A Painted House by John Grisham

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The hill people and the Mexicans arrived on the same day. It was a Wednesday, early in September 1952. The Cardinals were five games behind the Dodgers with three weeks to go, and the season looked hopeless. The cotton, however, was waist-high to my father, over my head, and he and my grandfather could be heard before supper whispering words that were seldom heard. It could be a "good crop."

Thus begins the new novel from John Grisham, a story inspired by his own childhood in rural Arkansas. The narrator is a farm boy named Luke Chandler, age seven, who lives in the cotton fields with his parents and grandparents in a little house that's never been painted. The Chandlers farm eighty acres that they rent, not own, and when the cotton is ready they hire a truckload of Mexicans and a family from the Ozarks to help harvest it.

For six weeks they pick cotton, battling the heat, the rain, the fatigue, and, sometimes, each other. As the weeks pass Luke sees and hears things no seven-year-old could possibly be prepared for, and finds himself keeping secrets that not only threaten the crop but will change the lives of the Chandlers forever.

A Painted House is a moving story of one boy's journey from innocence to experience.

BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from John Grisham's The Litigators.

About John Grisham

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Since first publishing A Time to Kill in 1988, Grisham has written one novel a year (his other books are The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, The Chamber, The Rainmaker, The Runaway Jury, The Partner, The Street Lawyer, The Testament, The Brethren, A Painted House, Skipping Christmas, The Summons, The King of Torts, Bleachers, The Last Juror, and The Broker) and all of them have become international bestsellers. The Innocent Man (October 2006) marks his first foray into non-fiction. Grisham lives with his wife Renee and their two children Ty and Shea. The family splits their time between their Victorian home on a farm in Mississippi and a plantation near Charlottesville, VA.
Published March 9, 2010 by Dell. 480 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, History, Action & Adventure, Children's Books. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for A Painted House

Kirkus Reviews

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As the improbable repository of the family secrets, Luke watches the episodic season unfold, but knows he can't say anything against the Spruills—not even the dangerous Hank—because trouble for any of them would chase the rest of them away, and his father needs every picker he can get.

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Publishers Weekly

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Lansbury, an actor of stage and screens, both big and small, brings a sweet innocence to the voice of narrator, Luke Chandler.

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Book Reporter

I doubt that Harper Lee or Anne Rivers Siddons could have told the story of A PAINTED HOUSE any sweeter than did John Grisham.

Feb 06 2001 | Read Full Review of A Painted House

Book Reporter

Inspired by events in Grisham's own childhood, A PAINTED HOUSE is the story of the Chandlers, a 1950s Arkansas farming family, as told through the eyes of seven-year-old Luke.

Dec 26 2001 | Read Full Review of A Painted House

Entertainment Weekly

Readers may groan when Grisham puts a moldy joke in Luke's mouth: ''I got a complete scrubbing every Saturday afternoon, whether I needed it or not.'' Yet when he elaborates that his mother ''scraped my tender skin as if the soil I collected working in the fields offended her,'' it sheds lig...

Feb 09 2001 | Read Full Review of A Painted House

Entertainment Weekly

On the 387th and penultimate page, as the Chandlers start a new chapter in their lives, Luke declares, ''Our adventure was now beginning.'' And even as Grisham takes a break from his hugely profitable thrillers to try a more personal brand of writing, you find yourself hoping he'll proceed on to ...

Feb 07 2001 | Read Full Review of A Painted House

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

What is this South without black people that Grisham has given us?

Mar 11 2001 | Read Full Review of A Painted House

Gather Books

This book came highly recommended to me by several people.

Apr 28 2009 | Read Full Review of A Painted House


The announcement was made that the hour was late, then repeated, and then someone made the first move to the car or truck amidst the first wave of farewells.

Nov 01 2016 | Read Full Review of A Painted House

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