Biography Of John Grisham Essay, Research Paper
John Grisham became a world famous writer with his book The Firm. Although he never wanted to be a writer, he has now written over nine books, many of them best- sellers (Arnold 29). Examining his writing will show why John Grisham quit his previous job as a lawyer. I will start by telling about his childhood, education, family, then on to his career.
John Grisham led a mostly normal childhood. Grisham was born in 1955 in Jonesboro, Arkansas (Current 221). The son of a construction worker and a homemaker, Grisham and his family moved around the deep South according to where his father’s work was (Ferranti 43). In 1967 the Grisham family moved to a permanent residence in Southaven, Mississippi, a suburb of Memphis, Tennessee (Current 221). John Grisham said, “We didn’t have a lot of money, but we didn’t know it, we were fed and loved and scrubbed” (Hubbard 44). Along with being a famous writer, Grisham is also a devout Christian. While his father usually had to work seven days a week, Grisham’s mother always had Grisham and his four siblings in church every Sunday. Grisham said, “My mother led me to Jesus.” He was eight-years-old when he confirmed his faith in God and says “It was the most important event in my life” (Norton 16).
John Grisham an excellent education, going to some very good schools. He went to high school in Southaven, Mississippi. He was not the best student, but Grisham found his passion in high school sports, especially baseball (Hubbard 44). After high school Grisham found himself in the situation of choosing where he wanted to go to college and what to major in. He chose to attend Mississippi State University and found he wanted to become a tax lawyer. After earning his B.S. degree in accounting, Grisham enrolled at the University Law School. After his first class in tax law, Grisham transferred out and into criminal defense law. In 1981 he graduated from law school with a J.D. degree (Current 221).
John Grisham wasted no time going right into his new business of a lawyer. After finishing college Grisham set up a private practice in Southaven (Ferranti 42). Almost as soon as he opened his practice, Grisham disliked his chosen field. After accepting, and winning, his first case he decided to switch to civil law. Yet Grisham found the field of civil law just as bad as criminal law and tried to run for Mississippi state legislature (Current 222). In 1983 John Grisham was elected to the State Senate, but again found himself in a field he disliked. Shortly before his second term, Grisham resigned his seat and decided to try something he never had dreamed about, writing (Hubbard 44). Meanwhile during all this Grisham was still a lawyer.
Grisham’s inspiration for writing hit him one day when he never expected it. One day at the De Soto County courthouse, Grisham listened to the testimony of a 12-year-old rape victim. Grisham wondered what it would be like if the girl’s father had killed the rapist and was then put on trial himself (Hubbard 43). Grisham quit the possession of being a lawyer in 1990. This was the inspiration to Grisham’s first book. A Time to Kill gathered twenty-eight rejections before it was accepted and published by Wynwood Press. His next book, the book Grisham is most famous for, The Firm also racked up the rejections from publishers. When the copy of The Firm landed in Hollywood, everyone wanted it; eighteen publishers begged Grisham to let them publish it (Hubbard 44). Grisham went on to write nine more novels in his nine years of being a writer, with five of them becoming movies. Forbes magazine ranked John Grisham as one of the wealthiest entertainers in the world. In 1996 alone he earned $43 million. A Grisham novel will usually have a total sell of well over two million in hardcover with an additional three or four million in paperback (Arnold 29).
John Grisham leads a quite life due to the fact that he is usually writing. But in 1996 Grisham decided to sue Oliver Stone, the director of the movie Natural Born Killers. Grisham was suing because in March 1995 William Savage, a friend of Grisham’s was shot at the cotton gin where he worked in Mississippi. The next day a convenience store clerk Patsy Byers was shot and paralyzed. Ben Darras, 18, and Sarah Edmondson, 19, were accused of the crimes. Edmondson told authorities she and Darras took LSD and watched Natural Born Killers before committing the crimes. This angered Grisham who decided to sue, but Stone called all the charges against him, “Ridiculously bizarre” (Gleick 90).
John Grisham’s idea of the good life is sipping tea on the veranda with Renee, his wife of eighteen years. He also loves watching his two children, son, Ty, age fourteen, and daughter, Shea, age twelve. The Grisham family lives in a 204-year-old house on 100 acres outside of Charlottesville, Virginia. The grounds include tennis courts, swimming pool, croquet courts, horse stables, a full-time house keeper and maintaince man, and a private jet. Grisham swears, “We still think of ourselves as normal people” and defines normal as coaching his kid’s Little League teams, teaching Sunday School, going on mission trips with members of his Southaven Baptist Church, donating to good causes, and, of course, writing one novel each year (Ferranti 82).
John Grisham was co-writing the screenplay for The Rainmaker with director Francis Ford Coppola, and sold the movie rights to The Runaway Jury for a record eight million (Ferranti 42). On February 4, 1998, Grisham’s book The Street Lawyer was introduced to the public The latest of his nine novels has two and a half million copies in bookstores in the U.S. and Canada right now (Arnold 29). In fact he has came out with another novel which was released in February of 1999 called The Testament.
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