TRL REVIEWS: The Rooster Bar by John Grisham

TITLE: The Rooster Bar

AUTHOR: John Grisham

PUBLISHED: 2017

PUBLISHER: Doubleday Books

Quote: "I don't know what I'm doing, really, except drinking beer."

Overview: Three close friends enrolled at Foggy Bottom Law School come to terms with the reality of their situation: deep in debt at a for-profit law school that has a dismal bar passage rate, a dwindling job market and a future of dodging lenders. Unfortunately, it took them until their third and final year, after over $200,000 in loans each, to realize the mistake they had made. After a tragic event involving one of their friends, Mark, Todd, and Zola take matters into their own hands. They must learn to survive on their own, game the system so that it finally works in favor of the little guy, expose the corporations and lenders screwing over millions of students and find a way out of their desperate situation.

Analysis: This was a rollercoaster of a read for me. It hit close to home as I am a somewhat recent law grad, and all of the perils of the law job market and massive student loan debt is nothing new to me. It was reassuring to witness John Grisham tackle these issues and bring them to the forefront of his readers' minds.

Grisham also covered a multitude of other issues, including mental illness, the legal system and US immigration policy. The book covered these topics well, though at times, especially in the first half, it felt as if the reader was receiving the "kitchen sink." A number of issues the US is facing are thrown into the book and at the reader, initially not seeming to have much to do with the plot. As the book progressed these outsider topics came together in a more coherent way. Other aspects of the plot, however, such as character development, weren't quite what I had hoped. At times I lost track of two of the main characters, Mark and Todd. Their backgrounds and stories were so similar it was hard to remember who was the one with a brother and which one was from Philadelphia. 

It took me about halfway through the book to hit my stride, and in all honesty, it's difficult to distinguish whether I purely enjoyed the book as a reader or as a lawyer and one-time law student who has shared similar experiences. Regardless, by the end of the book I was sold and would recommend it, especially to any lawyers or law students.

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Conclusion: Grisham's legal thriller brings to light a lot of issues plaguing the United States through the lens of a legal thriller.

Rating: 3/5

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for this review. This does not affect my review, my opinion of the book or any such related content.