Author: John Grisham
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Until that September of 1952, Luke Chandler had never kept a secret or told a single lie. But in the long, hot summer of his seventh year, two groups of migrant workers — and two very dangerous men — came through the Arkansas Delta to work the Chandler cotton farm. And suddenly mysteries are flooding Luke’s world.A brutal murder leaves the town seething in gossip and suspicion. A beautiful young woman ignites forbidden passions. A fatherless baby is born ... and someone has begun furtively painting the bare clapboards of the Chandler farmhouse, slowly, painstakingly, bathing the run-down structure in gleaming white. And as young Luke watches the world around him, he unravels secrets that could shatter lives — and change his family and his town forever....
When I first picked the book from the campus’ library, I had no idea at all about what this book about. I mean, the back of the book didn’t help me. So I read reviews from book blogs and from goodreads, hoping that none of them will spoil the entire story. It turns out reading the reviews were good enough to help me read the book. At least I got the main idea of the story. This book is about a poor young boy (literally) who has to grow up in an appalling condition.
I thought I would get bored reading this book. It’s different from another Grisham’s books. But as I read it, I became more and more attracted to the story. Luke Chandler is adorable, he is a farm boy, naïve but also mature in some way. As we know, growing up in such condition can give a huge impact to a young boy. Circumstances force him to be precocious. Since he was living in a farm, there’s a lot going on there. Sadly, Grisham had to spin back the time setting to 50s just to get the atmosphere, when America’s economy still struggled. In my country, you don’t have to spin back the time to get that kind of atmosphere.
The story is told from the eye of Luke Chandler, a 7 years old farm boy who has to spend his summer picking cotton just to survive. As a kid, he has a curiosity over anything. Especially when a Mexican family and Hill people came to his farm to work as cotton picker. With such crowd I was pretty sure that there must be a lot going on there and there is! Murder, love affair, unwanted child, and Luke witness it all. For a 7 years that was too much to take. Luke keeps that secrets just so he doesn’t get killed. He dreams big too. He loves baseball and he has a dream that someday he will get out of the farm and become a baseball player.
One of the reviews that I read mentions that Luke Chandler’s personality is not fitted for a 7 years old boy. I disagree; I think it’s natural for a kid to be so active, talkative, and curious. If there’s a time where Luke acts so mature, well, his environments force him to do so. It was a tough life. I think Grisham did a good job in this book. Too bad that he didn’t give us a brief sight of what Luke does after move out of the farm.