The Rooster Bar – John Grisham

This book got tossed around in my immediate family, mostly for the ‘DC-nostalgia’ it produces. That is how I ended up with it. I had never read Grisham before, but having not lived under a rock my whole life I had some kind of mental image to who he was – guy what wrote lawyer fiction.

That isn’t exactly The Rooster Bar. I mean, it is, but only lightly. Yes, the three protagonists are trying to become lawyers, but only one of the trio seems to be doing so for something approaching the right reason, and even at the very beginning of the novel we know definitely that they are well committed to a road of failure. The very premise of the book is that their academic career was doomed from the start. That in itself veers heavily from what I think of when I think of John Grisham.

To a certain extent, the characters in The Rooster Bar would eagerly mock the manifestations of what I thought of John Grisham. So points for checking that ‘counter-expectation’ box.

Going against expectation may be the books chief virtue. It is, at the end of the day, the tale of three people who found themselves with bad hand and do some pretty bad things to try and right the world for themselves. The world fights back, of course, and its fun to watch the heroes ultimately come out on top. There was a brief moment when I was concerned that the narrative was going to take a turn into making these characters some kind of ultimate good guys who bring down a Goliath of a foe, but thankfully the story avoided that.

I was given this book with the expectation that it was a comedy. I guess that it was, but the jokes were very few and far between. The humor was all situational, and more along the order of thinking ‘oh, yea, I guess what is happening to these three is kinda funny’ versus actually laughing. After a very humorous introduction to the three characters, the book’s opening takes a pretty damn dark turn. It stops being funny for some time. If you want to actually laugh, I wouldn’t look here.

But that isn’t to say that I didn’t really like this. I did. And not just for the DC nostalgia.

Frankly, I have no idea. And I am happy this way.

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