When we all slept in one room, I used to ask my siblings, “What do you want to do when you grow up?”
One of my siblings wanted to live in Laos, in a house with screens instead of doors. I said I wanted to write in a great big lonely mansion in the mountains. My youngest sibling said, “I want to be a lawyer.”
This took us all by surprise. “Why?” we asked.
“So I can get rich and live in a penthouse in Manhattan.”
It didn’t seem as far-fetched as it really was. After all, what do lawyers do? Get a case. Win it. Make boatloads of money. Right?
The Rainmaker is one of John Grisham’s acclaimed courtroom thrillers. It follows Rudy Baylor, a young man fresh out of law school. He is nearly broke, estranged from his family, and looking for a job. Then, right when life hits rock bottom, he stumbles across a promising case. However, his dreams are shattered when he realizes who he is up against: a massive insurance company named Great Benefit, and one of the greatest lawyers of all time.
Law school is a wretched experience for Rudy Baylor. He is miserable: working 40 hours a week at a bar to pay for tuition, food, and other bills; he has only one friend, the African-American genius, Booker Kane; the big test, commonly called “the bar,” is coming up, and he is still unemployed. And when he is forced out of his apartment, Rudy can keep his spirits up no longer. Will he land on his feet? How will he survive?
“Objection!” my friend cried, slamming his fist on the table. I laughed. It was funny, that day in class, but when the same thing is said in The Rainmaker, I didn’t smile at all. It is a serious matter in the courtroom. Every time Rudy makes even a small victory, however, I cheered internally. The scenes in court are frenetic, worrying, and exciting, and I looked forward to them eagerly. It was surprising that someone like me—having little to no knowledge about the law—could enjoy these scenes so thoroughly, but Grisham’s writing makes everything clear and exciting.
The Rainmaker is a fast-paced, thrilling book. It helped me realize that a lawyer’s life is not easy—and it brought me back to those nighttime conversations with my siblings.
High-school courtroom thriller, ages 13 and up.
You can buy this book here.