Tuesday 27 July 2010

THEODORE BOONE by John Grisham

In the small city of Strattenburg, there are many lawyers, and though he's only thirteen years old, Theo Boone thinks he's one of them. Theo knows every judge, policeman, court clerk - and a lot about the law. He dreams of being a great trial lawyer, of a life in the courtroom.

But Theo finds himself in court much sooner than he expected. Because he knows so much - maybe too much - he is suddenly dragged into the middle of a sensational murder trial. A cold-blooded killer is about to go free, and only Theo knows the truth.

The stakes are high, but Theo won't stop until justice is served.

I have to be honest, I've never actually read a Grisham book before. Sure, I've seen a lot of movies based on his books, but until this one I'd never sat down and read one. But when I received this book for review and read the blurb, I was intrigued. The main character is a thirteen-year-old boy, and I couldn't help but wonder what he gets himself caught up in.

So, I picked it up and was instantly swept up in the story. Theodore Boone is a very clever kid, even if he'd rather spend the day in court than at school. Both of his parents are lawyers--Dad is a real estate lawyer and Mum is a divorce lawyer--and have a family business called Boone & Boone, so it's no surprise that Theo's interested in law and that his favorite subject at school is Government. Not to mention that he has his own small office in his parents' office. It's where he goes every afternoon to do his homework. He also enjoys ducking into the local courthouse to run errands. He's very well-known there by just about everyone, including Judge Harry Gantry.

Theo's also got a knack for helping/answering law question for other kids in his class. Whenever they have a legal query, they go straight to him and get results fast. He's very helpful, and resourceful because he's always got his laptop with him and knows just where to look to get his answers. Even if he doesn't charge anyone for his services, because: "I don't have a license yet."

He also pops into a soup kitchen every Tuesday night with his parents, where he helps less fortunate children with their homework. And this is where everything going on in his life collides. See, there's a murder trial going on in town. A man's on trial for the murder of his wife, and Theo becomes obsessed with the case. He even organises for his Government class to go sit in for one day. But when one of the kids he helps at the soup kitchen approaches him about what his cousin saw on the day of the murder, it looks like this could be the only real piece of evidence.

But Theo's got himself a problem he can't crack, because by revealing what he knows the witness risks being deported. So he enlists the help of his uncle Ike (a former lawyer who had his license stripped) and together try to figure something out without involving anyone else. Something that turns to be a lot harder than it first appears.

Theodore Boone is a surprisngly good read that I really enjoyed. Actually, I breezed through it in under twenty-four hours because I really wanted to know how the trial was going to end and just how Theodore was going to work it all out. This was an interesting book with some very interesting characters and a kid that you just can't help liking. There's also a good blend of story, mystery, and court scenes. None of it was overbearing, just enough to keep you guessing.

Theodore Boone, July 2010, ISBN 978-144-471449-4, H&S Fiction Paperback (Royal)

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