Book Review 2: The Street Lawyer by John Grisham

11 Jan

Oddly enough (for a law student) I don’t read a lot of legal fiction. This is probably the second John Grisham book I’ve ever read, and I can’t remember the last book before Defending Jacob that I read that was a legal/suspense type book.  The set up of The Street Lawyer is fairly simple: a homeless man takes a group of lawyers hostage, one of those lawyer’s has a life change and moves from his corporate law firm to working as a homeless advocate, and a battle between the lawyer and his former firm ensues.

I won’t give any spoilers away, but it follows what I believe is a standard Grisham plot line. The most interesting part of the book was the detail regarding just how disenfranchised homeless people are in America.  It was really striking, and prompted me to do a fairly substantial amount of reading on the internet about just how bad it is and the most effective ways to help. Popular, paper back suspense novels are not usually delivering such a powerful message about how we treat the people on the margins of our society. Obviously, much of the information in this book is used to drive the plot, but the social issues raised made this book far more interesting  to me than your average legal thriller.

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