I read this book fully expecting to hate it. I assumed that John Grisham would write down to kids (I mean look at the title!), and I would rant about it on various blogs and trash it till the cows come home. However my whole plan was ruined when I actually read the book. John Grisham’s writing style grabbed me immediately, and it kept me hooked through the entire book even as the plot got a little iffy.
The characters were okay, Theodore was not the most interesting of main characters but he was fairly likable. By far the most interesting characters were Ike, the main character’s uncle, and April, his friend. Both of these characters are very well developed, and I wish that I had seen more of April whose sub-plot is never fully resolved. On the other side of the character spectrum are Theodore’s parents, who are just kind of bland parent-y types.
The plot is…..inconsistent. At times it is riveting and at others there are some fairly serious plot holes. For example, in one of the early chapters, April is introduced, and the narrator says that she is not Theodore’s girl friend and no boy in the eighth grade will admit to having a girlfriend. The narrator goes on to say that the boys and girls don’t hang around with each other much. Later the narrator says that a different girl who is also in the eighth grade at Theodore’s school switches boyfriends ever other week.
Other problems are that the ending is very anti-climatic and rushed, the plot takes a while to get going, and one of the villainous characters was never properly introduced. However, despite those flaws I still liked this book because of the writing. John Grisham can certainly write and I hope that he keeps writing for kids. I think that Josh Grisham wrote a pretty good kids’ book but if he had straightened his plot line out a bit he could have written a great kids’ book.
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