Boy, that was fun. Just finished The Litigators.
As for the main story and enjoyment of the book…Grisham is now a write-by-numbers author. If you like those numbers, then you’ll like the book. It’s a story of lawyers learning to use their powers for good instead of evil. Et cetera. The typical Grisham trick that I usually enjoy if I’m in just the right mood.
I hear a lot about how Grisham is a Christian. He’s one of those authors who is held up as an example of Christian writers who write in the mainstream, who can publish a novel with Christian themes and ideals without hitting you over the head with them. And I’m not here to say he isn’t a Christian or to say that he isn’t a good writer.
I’m here to say that he has a big ol’ fat prejudice against fat people and it made this book a chore to read. The poundage was given for every one of the main characters. The more distasteful Grisham wanted to paint a particular character, the heavier that character was. The worst of the bad lawyers was pushing 300lbs. The flawed but essentially good lawyer who saved the day was 220, I believe. The good girls–the flawed lawyer’s wife–is just described as “trim”. A nice old lady is “petite and tiny”. It got to be shorthand after awhile. If he wanted you to dislike a character he mentioned their doughy body, their sloppy clothes, their pounds yet again.
I don’t suppose you’d notice if you weren’t a fat person or a person with their own overt fat prejudice. Those details are the kinds of things that authors throw in to add versimilitude but get absorbed and discarded pretty quickly. But it’s hurtful to read and a hurtful idea to promulgate. It’s a sneaky bias that gets salted into our pop culture in sneaky ways. Just like in this story. People read Grisham and they come away thinking that the outmoded science (ie. high cholesterol is bad for you) is true. They trust Grisham; he’s a good Christian man who goes on most of their vacations with them.
I guess in Grisham’s world I and my 208lbs would be a villain. So I guess complaining about his book is par for the course. But I gotta tell you. I know a lot of fat people. They’re all fat for different reasons. Sometimes it IS gluttony. Sometimes it IS sloth.
But sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes it’s birth control pills or anti-depressants or a bad car accident that left them with limited mobility. Sometimes it’s a lipid disease. Sometimes it’s genetics. Sometimes…. I could and do go on and on so I’ll stop here. But I’ll just say that you can’t look at a fat person and know their whole story. Assuming that they got fat because of bad or distasteful character is a cruelly smug outlook. I expect better from adults who’ve all had flawed and difficult lives. (If you’re a human you’ve had a flawed and difficult life. Face it.) I expect doubly better from Christians.
How glad am I that I checked this one out of the library?!