on September 16, 2003
Most people disappointed with this book complain that it isn't the usual Grisham style. Regardless of whether Grisham is making a political statement about homeless people or not, this book is a GOOD read.
Pro bono work is another aspect of lawyers that Grisham tries to highlight in this book here similar to what he has done with other material like mass torts, mega law firms, racial crimes, underaged witnesses etc. Though this book covers a less glamorous side of the profession (which he openly suggests in the book) which might not make it a fast paces thriller, it is no lesser than any of his other works.
This is the most honest and poignant of his works till date.
on October 9, 2003
"'I'm leaving the firm. I have an offer to work for a public interest firm. A legal clinic near Logan Circle. It specializes in homeless law.'" In The Street Lawyer, John Grisham uses a busy city setting, realistic characters, a sticky plot, and lots of figurative language to get his point across: Don't be selfish.
In this book the main character, Michael, was scrambling up the ladder at Drake & Sweeney, a giant D.C. firm with eigh hundred lawyers. The money was good and getting better; a partnership was three years away. He was a rising star with no time to waste, no time to stop, no time to toss a few coins into the cups of panhandlers. No time for a conscience. But a violent encounter with a homeless man stopped him cold. Michael survived; his assailant did not. Who was this man? Michael did some digging, and learned that he was a mentally ill veteran who'd been in and out of shelters for many years. Then Michael dug a little deeper, and found a dirty secret, and the secret involved Drake & Sweeney. The fast track derailed; the ladder collapsed. Michael bolted from the firm and took a top-secret file with him. He landed on the streets, an advocate for the homeless, a street lawyer.
The setting is in Washington D.C. This is a very effective setting because it is a very large city and probably has a lot of homeless people. The setting is consistent throughout the book. Michael only talks about different sections of Washington D.C.
The characters Grisham used were also essential to the book. They were very life-like. They even think and act like real people. "Mordecai Green was a warm, caring man who labored on the streets protecting hordes of nameless clients."
The plot in The Street Lawyer is awesome. It keeps going and making the reader want to read more and more. The whole book only covers about 6 or 7 days so the plot is drawn out. The conflicts within the plot are Michael vs Himself and Michael vs the outside world.
The language is very vivid in this book. Grisham uses everyday language that we all can relate to. We can hear everything that Michael even thinks about. The language is also very descriptive with attention to every detail. "The sidewalk was busy. I watched the people scurry by, the wind cutting them sharply. A mother with two children passed me, bundled in nice clothing, all holding hands."
John Grisham's The Street Lawyer is a must read. Grisham combines all the necessary elements into this book to make it one of the best books out there.
on April 28, 2004
Okay, its been a while but all i know was that the begining wasn't so bad. He and some of his co-workers are kept hostage by some homeless guy and they're all scared about what this guy is about to do with that gun. Then when the Homeless person comes to open the door for the food, the police blows his brains out. Now that part was really exciting so I kept on reading hoping like that would show up again. But it didn't. The rest of the story is how he does pro bono work and goes after his old company and in the end wins by having his old law firm due pro bono work. All in all, a pretty dumb book.
on June 21, 2004
The Street Lawyer is about a young lawyer, who comes close to death when a homeless man holds him hostage, and his sudden changes of lifestyle and thinking. He quits his current job as a hot-shot lawyer after is encounter and becomes extremely into helping the poor. When he finds out about some wrong-doing at his old law firm, he steals a file that tells all. He thinks he got away with it until he gets into a bad car crash and the file is found by the wrong people. The main character is Michael Brock, who begins the story a lawyer in an unhappy marriage. After his encounter with the crazed homeless man, he realizes that homelessness is a problem in Washington DC, where he lives. He joins a small firm that helps only the poor. He and his wife later separate and he moves into an apartment where he sleeps on the floor in an attempt to relate to his customers. Obviously, the book's title is The Street Lawyer because that is what he becomes. I didn't like this book because it was over-the-top dramatic and preachy. I have never read a book by John Grisham, and I guess I was expecting much more. The ending of the book is the worst part; it simply cuts off on the part that is remotely interesting. Before I read this book, I hadn't thought of poverty being in the streets as much as it probably is in the US, and this is the only thing I've learned from this book.
on June 21, 2004
This was my first grisham and it did not work for me. The Street Lawyer is about a young lawyer, who comes close to death when a homeless man holds him hostage, and his sudden changes of lifestyle and thinking. He quits his current job as a hot-shot lawyer after is encounter and becomes extremely into helping the poor. When he finds out about some wrong-doing at his old law firm, he steals a file that tells all. He thinks he got away with it until he gets into a bad car crash and the file is found by the wrong people. The main character is Michael Brock, who begins the story a lawyer in an unhappy marriage. After his encounter with the crazed homeless man, he realizes that homelessness is a problem in Washington DC, where he lives. He joins a small firm that helps only the poor. He and his wife later separate and he moves into an apartment where he sleeps on the floor in an attempt to relate to his customers. Obviously, the book's title is The Street Lawyer because that is what he becomes. I didn't like this book because it was over-the-top dramatic and preachy. I have never read a book by John Grisham, and I guess I was expecting much more. The ending of the book is the worst part; it simply cuts off on the part that is remotely interesting. Before I read this book, I hadn't thought of poverty being in the streets as much as it probably is in the US, and this is the only thing I've learned from this book.
on June 8, 2004
The opening scene, with 9 lawyers being taken hostage by a homeless man, starts out pretty intense. But, like the whole book, this scene looses it's luster after a few pages. The book just loses its intensity and becomes more of a waiting game. Sure, you keep reading to find out what happens, but you never really buzz through the pages waiting to see what's next. There just wasn't enough going on to really grab me. The entire story could be told in less than 5 minutes and you wouldn't really miss much.
In addition, there wasn't much character development (which may be why I felt like things never really got started). This can be a good thing in some cases, as too many fiction writers find it necessary to tell me how his character got beat up by a bully at age 9. But in this case it lacks too much. You never really know much about Michael Brock's failing marriage except that it's failing. We know nothing about his wife and very little about Mordecai Green, his new partner. As a result, the few storylines that are present come off forced.
on April 14, 2004
The Street Lawyer is a novel concentrated on the crude and oblivious outlook the "filthy rich" have on the "lower"(poor) people. But on the other side of the story it tries to show that any person, either the rich or poor, CAN change their outlook on the opposite. John Grisham did a good job at showing this theme in the story.
Michael Brock is the main character. He is a top end lawyer, who could have the chance of becoming a partner soon(highest paid type of lawyer). But one day at work his whole life got turned upside down. It started out like a normal day for him. He got on the same elevator as always and pushed his floor number. But someone that he thought didnt belong on that same elavator was. That person was a bumm from the street. He finally reached his floor(after dealing with the stench of the man). And the man then pulled out a weapon and held him and 8 of his fellow colleagues hostage. The man before he get shot by the S.W.A.T team, did get a message through to Michael. He made him realize that he is living life for all the wrong reasons.
Michael then realized he should put more of his time into the poor. So he starts going to shelters and helping a public lawyer help people survive in the blistering cold. While spending this time spent at the shelters, Michael realizes this is a good and rewarding (in a moral way)of living life. So he quits his job at the big firm and becomes an public lawyer.
I to be honest did not like this book. I picked it up and got hooked onto the hostage chapters. But after that it slowed down way too much. I thought the lessons he was trying to get out in the story were good but I think he just stalled and made the book way longer than it should have been. So if your a Grisham fan you should read this, But im warning you its not his best, and I find it at the bottom.
on March 22, 2004
John Grisham's mastery of the legal thriller has given him the latitude to invoke more than the harmony of a well crafted story into his later works, seasoning tales with perhaps a shade of his own political predispositions. Nowhere is this more evident in the tale spun in "The Street Lawyer," a morality play in which an aspiring lawyer confronts his own mortality and personal ethics after a homeless man holds him and his associates hostage at a high-profile law firm.
The story holds promise until Grisham too quickly abandons the intrigue of the plot for a political subtext of the plight of the homeless. Rather than crafting a story arc that presents the issues en passant, "Lawyer" insists that you take the moral side of its first-person narrator. The book's most interesting character is homeless advocate Mordecai Green, but who too often is given dialog that sounds as though its been clipped from a census bureau report rather than a real person.
Eventually, Grisham all but abandons the notion of a legal thriller with its manufactured tension and too-coincidental sympathies of its main character, and reduces the conflict to a barely credible courtroom negotiation. One even gets the sense that Grisham himself found himself uncomfortable with the plot and its characters; wasting some, using others only in cariacature, eventually becoming all too willing to just get the story out of the way of the real issue Grisham wants to present. That's fine, but don't pedal it as a legal thriller. It clearly isn't.
on March 21, 2004
After seeing all of Grisham's movies and enjoying their fast-paced, psychological and suspense elements, I decided to give reading one of his books a shot. I chose THE STREET LAWYER because of it NOT being a movie (yet), and I was severly disappointed. Maybe those screenwriters in Hollywood will be able to liven it up, but as far as a reading experience goes, it was...well...boring.
There was very little intrigue. The opening scene was about as suspenseful as it got, and that's not saying much in this era of violent news casts every day. And having seen his films, this book felt like a mish-mash of "The Firm" and "The Pelican Brief." I didn't care for the characters, even though Brock was doing a noble thing. I asked myself several times, "Why this sudden transformation of character?" It didn't work for me. The book felt more like a memoir from a real lawyer who gave up big business to become a street lawyer...meaning, not enough moments of fictituous excitement.
Maybe in time I'll give Grisham a second chance. If he's been this successful, there must be a reason. But it probably won't be for a while until I can get the bad taste of THE STREET LAWYER out of my mouth.
on January 21, 2004
I have never read a John Grisham book before but a friend recommended "The Street Lawyer" as one of his best so I decided to read it. I can only thank God she lent me her copy and I didn't actually have to purchase this book.
It was painful from beginning to end. I kept expecting to be surprised, but the book developed along exactly the way you would expect. There were many opportunities for the writer to give us an unexpected twist, but this novel read routinely: rich, corporate lawyer turns life around after realizing (gasp!) that there are homeless people in the world who need help! It's as if Grisham wants us to believe that the entire world exists as good or bad, there is no gray area. Homeless people are stepped on and abused and it's rich people like Michael who abuse them for their own gain. That is too superficial and easy to be true.
How did John Grisham research this book I wonder? Did he go to soup kitchens, talk to public interest lawyers, spend time with homeless people or did he think about all these issues from his mansion while wrapped in a soft bathrobe in the nice part of town.
If you are really interested in issues like the homeless and failing marriage and want a story that is unexpected and funny, read Nick Hornsby's "How to Be Good". It is one of the best books I've ever read and gives a much better treatment to the idea of helping others and troubled marriage (it doesn't have anything to do with lawyers or crime drama though).
As one final side note, the idea that runs through the book that "Republicans" are to blame for most of the problems of the homeless comes off ignorant and preachy. I consider myself a Democrat, but I'm not deluded enough to believe that if the Republicans were gone the world would magically get better for everyone. That view of the world is as superficial and simplistic as this whole book. Grisham wants us to see the world in black and white, rich people are bad and greedy, poor people are victimized - thank God I didn't buy this book and give him any more money to use for oppressing the poverty stricken lower class.