Book Review–Ford County–John Grisham


I’ve read a lot of John Grisham in my life.  I think I’ve got all of his novels on my shelf, but I may have missed one or two.  I’ve always loved his writing style.  Its easy to read, the characters are either likable or hate-able, depending on what he’s going for.  The plots fly by.  They’re great airplane reads, and usually, on a cross country flight, I can pretty much read one of his books end-to-end.

Ford County is a collection of Grisham’s short stories – seven in all – all tied to Ford County, Mississippi and Grisham’s fictional town of Clanton, where there seem to be more lawyers than people, and all of them up to no good.  There’s stories about the family of a death row inmate, another one about a trio of bungling yokels who try to head to Memphis to donate blood to a local boy injured in a construction accident and the three end up in an amazing amount of trouble.  Each story stands alone, and each one is written in Grisham’s easy going style.  They’re all quick reads, and well done.

That said, I hesitate to recommend this book for one reason:  every one of these stories is depressing.  None of the main characters are very likeable.  I held out hope as I moved from one story to another that one would make me laugh or be fighting on the right side against insurmountable odds.  But after each one, I just sank a little bit.  Sometimes you read something, and the outcome is poignant, and even though the book was sad, you still get something out of the story.  But with these shorts, I never got that. 

If you’re a Grisham fan, and have read everything he’s written, then by all means, go ahead and read these stories.  But don’t expect to feel good at the end.  You won’t.

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