John Grisham

John Grisham Biography:

The American south has long been a point of interest to historians as it was the place where slavery once boomed and racism ran rampant. Although the land has been a place of much turmoil, some positive things have arisen for it, as it was in Jonesboro, Arkansas that John Grisham was born. He arrived in the world on February 8, 1955, when cotton was still a major product of the south. His father happened to be a cotton farmer at the time. However, the family began to move around to different areas, still south of the Mason-Dixon Line, while Grisham was in his youth. They settled down again in Southaven, Mississippi and that is where the young John Grisham became determined to be a baseball player for his profession. However, his mother had different aspirations for her son and began grooming him for college, although she herself had never received a formal education. Her efforts did prove fruitful, as John Grisham successfully attended and graduated from Mississippi State University and later law school, graduating from Ole Miss. After having childhood desire to become a MLB player, settling on a legal career was not a simple thing for John Grisham. He had changed majors three times while in college and switched jobs several times during his teenage and young adult years. As a lawyer, Grisham also made changes, switching from being a tax lawyer to trial lawyer, stating a dislike for the burdensome “complexity and lunacy” tax lawyers often face.

His career as a trial lawyer was never fated to last long as well. Having graduated from law school in 1983, Grisham was elected to his state’s House of Representatives that same year, serving the Democratic Party until 1990. His legal practice lasted a decade. While hanging around the courts in 1984, Grisham met a young girl with an intriguing story to tell about a case in which she was involved. The things she told him about her life touched him so much that he began to write his first novel based on her story. It was published in 1989 and is called Time to Kill. As a new author, Grisham had difficulty finding a publisher for his first book. He finally found one that was willing to let him have a printing of 5,000 copies. The day after his first novel was released, Grisham went straight back to writing, working on his second novel, without waiting to find out if he would be a success. His confidence apparently was well-founded because his second novel, The Firm, stayed on the Best Seller List for New York Times an impressive 47 weeks after its release and was the top selling novel for 1991. It was at that time that Grisham decided to leave legal practice and become a full time writer.

Throughout his writing career, John Grisham has seen many successes, starting with his very first book and continuing through each subsequent novel. He is the author behind many well-recognized titles, including The Pelican Brief, as well as The Rainmaker, The Racketeer, A Painted House, amongst several others. For his great writing, Grisham has been honored with several awards, including the Distinguished Author Award named after Peggy V. Helmerich, the Galaxy British Book lifetime achievement award, the legal fiction award from Harper Lee, and the USC Scripter award. Nevertheless, Grisham’s writing has not solely focused on crafting novels for adult audiences. He has also written a series of legal thrillers geared at children and pre-teens.

Inside John Grisham Novels:

Two of the books Grisham is most well-known for also happen to be the very first two novels he ever released; The Firm and Time to Kill. The Firm, released in 1991, has sold more than seven million copies. It is the second novel that he wrote and is the gripping tale about a young man named Mitchell V. McDeere who, fresh out of law school, decides to work at a Memphis law firm, appeased by their generous offer of a high salary, new BMW, and nice house with low interest mortgage. Soon after he arrives, two of his collogues at the firm die in a mysterious accident. During their memorial service, Mitch learns that there have been others who worked at the firm and mysteriously died. The information causes him to be very suspicious. His intuition is later validated when he gets approached by the FBI who wants his help in gathering evidence against those at the law firm, revealing the fact that they are actually involved in organized crime. Grisham’s first novel, Time to Kill was the one based off his chance meeting with a young girl as he hung around the courts one day. The story is about a ten-year-old girl in the south who happens to be African American and gets raped by two racist white men. The girl’s father finds out the story of the attack on his daughter and realizes that a similar incident happened a while back. In an effort to protect others from the same harm, he kills the two white men and is later arrested. He then calls his friend Jake to help, but the case is made more complicated by the KKK seeking revenge for the death of the two men. They start riots outside the courtroom, kill the frail husband of Jake’s assistant, wire Jake’s car with a bomb, and eventually burn his house down.

The Transformation of John Grisham Books Into Movies:

Grisham has experienced much success with the silver screen. More than eight of the novels he has written have been adapted into films and performed well at the box office. This includes The Firm, which became a film in 1993, and was later made into a TV series. The movie starred Tom Cruise, Gene Hackman, Holly Hunter, and Jeanne Tripplehorn. Time to Kill hit box offices in 1996 and starred Samuel L. Jackson, Sandra Bullock, Matthew McConaughey, Ashley Judd, and several other stars. Other novels written by Grisham that have become movies include, The Client in 1994, The Chamber in 1996, The Rainmaker in 1997, Mickey in 2004, and several others.

Books in order of publication by series:

Jake Brigance Books

A Time to Kill(1989) 
Sycamore Row(2013) 

Theodore Boone Books

Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer(2010) 
The Abduction(2011) 
The Accused(2012) 
The Activist(2013) 
The Fugitive(2015) 
The Scandal(2016) 
The Accomplice(2019) 

Witness Books

Witness to a Trial(2016) 
The Whistler(2016) 

Camino Island Books

Camino Island(2017) 
Camino Winds(2020) 

Standalone Novels

The Firm(1991) 
The Pelican Brief(1992) 
The Client(1993) 
The Chamber(1994) 
The Rainmaker(1995) 
The Runaway Jury(1996) 
The Partner(1997) 
The Street Lawyer(1998) 
The Testament(1999) 
The Brethren(2000) 
A Painted House(2001) 
Skipping Christmas(2001) 
The Summons(2002) 
The King of Torts(2003) 
The Last Juror(2004) 
The Broker(2005) 
Playing for Pizza(2007) 
The Appeal(2008) 
The Associate(2009) 
The Confession(2010) 
The Litigators(2011) 
Calico Joe(2012) 
The Racketeer(2012) 
Gray Mountain(2014) 
Rogue Lawyer(2015) 
The Rooster Bar(2017) 
The Reckoning(2018) 
The Guardians(2019) 

Short Stories/Novellas

Fetching Raymond(2011) 
The Tumor(2016) 

Short Story Collections

Ford County(2009)

Non-Fiction Books

The Innocent Man(2006)
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