Milton Gross Book Review Ford County by John Grisham

 

“Ford County is the best writing John Grisham has ever done,” states a remark on the cover. I won’t go that far, but it is pretty darn good. It is the first book of short stories by Grisham I have read. All in the South, which is pretty “Grishamy.” Milton Gross photo.
“Ford County is the best writing John Grisham has ever done,” states a remark on the cover. I won’t go that far, but it is pretty darn good. It is the first book of short stories by Grisham I have read. All in the South, which is pretty “Grishamy.” Milton Gross photo.

This 2010 paperback of seven short stories is the first short-story book I’ve read by John Grisham, who to my knowledge wrote 22 books. I didn’t even know Grisham wrote short stories, and it is for his books that he is best known. I didn’t know much about Grisham, but after reading what I copied (below) of his life and work, I fully respect him now, particularly for what he did to become a writer.

“Long before his name became synonymous with the modern legal thriller, he was working 60-70 hours a week at a small Southaven, Mississippi, law practice, squeezing in time before going to the office and during courtroom recesses to work on his hobby—writing his first novel.

“Born on February 8, 1955 in Jonesboro, Arkansas, to a construction worker and a homemaker, John Grisham as a child dreamed of being a professional baseball player. Realizing he didn’t have the right stuff for a pro career, he shifted gears and majored in accounting at Mississippi State University. After graduating from law school at Ole Miss in 1981, he went on to practice law for nearly a decade in Southaven, specializing in criminal defense and personal injury litigation. In 1983, he was elected to the state House of Representatives and served until 1990.

“One day at the DeSoto County courthouse, Grisham overheard the harrowing testimony of a twelve-year-old rape victim and was inspired to start a novel exploring what would have happened if the girl’s father had murdered her assailants. Getting up at 5 a.m. every day to get in several hours of writing time before heading off to work, Grisham spent three years on A Time to Kill and finished it in 1987. Initially rejected by many publishers, it was eventually bought by Wynwood Press, who gave it a modest 5,000 copy printing and published it in June 1988.”

Pretty much that tell Grisham’s story, and I’m glad he started that first novel.

In 2010, the fictional ‘Ford County’ came out as a Bantam Books paperback. Bantam Books is a part of the Random House Publishing Group. It is priced at $15 on the cover.

Grisham’s writing career is typical of such careers, started because he overheard something….most have an idea from somewhere, got up at 5 a.m. to write, and his first book, ‘A Time to Kill,’ was rejected by many publishers before he sold it. But he stuck at it, which is what one who wants to write must do.

I found some of the stories in this book a bit long, but they were all attention-holders, and I’m glad I read ‘Ford County.’ His writing takes place in the South. He writes the flavor of the South. The stories are primarily small-town South.

I found my copy in a friends bookshelf, and he has assured me I can keep it. Which I will.

If you want some real drama in your day, find your own copy and settle in for a group of intense stories….with a definite Southern flavor.


Milt Gross can be reached for corrections, harassment, or other purposes at lesstraveledway@roadrunner.com
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