"The Rooster Bar" by John Grisham - Book review

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There are four kids close to finishing law school, and in the process of doing so, they have built up a backlog of tuition fees close to $200,000 each, I kid you not. The idea is that once they land a super law job those fees will soon be repaid through their sky-high salaries. The only problem is that there are very few such jobs, and many of them pay poorly.

One of the four, Gordy starts investigating the whole sad and sorry business. He’s in love with another of the four, Zola, a tall and striking African American, even though he’s engaged to someone else at the time, and he has mental issues to boot, and is off his meds.

The other two guys are white and becoming interested in Gordy’s crazy ideas, and I can’t remember their names for two reasons, one they seem fairly faceless unremarkable characters, and two, because they keep changing their blessed names throughout the book.

So begins John Grisham’s “The Rooster Bar”. As much as anything this is a dig at the whole idea of tuition fees, and that’s no bad thing. It’s as big a problem in the UK as it is in the USA. Many of the young people who are saddled with such huge ongoing debts are jealous and angry of their parents and grandparents who went to university, if they were lucky enough to gain a place back then, and paid little or nothing toward their education.

Some opportunistic politicians are now offering to sweep away those fees in exchange for votes, though few of them choose to say how they will pay for that, but no one is surprised that many kids quite like the idea.

Needless to say, the four rebels come up with some interesting ideas as to how they will deal with their personal debt mountain, and therein lies the main story of this book. I’ll say no more about that here, but it keeps the plot going and the reader relatively happy.

If you like and enjoy John Grisham books you will no doubt enjoy this one too. As always, it’s easy to get into, and easy to read. Is it one of Mr Grisham’s best works? No, it isn’t, but it isn’t one of his worst ones either.

It seems to me that John Grisham could write a book like this in his sleep, maybe he did, always assuming that he did write it himself, and I have no reason to suspect otherwise, but with so many blockbusting writers establishing mini and not so mini publishing empires around themselves through adopting cooperative writing programs with other lesser known writers, one can never be so sure these days.

Either way, it would seem that Mr Grisham likes the idea of being the most successful fiction writer on the planet, and shows no sign of slowing down. This is his thirty-eighth book and there is no reason to suspect it might be his last. He will be missed when he stops, that’s for sure, though he wouldn’t be the first writer to keep the juggernaut motoring on long after he’d conked out.

Did I enjoy it? Yes. Will I buy his next one? Probably. At the end of the day, I admire the man, and I make no bones about that. Successful hardworking writers deserve all the kudos they get.       


And here's some video of the man himself talking about this book.




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