Review of the Rainmaker, a novel by John Grisham

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By Christine Iannicelli

Many of John Grisham’s books have been made into movies (Runaway Jury, The Client, and A Time To Kill, to name a few) and I’ve enjoyed most of them.  However, I had never actually read any of his novels.  Would the books be as good as the films?  I decided to find out.

I started with The Rainmaker, a story about a newly graduated law student named Rudy Baylor struggling to make ends meet and prosecute his first real law case.  He is representing a low-income family suing a powerful insurance company for not paying for the bone marrow treatment that could save their son’s life.  The 1997 film version stars Matt Damon as Rudy, Danny Devito as his ambulance-chasing associate, and Jon Voight as the insurance company’s defense attorney.

I loved this story!  It is written in the present tense, allowing the reader to travel along with Rudy as he is forced to deal with job losses, backstabbing, and financial problems.  Rudy gradually becomes disillusioned with the legal system while simultaneously trying to stick to his morals and win his case.

The movie was very enjoyable and the characters were cast perfectly.  However, the novel did a better job of representing the central theme of this story, which is the corruption that exists within the legal profession and the very real issues that face college students once they graduate and try to find their way in the world.

Rudy’s experiences in law school and his supportive relationships with his professors and friends are not mentioned in the film.  These friendships are what keep Rudy grounded, but once he leaves law school and starts to witness firsthand the unethical behavior that exists within his profession, his hopes start to fade away.  It is not a pleasant story, but it is an interesting one all the same.  I highly recommend you read the book and watch the movie and experience this story for yourself!

Favorite Quote:

“I’m alone and outgunned, scared and inexperienced, but I’m right.”