Book Review: Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer

August 9, 2012


Well, things certainly seem to be going well. One of the books I ordered should be coming soon, though I hoped two would have been package together. Anyway, I have so far reviewed two of the three books I got recently, which means only one remains. Today, I will be reviewing that book, which is called Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer by John Grisham.

Things are usually quite peaceful in Strattenburg. So peaceful in fact that a murder case has not happened in close to two decades. However, that peace is disturbed when a woman was found dead in her own house, which was made to look like it happened during a burglary. Fortunately, an arrest is made and the case is coming up that garners interest from masses. One of the interested party is middle school student called Theodore Boone, as aspires to join the legal field. As much as he does not want to admit it, He thinks that the man on trial is guilty. One day, he gets a chance to prove his belief. However, in order to do so, he must convince an unknown witness to come forward and the judge to allow that witness to testify.

I am not too sure about this one. On the other hand, I cannot really say that I hate it to the point where I will not consider other books in the series or by the author. The story was well paced and easy to follow. I could certainly picture almost everything that was happening. All these kept me engrossed in the book. I also liked how things like double jeopardy and such was covered, though I am not sure how common that is outside US. Another nice thing was that even though everyone is essentially innocent until proven guilt is not really true these days. Whenever we see somebody in court these days there are always some people who say that the accused are definitely guilty. However, as I think I already mentioned on this blog at least once, such assumptions are a dangerous thing. Outside of writing, I help people with computer issues. While dealing with such things, and even before the first time I got paid for my services, I knew that assumptions were a dangerous thing. The goal of dealing with such work is to isolate the issue down to a particular area, but those with a lot of experience, especially those with more experience than myself, tend to jump to conclusions quickly, most likely due to how many times they encountered the same issue. In doing so, the tech person blinds himself or herself to what the actual problem could be. The situation could be diagnosed by one tech as a corrupted hard drive and another could say that it is a software issue. Such was the situation of my service call to a tire shop in my town. Now, I may not have encountered enough situations, but I doubt that if the hard drive was corrupted that I would have been able to look at the contents of the hard drive via a Live CD. That may be something I would want to ask either my cousin or my friend that lives pretty far away from me. However, that has nothing to do with this post. Things are pretty much the same for criminal cases. Assumption based on circumstantial evidence may not necessarily be the correct answer. If it were, I doubt that there would be so many innocent people serving time for crimes they did not commit. For those that do not know what circumstantial evidence is, which should not include anybody that is a fan of detective, crime, or mystery fiction, the book does a nice job of explaining it. It also go through a bit of courtroom procedures, which definitely seems different than we see on television. Theodore Boone certainly did show how knowledgeable he was and that he care deeply about his credibility, when it came to helping people that seek it from him. I also enjoyed the fact that little, if any, grammatical errors. The book has very good imagery and details some legal procedures that do differ from what is seen on television and the protagonist certainly seems intelligent.

While I did not hate the book, there are some issues. For a while, a family member has thought that I own too many manga volumes and has tried steering me to try other books. However, and I am not too sure about her awareness outside of my like for Sherlock that stemmed from Detective Conan (Case Closed) and a few other series and/or autobiographies and biographies. After all, I have been reading various crime, detective, and mystery fiction titles, some of which I also heard about from watching or reading Detective Conan. On the other hand, I can say one thing for certain. I prefer following cases presented during the investigation stage, which most whodunits do. This is because things really are a mystery when done that way and a reader with a keen eye for detail can determine who exactly is the culprit or how the seemingly impossible was possible. However, in this book, I am forced to follow what Theodore does and what he hears or encounters. Yes, we have to follow the narrator in other detective, crime, or mystery works, but being that they are in the investigation stage, we get the chance to pick up little clues. Yet, I do not really get any clues during the course of reading this to say whether or not the accused is innocent until we find out about an unknown witness, which is where much of the tension starts occurring anyway. Such is the problem when the protagonist or protagonists do investigations during a trial, since much of the evidence has been taken, and, in the case here, we do not really get any details about the suspect except for facial expressions during trial. For something labeled as a great mystery by so many big names on the back and inside of the book, I do not really want to know how observant those people really are or how long they have been following crime fiction and all it subgenres, like detective fiction. On the other hand, I do agree that it was written fairly well. While the book is well written, I cannot really say that this deserves to be labeled as a good mystery, considering that we do not really get to draw our own conclusions based on what is there, instead of just what the protagonist's encounters. The fact that the protagonist's investigation occurs during a trial also does not really help out much, when compared to how things are in many of Agatha Christie's works, as well as the Arthur Conan Doyle stories of Sherlock.

Despite the fact that this did not really seem like a good mystery, I cannot really say that this book was a waste of time. I would recommend this to those that are fans of John Grisham or want an interesting story. For that are fans of detective, crime, or mystery fiction, I cannot really recommend this, since much of the action occurs in a courtroom, as opposed to the actual investigations like what happens in many of Agatha Christie's works and clues only come when the protagonist encounters things. As For everyone else, this was good enough to consider giving a try but Sherlock, Hercule Poirot, and Detective Conan are all better places to start as an introduction to the detective, crime, and mystery genres.

What are your thoughts on Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer? Do you agree or disagree with my views? Do you have anything to add? Feel free to comment.

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