The Firm (1991)
Not reviewed previously on CBR.
In many ways, this is the perfect book to adapt into a Tom Cruise movie. The main character is young, cocky, great looking, and he has to run. The only difference, really, between Mitch and Tom Cruise is that the character is taller. So, he looks more like Patrick Bateman. The image that kept recurring to me, in fact, was Christian Bale in American Psycho.
The problem here, for me, is that he isn’t an every man. He’s hard to root for. I live in a world where Bernie Sanders almost defeats Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination for president. A world with rising anger at a wealthy elite increasingly detached from the mainstream. A world where the fight to make the minimum wage a living wage is seen as ludicrous and greedy by a large segment of the increasingly depleted middle class.
So a wealthy and handsome graduate of Harvard Law School pursuing his dream of becoming a millionaire, retiring at 40, and being handed a brand new BMW as a signing bonus just….doesn’t do it for me.
It doesn’t help that I’m in the midst of working 20+ hours of overtime every week, leading to my barely getting time with my family, which also happens to be a major plot point in the book for Mitch and his wife, Abby. Some of those parts hit a little close to home.
However, there’s no denying that Grisham wrote a taught and engaging thriller. While Mitch was a little too smart sometimes, and maybe a little too good at evading trained killers, and the law firm seemed a little too evil, and not nearly as smart as they would probably have to be to get away with their crimes, the book mostly works. My biggest complaints, really, were that the distrust Mitch has for the FBI never really seemed earned, and the ending seemed to come about too suddenly. I kept expecting some twist or reveal at the end that never really happened, and was a little disappointed when it was all over – but not for the reasons one is typically disappointed by an end.
But I’ve never read Grisham before, and this was certainly good enough to make me want to check out some of his other books.