Sunday, August 20, 2006

John Grisham: The Street Lawyer

During these holidays, I finally took time to read. One of the books I read is The Street Lawyer from John Grisham, after an advice from a friend lawyer.

This is about a young successful lawyer of Washington D.C. - Michael Brock, already near to be a partner, is suddently taken in hostage by an homeless, and, searching for an explanation, comes to meet Mordecai Green, a lawyer for homeless. The 'Legal Clinic' of Washington D.C. really exists, actually. The more he learns about homeless peoples, Michael Brock decides to let his work in the big firm to become a lawyer for homeless people. To give a sense to his life.

What's good in this? What did I like especially in this book? Well it's difficult to say. Part of it has to do with the excellent style and writing skills of Grisham. He's really, really good. The surprising thing is that I didn't awaited such a critism of the american system and of capitalism.
There are some really big questions in this story. What are we making individually to help the poors? What are we doing to avoid that peoples come to live on the streets, and what are we making to bring them out of the streets?

Outside of showing the cliche that one can be happy with a minimum wage, the story shows the price to pay for financial wealth. And it's very expensive. The other part is about questioning, and accomplishment. How could I rebuild my life if I should start from zero again? What do I really want do in my life? Michael, by becoming a social lawyer not only rebuilds the life of poor people, he rebuilds his life, and that's one of the more interesting part of the book.

The homeless. They get almost no help from politicians, because they don't vote. Why caring about them? Grisham explains very well that an homeless is cheaper for the state and better for the society if he's in a shelter rather than in prison. And he's even more profitable to the society if he gets a job and a home! One can only think that we really live in a stupid world, where you need to lobby in order to obtain rights. But then, I should first ask myself what I'm doing to change this situation. Nothing.

Oh yeah, there is an intrigue in this book. With lawyers, conspiracies, etc. But this is not really the point. Actually, this is the least important part of the book.

I'm gonna read other books from Grisham, because he seems to be a really good writer.
And I'm gonna think about this book during some times. Or maybe reread it, it would be worth it.

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