The street lawyer summons the client

6 10 2009
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Eva Green and THE Kate Winslet by three John Grishams – The Summons, The Client, and The Street Lawyer

I KNEW I had much too much of John Grisham when I woke up from a dream all worked up about the cover art of The Street Lawyer.  I vividly recall standing my ground against a book publishing executive about changing the cover to one that shows a pair of well-worn Nike trainers.  That, or a pair of dull, well-aged loafers.  But then I realized it would end up looking very much like The Time Traveler’s Wife’s.  Then I snapped out of my dream.

Within one week, I finished three John Grishams – The Summons, The Client, and The Street Lawyer.  In that order.

They’re not exactly The Great Gatsby.  But John Grisham’s narrative is clear, simple, almost clean.  I didn’t feel the need to reach out for a thesaurus.  But his work – sans the out-of-this-world vocabulary – didn’t fail to captivate my interest, making me totally unmindful of the hours (reference to Michael Cunningham’s novel-turned-Stephen Daldry film is totally conincidental).  Even in straightforward uncomplicated prose, he managed to make me turn the pages a mile a minute.

I’ve always loved The Client – mostly because of Susan Sarandon’s brilliant portrayal of Reggie Love in the film version, in yet one of her Oscar-worthy turns on the way to her win for Dead Man Walking.

The Summons was good.  But after I turned the last page and closed the back cover, I felt it was lacking – especially since it is the work of someone who has churned out A Time To Kill, The Firm, and The Pelican Brief years ahead.  I felt The Summons to be a less-than-stellar effort – but something that made me move from chapter to chapter barely able to put it down.  I read this within the space of 24 hours. Somehow, I summoned the courage to keep on reading.

The Street Lawyer has the most socially relevant theme among these three I read in succession.  In a frantic pace within 32 days, the lead protagonist Michael Brock transforms from an elitist on the fast-track to becoming partner at a top law firm to becoming the champion of the homeless.  This was the book I had in my hands when typhoon Ondoy hit.  I got stalled at page 51.  But when I resumed, I surged full steam ahead.  I felt John Grisham preaching to me about how much the government and society have neglected those who need them the most.  Made me wonder just how much we are really attending to those grossly disadvantaged by the raging waters of Ondoy.

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Quite obviously, I favor this passage from The Summons. (The Street Lawyer has a lot of moments punctuated by food references.)