The Appeal Mass Market Paperback – Nov 18 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
A Mississippi jury returns a $41-million verdict against a chemical company accused of dumping carcinogenic waste into a small town's water supply. The company's ruthless billionaire CEO is thwarted and the good guys (a courageous young woman who lost her husband and child and her two lawyers who've gone half a million dollars in debt preparing her case) receives its just reward. This sounds like the end of a Grisham legal thriller, but instead it's the beginning of a book-length lesson in how greed and big business have corrupted our electoral and judicial systems. Grisham's characters are over-the-top. The CEO and the other equally overdone villains—his venal trophy wife, a self-serving senator and a pair of smarmy political fixers—as well as the unbelievably good-hearted, self-sacrificing lawyers and an honorable state judge, are one dimensional. Michael Beck, with his natural Southern drawl, does a fine job of adding credibility and nuance to the large cast. But his efforts are for naught. In fact, the more he makes us feel for these characters, the less apt we are to be satisfied with the sourball moral of Grisham's downbeat discourse.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“Building a remarkable degree of suspense…Grisham delivers his savviest book in years. His extended vacation from hard–hitting fiction is over.”—Janet Maslin, The New York Times
“A novel that could become its own era–defining classic. John Grisham holds up that same mirror to our age as Tom Wolfe’s Bonfire of the Vanities.”—The Boston Globe
“Chilling and timeless.”—The Washington Post
“An intricately detailed, involving story…the ending may surprise you.”—People
“Stirring popular fiction that doubles as an important public–service announcement.”—Entertainment Weekly
“Packs a wallop…The timing, in the midst of all the presidential primaries, makes it all the more compelling.”–USA Today
“Fascinating…filled with deadly accurate characterizations by and author who knows both the law and politics from the inside.”–Los Angeles Times
“A clever story and thoughtful plot…Grisham confronts in stark relief the dangers of electing judges in an era of big–money politics.”—Seattle Times–Post Intelligencer
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Top Customer Reviews
Essentially a sordid tale of big business and politics vs. big verdicts and class action lawsuits, it begins nicely, and gathers steam, then proceeds to continue blowing hot air at the reader until the unsatisfactory quickie ending.
While there's some food for thought regarding how the legal, political, religious and business arenas may all be connected, there's more garnish than meat in a story which could have been cut by about 100 pages of the filler, and sweetened with about 50 more pages of conclusion for dessert.
Short Attention Span Summary (SASS)
1. Large company dumps chemicals in rural community
2. Water changes color
3. People get sick
4. Some die
5. Small law firm files lawsuit
6. Large verdict awarded
7. Big business takes over
8. Money talks
9. Once again, Grisham gets tired of his own rambling and wraps up story in indecent haste leaving most of his ends dangling
10. His ends aren't pretty
I'd like to sue for 50% of my money back, plus loss of productive time, legal costs and mental trauma, and also for punitive damages, but I guess I'd lose on appeal.
Rated: 2.5 stars for half of a good book
The book has several messages:
1. Don't let judges be elected; appoint them instead.
2. Conservative voters are easy to mislead into voting for candidates who will favor business over consumer interests.
3. Plaintiff attorneys are less slimy than rich business people because they occasionally try to help someone in trouble.
4. Politicians who need campaign funds are in the pocket of a handful of rich business people, whether the politicians realize it or not.
If that information doesn't make you feel good, consider that you'll also read about a lot of people dying and suffering from a fictional company polluting the water supply to increase its profits.
I thought that the book was well written, interesting, and full of good ideas for how to steal elections.
But I didn't need to read this book. I don't think you do either.
"The Appeal" is set in a world like ours. Grisham sets forth a plausible situation, where those with money effectively manufacture a judge in their efforts to provide a desired result. He doesn't pull punches, though he does manage keep his criticism from being completely one-sided against those in big business. The book is dark, but highly engrossing.
For some real-life situations in this vein, check out The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism At The Heart Of American Power.
Most recent customer reviews
Terrific service. by Amazon. Great book, as John Grisham's always are. Murray Allen
I will be again having a change of address in the next few weeks.
I am officially taking Grisham off my list of authors to read. He has not written a book (this one included) with anything resembling the depth of his 90's releases this decade... Read morePublished on Nov. 11 2009 by JM
I thought this was more like the original Grisham style, and hung on right to the end, expecting that the "innocent little guy" would win out at the end over Big Corporation - but... Read morePublished on March 19 2009 by Book Boss
A Civil Action type story, this one is no whodunit but rather a howdunit story with a few messages: elected State Supreme Court positions are open to abuse, the Christian rightwing... Read morePublished on Feb. 23 2009 by Pol Sixe
I am also a die-hard Grisham fan and own paperwork copies of all his novels. While I didn't like "The Appeal" I still appreciate his captivating rhythm and vivid characters... Read morePublished on Feb. 18 2009 by R. Rayson