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4.4 out of 5 stars18
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 11, 2010
I usually stay away from these type of books (book with many short stories) but I know this author so I thought I would give it a chance.

To my great astonishment, this is a must read!!! The stories keep you reading until you are done, then you search for more! If you want something to read on the beach, or before hitting the pillow - this is a must have!

Thanks John for the superb short stories!

- Michel
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 5, 2012
If you like short stories, then this book is for you. I borroweed this book from my mother and was skeptecial before I started reading. After the first 10 pages, my opinion changed. Each story brings different characters to life. Mr. Grisham uses humour, drama and very eloquent prose to tell stories of 3 drunken friends on a blood drive, an insurance adjuster turned card shark and a person living with an awful disease in rural Mississippi.
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This is a great book of short stories deserving only the highest praise not the petty criticism I have been reading about it. It was written with great depth and intensity. It evokes the deepest of emotions. I have a really hard time understanding why some people are so negative about it.

I am not generally someone who likes reading short stories but these,by no means, are ordinary short stories. There are seven of them in total and they are about the mostly poor people of a small town in Mississippi. True, they are generally not very happy stories. They are like a series of Greek tragedies about the harshness of life experienced by poor, uneducated southern people from broken families with drug and alcohol problems. The last story "Funny Boy" had to be the saddest of all. It brought tears to my eyes thinking about how good "Christian" people treated one of their townspeople who had come home to die from AIDS. They did not even see fit to treat this poor soul or his caregiver as human beings deserving of love and respect. Every year during the season of Lent, in preparation of the Easter season, I cannot help but think of the lepers that Jesus Christ himself ministered to. They were like the HIV positive individuals of that day. Like the song "Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers that you do unto me." John Grisham powerfully reached in and touched me with this final story--not that the previous six stories were any less masterfully written.

No,this is not a collection of happy stories. What I can say about them, however, is that they are REAL about REAL people and can grip you in ways that you wouldn't think possible.
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon December 2, 2010
Short stories are a disrespected art form, largely because they seem to be dominated by practitioners who prefer dull literary exploration to actually writing anything that anyone might be interested in reading. Grisham doesn't have that problem. He's no literary master, so he has to make his stories readable. For the most part, he does. I agree with the reviewer who declared "Michael's Room" the strongest story in the book. Overall, not as enjoyable as the best of Grisham's novels - but since Grisham has declared these "failed novels" for the most part, that's not really a surprise. A welcome change of pace and one that Grisham can get away with, considering his large readership. Grisham isn't a writer that wows you but his writing doesn't make you grimace more than occasionally either, so I will continue to read his books on occasion, despite his seemingly failing powers as of late.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
"They have all turned aside,
They have together become corrupt;
There is none who does good,
No, not one."

--Psalm 14:3

If you are looking for a funny John Grisham book about crooked lawyers, you won't begin to find the usual quota in Ford County. You won't like these short stories nearly as much as what you are looking for.

I was attracted to this book after hearing Mr. Grisham talk about how these were stories that he had worked on for a long time that refused to turn themselves into full-fledged novels. I was immediately curious about how a gifted story teller like Mr. Grisham could possibly paint himself into a large number of boxes.

Keeping that perspective in mind, I found that these stories were more rewarding than his interview suggested to me. In many cases the reason they cannot be novels is because he has built up a single scene or episode in a character's life to such an extent that anything else you might add to it would pale too much by comparison.

I also didn't expect to find some terrific stories and was pleasantly surprised to find one. Michael's Room is one of the most compelling short stories I remember reading. I also disagree with Mr. Grisham about this not being able to become a novel. Add the background to this story as the rest of the novel, end with this story, and you've got quite a compelling and rewarding novel.

For pure irony and humor, Blood Drive rings very true about the ways we are all easily distracted into doing things that we shouldn't. You could drop this story into the middle of a novel about a pill-popping drunk on his way down (Roger Tucker) and end the novel either with him in the gutter or experiencing redemption.

I thought that some of these stories shouldn't be novels because they don't work very well . . . unfortunately, because they don't offer enough contrast to a bleak look at human nature. I put Fetching Raymond and Fish Files in that category.

Quiet Haven provides us with a lovable scoundrel, the type of character that Mr. Grisham can write well about. This story wouldn't stretch into a novel because the story depends on a set-up that's not strong enough to carry a whole book.

Casino was too predictable to me, but was mildly entertaining.

Funny Boy is full of pathos, but much of the story depends on people being very ignorant about AIDS. Knowing what we know now about that terrible disease, it's hard to get back into the mindset of when we were all first learning about it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 29, 2010
Each storey leaves you wanting more...once you start reading you can not put it down. Brilliant Read!

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 14, 2010
While not usually a fan of short stories, this collection was terrific. A great "just before lights out" read!
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on July 3, 2014
This provides some more insight into the setting of so many of Grisham's novels. These stories are very intriguing and interesting to read. Possibly the beginnings of longer novels, that didn't have quite enough to get there. But they are good stories none the less. Worth the read.
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on January 4, 2014
Excellent short stories; for each the ending is not what you expect.... A very enjoyable read.
Each story plot, taking place in Ford County, is so vivid that it almost discourages the reader to visit the County :o))
Quite imaginative, as usual John Grisham at his best,
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on July 27, 2013
John Grisham isn't Stephen King or Richard Matheson when it comes to short stories, though the collection improved with the final three offerings. Of the seven stories, "Funny Boy" was the best, while "Blood Drive" and "Casino", though unpredictable, had dismal conclusions.
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