A Time to Kill (Grisham)

My commute this year is a bit longer, so I’ve been going the podcast route. I’ve been enjoying John Grisham’s podcast, so I thought I’d give one of his books a try. It made sense to me to start from the beginning, especially after he told stories of how big of a flop this book when it first was published. Grisham is very forthright about his goals and perfectly willing to embrace his success. He apparently, for example, exercised his right to veto an initial casting decision for A Time to Kill. But his ultimate goal, he explains on the podcast, is to keep people turning the pages and, despite many misgivings about the racial and sexual politics of the book, I kept turning the pages. The details here are not Grisham’s strong suit. Most sections read (at best) like useful first drafts. On the podcast, Grisham says that the first draft was around 1,000 pages, and my edition checks in at just over 500. He says the experience turned him into a firm believer in outlines, so maybe the future books are more precise. I don’t know if I’ll give any more of his books a try. I’d always heard this one was a kind of To Kill a Mockingbird-lite, and I can see the basis for the comparison. Based on the way he talks about them, A Painted House and The Innocent Man are possibilities.


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