John Grisham Essay, Research Paper
POOR BOY TO CELEBRITY
John Grisham has risen from a poor boy to a very a famous and successful author with best-selling novels. He has had eleven excellent books published and will soon have his twelfth novel published. Grisham has used his education in law to write innovative novels about court cases and lawyers. Although becoming an author was far off from his childhood dream of playing professional baseball, he is living the dream of many young aspiring authors. John Grisham has become a celebrity by having over sixty million of his books in print worldwide and having six novels turned into blockbuster films. With a bachelor’s degree in law and gift to write, Grisham has become the best law-writer of our time. (John 2).
John Grisham was born in 1955 in Arkansas to a construction worker and a housewife. His early years were rough ones. His father traveled all over the country looking for work as a construction worker, dragging his wife and five children with him. He remembers, “We didn’t have a lot of money but we didn’t know it…” Grisham became interested in reading at an early age. At each new town his family stayed in, he would go to the library to get a library card. Although he enjoyed he enjoyed reading, he wasn’t exactly an “excellent student.” He focused more on sports than academics. In 1967, Grisham’s family moved to Southaven, Mississippi where they finally settled down. In high school, he took an interest in sports, especially baseball. After high school, he attended Mississippi State where he studied to become a tax lawyer. He earned his bachelor’s degree and moved on to the University of Mississippi where he received a law degree. By then he felt sure of himself that he was going to become a lawyer. He started a private practice in criminal law in Southaven. Although Grisham won his cases in both criminal and civl law, he was finding that he could not be satisfied with working as a lawyer and he wanted to try something new (Chenes 115-16).
Dissatisfied with being a lawyer, Grisham felt he needed to make a difference in the world. He wanted to bring about changes to his state’s educational system. In 1983, Grisham was elected to the Mississippi state legislature. Being a politician was not as he imagined. He worked his heart out with up to eighty-hour weeks. After seven years of working in the legislature, he still was not able to change the education system as he had planned. Feeling that all the work was not worth it, he resigned and began to search for his place in the world. While serving in legislature he had been working on a book (Chenes 117). In fact, he had been getting up at 5:00 every morning for three years to work on what would be his first published novel (Mr. Showbiz).
Grisham started out with dreams of playing professional baseball, became a lawyer, served in the Mississippi state Legislature, and now he was going to become an author?
His first book, titled A Time to Kill was actually inspired by one of his court cases dealing with a young rape victim. Grisham was truly moved by the girl testifying in court that he became obsessed with the case. This obsession is what inspired him to get up at 5:00 every morning to write a novel about a black father who guns down the white men who raped his daughter. Despite Grisham’s trouble to finish something he starts, he finally finished writing his book 1987. He finds an agent, Jay Garon, to represent him. Garon, after searching high and low for someone to publish the book comes across Wynwood Press who agrees to publish Grisham’s book. He received a meager $15,000 check for writing the book. To help get his work out, he bought 1,000 of the 5000 books printed and gave them away as gifts. Today, there are over 8.6 million copies of A Time to Kill in print. Despite his first book having poor sales, he didn’t get discouraged. He followed up with some best-selling novels such as: The Firm, The Pelican Brief, and The Client. (Chenes 117)
It was Grisham’s second novel, The Firm, that really boosted his career as an author. The Firm is a thriller about a young lawyer, fresh out of Harvard, who is given the job opportunity of his life. Just as this lawyer thinks he on his way, two of his coworkers are mysteriously murdered and the FBI begins to investigate. It turns out that the firm was involved in laundering Mafia money and he realizes that there is no way out. One day Grisham’s wife gives him news that someone has gotten hold of a bootlegged copy his manuscript and that that same person is willing to pay $600,000 to make a movie out of his it. A few weeks later, Grisham made a deal with Doubleday to publish his book which ended up on the New York Times best-seller list for nearly a full year. While The Firm was the best-selling novel of 1991, the movie did very well also. In a deal with Paramount Pictures, he was able to get Tom Cruise to play the lead role of Mitch McDeere. Some of Grisham’s other work include: The Pelican Brief, The Client, The Chamber, The Rainmaker, The Runaway Jury, The Partner, and The Street Lawyer. (John 1-2)
In Grisham’s younger years, he never would’ve imagined becoming a famous author. Now, Grisham lives in a Victorian-style house sitting on top of a hill with his wife and their two children. Grisham feels lucky for all he has in his life. “Ten years from now I plan to be sitting here, looking out over my land. I hope I’ll be writing books, but if not, I’ll be on my pond fishing with my kids. I feel like the luckiest guy I know,” Grisham once said. (Mr. Showbiz) He is a very family-oriented man. His wife edits his manuscripts while he coaches Little League. He has become the local Little League commissioner and has had six Little League ball fields built on his own property. Both of his kids are active in sports and his son shares a common interest in baseball. “We think of ourselves as regular people, I swear we do,” Grisham said in an Entertainment Weekly article. (Chenes 115)
Despite being criticized for his novels being very similar to each other, Grisham has managed to release one best-seller after another. Although he dreamed of becoming a professional baseball player, he has lived a very productive life and has achieved much more than he ever could have if he was a professional athlete. Grisham has led a very successful life and has shown the possibilities of trying new things and accepting change.