Ford County by John Grisham
Ford County is John Grisham’s first book of short stories. Its a collection of seven stories , each set in Ford County, Mississippi. It is a measure of Grisham’s audacious talent that he manages to make his protagonist’s story work on so many levels. As with Grisham’s legal thrillers, his short stories are page-turners as well.
In Grisham’s story, “Michael’s Room”, he so deftly demonstrates the protagonist’s radar for status distinctions, and in these pages he provides an acerbic sense of how corruption increases the profits of the rich and decimates the profits of the impoverished. In Michael’s court case, the family felt duped by the rich, educated attorney who wins the case for the wealthy plaintiff; they both increased their profits, and enriched their lifestyle. Meanwhile, the poor defendant was left broken and living life with his son, an invalid. The writer shows the results of the resentment of a family filled with pain, frustration, and despair at the hands of a clever rich attorney winning a corporate medical case.
However, Grisham puts a surprising twist on the story. The writer allows the simple man a reward; the satisfaction of witnessing the sorrow and brokenness that the rich man lives with every day because of his arrogance and money. Grisham allowed the simple man to use his street wisdom to confront the upperclassman, leaving with him questioning himself and his Integrity. Simply put, the clever attorney looked like a babbling idiot.
Grisham continues the suspense in the following six stories. “Casino” tells the story of a rich, flamboyant, egotistical hustler, who was once respected, revered and, in some situations, feared by the towns’ people. The hustler was being sued and all the community came to the courtroom. The works of the simple conservative man made the people rejoice at the results; the hustler fell from his throne, leaving him penniless and babbling like an imbecile.
In “Fish Files”, the main character struggles with his family and his law business, and he wants to remove himself from both situations. He uses his lawyering skills in a scrupulous manner to collect some unwarranted funds, which he then uses to start a new life.
Though “Blood Drive” is a serious tale, Grisham uses humor to tell it. A man was in a accident the hospital, and needed blood. The message was sent to his community and some of his friends gave their consent to provide the blood.
“Quiet Haven” shows the shrewd attorney and his bigoted partner in crime, “the caring giver”, manipulate and rob the owners of the nursing facility and the hidden senior citizens, closed away and forgotten.
“Fetching Raymond” tells the tale of a typical dysfunctional poor white trash, “PWT”, family. The community had alienated the mother’s children. Unfortunately, all three of her sons became residents of the criminal justice system.
“Funny Boy” records the behavior of a typical Caucasian family in the 80’s.Their solution upon discovering that their son was homosexual was to send him away. He decides to go to San Francisco. However after several years, he returns home with AIDS. The family deemed him an unacceptable human being and placed him into the hands of an African American woman, who took care of him until his demise.
Though the stories are written in a coherent, simple language, the plot and characters are interesting and relative. The purpose of this book was to entertain, and Grisham does not disappoint his readers. Therefore, a general target audience can relate and enjoy each story.
In Ford County, Grisham reaffirms his place as one of this generation’s most inventive and gifted writers. Grisham has long and correctly been recognized as among the greatest storytellers of the 21th century.