The hill people and the Mexicans arrived on the same day. It was a Wednesday, early in September 1952. The Cardinals were five games behind the Dodgers with two weeks to go, and the season looked hopeless. The cotton, however, was waist high to my father, almost over my head, and he and my grandfather could be heard before supper whispering words that were seldom heard. It could be a "good crop." Thus begins the new novel from John Grisham, a story inspired by his own childhood in rural Arkansas. The narrator is a seven ...
The hill people and the Mexicans arrived on the same day. It was a Wednesday, early in September 1952. The Cardinals were five games behind the Dodgers with two weeks to go, and the season looked hopeless. The cotton, however, was waist high to my father, almost over my head, and he and my grandfather could be heard before supper whispering words that were seldom heard. It could be a "good crop." Thus begins the new novel from John Grisham, a story inspired by his own childhood in rural Arkansas. The narrator is a seven year old farm boy named Luke Chandler, who lives in the cotton fields with his parents and grandparents in a little house that's never been painted. The Chandlers farm eighty acres that they rent, not own, and when the cotton is ready they hire a truckload of Mexicans and a family from the Ozarks to help harvest it. For six weeks they pick cotton, battling the heat, the rain, the fatigue, and sometimes, each other. As the weeks pass Luke sees and hears things no seven year old could possibly be prepared for, and finds himself keeping secrets that not only threaten the crop but will change the lives of the Chandlers forever. A Painted House is a moving story of one boy's journey from innocence to experience.
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I love author John Grisham. In this story I learned indepth about "cotton-picking" around the 1950's. I related because my father picked cotton as a boy in the south. Well written, with slow twists and turns, unlike Mr. Grisham's other stories. Indeed it was a painted house - of the Mexicans and Americans working together picking cotton, to paint a human-house story; and then the actual old house that was never painted, getting painted by an invalid boy. Awesome storyline.
Dec 10, 2007
A departure for Grisham.
In this novel by Grisham, A Painted House, he tells the story from the perspective of seven year old Luke Chandler. Luke lives with his parents and Grandparents in the low lands of Arkansas. The family comes from a long line of cotton farmers and they face the prospect of harvesting a bumper crop of cotton but must find the right migrant workers to help them complete the job. Set during the time of the Korean war. Luke and his family struggle to earn enough money to pay off the farm depts. The hire two groups of migrant workers, the hiill people and the mexican laborers, who each bring color and an element of mystery to the Chandler farm. Luke's life gets very complicated when he witnesses violence up close and he must then decide how to protect himself and his family. I especially liked the rural setting with Grisham's flair for colorful and accurate descriptions of small town life and the struggles that real folks go through. Overall a very solid book and an enjoyable read.
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