migrants to help them in harvesting their cotton crop. The Mexicans stay in the chandler’s barn while the Spruill’s house a camp in front of the unpainted Chandler house. Luke, other than working for long hours in the cotton field to collect money and buy a Cardinal jacket, he enjoys the baseball games and loves going to town every weekend.
    On one town visit Luke notices Hank Spruill, who is aggressive and somewhat mentally unstable attacking one of the three Sisco boys’s who have a regular street fight, the boy succumbs to his injuries and a investigation follows. Luke gets involved in the investigation as he had noticed the fight and his fairly simple a dreamy life flips the side. Over the following days Luke enjoys his time with tally Spruill, observing her and cowboy, going on long walks with her and seeing her naked while she bathes far away from the field in the stream of water. Everything is new for seven year old Luke.
Over the period of two months Luke is threatened, traumatized to have seen things that no seven year old would want to. He wakes to nightmares of the events he witnessed. The unconditional help that his mother offers to their very poor neighbors, the Latchers. The unfolding of certain events that change his life forever. One day Luke discovers someone has been secretly painting the weather-beaten clapboards white, and eventually he continues the job with the approval of his parents and the assistance of the Mexicans, contributing some of his own savings for the purchase of paint.
The things Luke experiences and his struggle to keep up all the secrets and how he wishes that things would turn good is beautifully described. His strength and determination that they'll somehow have a good future is heartwarming. 
This was my first John Grisham book and it sure isn’t my last ;)
It’s one hell of an engrossing book.

Rating: 4/5*

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