My 10th book read this year was Kid Lawyer. The author of this book is John Grisham. This is the first book in a series, and I read 2 of the other books after, The Abduction, and The Accused. The book was published in 2010, and the other books were published in 2011 and 2012. There are two other books in the series: Theodore Boone: The Activist, (2013) and Theodore Boone: The Fugitive (2015). The book is 263 pages, and is a mystery/ realistic fiction book. This is because the characters and everything in the book is realistic, but it’s a mystery because there is a court case Theo Boone, a 13 year old thinks he can solve. The reasons why I read this book were because I read it previously and I thought it was a good read, and I like the suspense and action scenes, and how they build the plot. John Grisham is 60 years old and resides in Jonesboro, Arkansas. He is a bestselling author, his books have translated into 42 different languages, and as of 2012 his books had sold over 275 million copies worldwide. His first bestseller, The Firm (1991), sold over 75 million copies. My thoughts on the book are I think it’s crazy that a teenager was able to solve a serious court case like this, and what I took away were the important details in a big case, and using strategies like personal background, interviewing potential witnesses, and reasoning to make a statement and tell his sources about his thoughts. I think that the book is an interesting read, and is easy to relate to, even if you haven’t been in a court case before, including big action scenes and suspense.
In the novel… the main character is a 13 year old boy, Theodore Boone, or Theo for short. He is well- known for figuring out court cases, and a few of his classmates and friends ask him for his assistance on how they should handle certain situations involving their peers and the court. It seems absurd for a teenage boy to be able to make decisions on the biggest cases in his town, Strattenburg. Theo is an only child, and has parents who are attorneys for cases, which explains Theo’s passion in law. He hangs out at the courthouse in his small city, and knows every lawyer, judge, court clerk and cop in the town. He even has his own closet sized office, where he does his homework right when he gets to the office, and his dog Judge waits for him. Theo’s parents always have a schedule where he does his homework early, they have different dinners each night but the same schedule, and they always have dinner at 7:00 P.M. Judge is a chocolate lab, the family dog, and he is friendly toward Theo. As I previously mentioned, he gives legal advice to people when their parents file for divorce, or their pets violate the leash law. Theo’s father, Woods is a real estate lawyer. In the morning, he leaves early to have coffee with friends and “gossip.” Theo’s mom, Marcella has an office downstairs with her assistants, and Woods has the upstairs to himself because he smokes flavored tobacco in his pipe. Woods also plays golf with Theo, and gives advice to him when they do. Theo’s uncle, Uncle Ike is in his 50’s, wears his hair in a ponytail, and always wears sandals, with or without socks. Ike is a peculiar man, and spent several years in jail, but he is loyal to Theo and helps him make a decision on the Pete Duffy case, the current infamous case, and gets Theo out of class to spend more time in the courts. Deputy Gossett is a guard in the court, and he thinks he knows more than he does, and Theo knows this. Theo’s friend/ classmate April deals with a custody battle but doesn’t want to live with either parent. Theo tries to comfort April and explain divorce laws to her. Theo explains the law not only to April, but also to others. One classmate needs advice because his parents are behind with mortgage payments and may lose their house, and he wonders how he can help them out. Another classmate has a brother arrested for possession of marijuana. Animal control picked up the dog of a third classmate, and a fourth classmate may have information that could change the verdict in the biggest murder trial that has ever hit Strattenburg. In the Pete Duffy trial, Pete is accused of murdering his wife. The prosecution and defense lawyers in the case are good, but the prosecution’s case is based on the proof of just the situation. Pete was involved in the murder, and had a motive, but the defense is able to get the jury to doubt Pete’s guilt. During the trial, Theo tracks down a classmate’s cousin, who saw Pete go into his house and leave at the time of the murder. The cousin won’t testify, though, because he is an illegal immigrant and doesn’t want to be sent back to El Salvador.
Theodore must rely on the advice of Ike, and both his parents, to figure out his next step. The Boone family finds a way to help the illegal immigrant Julio work toward getting his residency and tells the judge of Duffy’s trial what they know. To the relief of Theo and his family, the judge declares a mistrial, and there is no decision on the case.
I liked the way the author (Grisham) makes you want to ask “how?” because of the way Theo takes the details of the cases between divorces and the leash laws and knows exactly what the person should do, and the solution is right every time. This book reminded me of Tim Green books where the main character Josh has extreme potential in what he does as well, and even though it mainly focuses on the way he hits, he makes great plays in the field that save his team many times. Theo and Josh are both good at what they do, and they are both independent from their parents in the way that they solve problems on their own, and don’t beg or need help. I was interested in this passage, when Theo tells his mom and dad that he can’t identify Julio to any of the court members or else he could be arrested or put in serious danger. “Finally, Mr. Boone said,
“Theo, what would happen if the identity of this witness were somehow revealed?”
“He’s an illegal immigrant, Dad. He’s not supposed to be here, and he’s scared. If the police know his name and find him, then he’s in jail and it’s all my fault. If they don’t catch him, then he’ll disappear.”
“Then don’t tell us who he is,” Mr. Boone said
“Thank you mom, I wasn’t planning on it.”
“Don’t tell anyone.”
“Got it. But now you know he’s an illegal immigrant and he works at the golf course. He wouldn’t be hard to find.”
“And how did you get to know this person?” Mr. Boone asked.
“He has a cousin at school, and this cousin came to me for help.”
“Like all the other kids at school,” Ike said.
“Not all, but most of them.” (Pages 186 and 187).
I like this quoted passage because it shows how important Julio is to this huge case and how Theo has such a great friendship with him now, despite the situation being do- or die for Pete Duffy. I think it was so crazy to hide such a big piece of the case from Theo’s own parents, and they were ok with keeping the secret and not giving away his residency. I would give this book an 8 out of 10 because it was a very interesting read, the suspense and action was really what made the rating as high as it is, and the way Theo decodes different cases and figures out the truth.
1 thought on “Matt’s Letter Essay #3: Kid Lawyer”
Great letter-essay, Matt! Keep up the great work. Very thorough and detailed.