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Trial & Error: A kid’s review of John Grisham’s new legal thriller for kids

By SYLVIA ADCOCK, Staff Writer



Since he started churning out novels while practicing law in Mississippi, John Grisham has had a tremendous influence on how the general public views the legal system.

From The Pelican Brief to The Firm, his legal thrillers take us inside the courtroom and behind the scenes. This year, Grisham turned his attention to the younger set with his first book for young adults.

My seventh-grade daughter was hooked from the moment she opened the bright yellow cover of Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer, reminding me of myself when I devoured the adventures of Nancy Drew at her age.

This week, I’m turning over my column to my daughter. Here is a 12-year-old’s review of Grisham’s new book, complete with her thoughts on the judicial system and what it takes to be a lawyer.


Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer

A book review by Tai Ruinsky

 Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer by John Grisham is a book about a kid who is age 13 and who has big plans to become a lawyer. He knows all the judges in the city, has been to many trials, and has solved minor problems occurring with the law.

John Grisham, the author, is a famous lawyer and writer who usually writes books for adults but this book is his first kid’s book written for younger people.

Theodore Boone (Theo) is a determined young teenager, and he and many people in the story consider him a “kid lawyer.” But when a mystery murder case shows up he has a chance to show people what he’s really capable of.

The problem is that eventually in the book he finds out about someone who is an important witness to the murder, but is not allowed to tell anyone because the witness happens to be an illegal immigrant, and is afraid that he will get thrown in jail.

Theo ends up in a sticky situation and is eventually pressed to tell the Judge (Judge Gantry). Judge Gantry agrees not to tell and at the end of the book there is a mistrial in the murder case.

The author’s style of writing in my opinion is very suspenseful, because after each page you read, you just had to read another, and another, and so on. John Grisham used lots of dialogue and many descriptive details to set a mood and tone.

One of my favorite parts of the book is when Theo finds out that his friend’s cousin is an illegal immigrant. This is one of my favorite parts because it’s a twist to the story, and changes the reader’s feelings about another person who could be suspected as the murderer.

That man is named Omar Cheepe. Omar is a bulky sort of man who is very sly and slick; slick enough for nobody to suspect him. He supports the man who has been accused of the murder.

After reading the book I understand more of what happens in a courtroom better, what lawyers do, and the legal system. Now I know more about what a jury is, and how lawyers can be on the defense or be the prosecutor. I think that it can be difficult to decide a final verdict about whether a person is guilty or not.

I am partially interested in being a lawyer because I enjoy debating the strong remarks made on both sides. Also, the job does not include much math, and math isn’t exactly my strongest point. The only bad part about the job of being a lawyer is that your speech usually should sound professional and formal, but I still stumble often when I read aloud.

I have also worried before of how people can end up in jail even if not guilty, and are sentenced for a long time. How can you be positive sometimes that the final decision is a true statement?


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