Although John Grisham has received minor criticism for his bestseller "The Partner," he achieves an appealing portrayal of a lawyer fighting the legal system. This narrative was quickly received by readers worldwide and maintained sensation for several months. Publisher Weekly positioned "The Partner" as the #1 bestseller for a few weeks. His previous novels have all entailed a lawyer in threatening situations or circumstances, while spending the novel trying to overcome them. Despite the critics' opinions of recurring components, Grisham successfully conveys a broader scope of events and characters that are intense, shocking and satisfying. Bestseller reviews includes Peter Knutson's February 28, 2001 opinion that Grisham's novel was highly "mind-boggling." Grisham presents and reveals the plot in a jagged format, suspending the gaps that fulfill the holes when and where the reader least expects. It is easy to look beyond the overall, redundant legal theme the critics keep emphasizing, by grasping the new elements that compose the complicated series of occurrences. Grisham's talent enables him to ironically portray an obvious criminal as a deceived, rationalized hero attempting to escape a corrupted environment. "The Partner" specifically addresses the issues of morality, legality and corruption in a comprehendible structure appealing to any individual, even outside of the legal realm.
When considering Grisham's publishing history, a few of Grisham's novels preceding "The Partner," including "The Rainmaker," "The Firm," "The Client" and "A Time to Kill" all received publicity through extensive reviews and sales, as well as the sale of their movie rights. Grisham was constantly obtaining significant praise, success and publicity. Most of his books were reaching the bestseller charts while he continued to produce more novels. By the time he released "The Partner," some critics felt he needed to break away from the same lawyer theme. This theme envelops what an amazon.com reviewer describes as "a return with a story about ? surprise! ? another lawyer in trouble." However, this criticism did not prevent Grisham's novel from obtaining the reviews that helped raise it to bestseller standings. In his novel he adjusts his typical theme to encompass an even larger enticement of a twisted plot and variable characters. Booklist recognizes for the first time Grisham "tries his hand at the fake-your-death-and-change-your-identity theme." The main character is a former lawyer who steals money from his law firm, plans and stages his own death, and flees to another country under a new identity until he gets caught. Grisham's strategy of slowly revealing the gaps enhances curiosity and suspense in his readers. He successfully disperses the details of the main character's deception, journey and fate throughout the entire novel, designing the perfect trail of apprehension. The novel sets the mood with the capture and torture of the main character. The reader gradually discovers the lawyer has suffered many misfortunes and deceptions, and is simply escaping the financial deception his partners were about to perform against him. His motives seem justified, which contribute to the heroic image Grisham had hoped to portray. Once the main character is joined with other lawyer friends, he gradually reveals the extensive time, brilliance and focus it took him to overcome the challenges and conquer his enemies. He undergoes torture from a group of individuals who are out for revenge, as well as intense investigations by the FBI. Grisham provides many opposing factors and sources to create a series of surprising revelations and experiences. Characters and relationships are ambiguous, contributing to the sense of suspense and motivation for the readers. Although the gaps are indefinite throughout the novel, the reader discovers after an extreme analysis and disclosure of the events that took place that the majority of experiences, faults and decisions in the main character's life were intentional. Grisham presents the main character's motives in a justified manner, therefore invoking a heroic image. Despite Grisham's efforts, he has been criticized for portraying this character as the ultimate hero who has committed criminal offenses and lacks morality. Grisham allocates the justification of the character's criminal actions as well as his release to freedom in the end. The twists and turns throughout the novel compel the reader to sustain curiosity, and the end proves Grisham's strategy a success. The lawyer succeeds in achieving the innocence and freedom from his past through the help of former legal friends. However in the very end he discovers his ultimate confidant who has assisted him behind the scenes and who he has grown to love has consequently deceived him and fled with his money. He concludes that after years of hiding, he will spend however long it takes to find her. He is "no longer the prey, he was now the hunter" (Grisham, 366). He is left with no money, and realizes his only hope of being with her is in her hands if she wants to be discovered. The main character has been ironically deceived by a person he trusted and by the exact same strategy he used to initially disappear. The reader is ultimately shocked by the turn of events. When considering plot reviews, Bestseller Reviews reports Justin Vanderpool's February 24, 2002 observation that "at times it is slow but comes back with a bang?Grisham uses great detail in this novel?keeps you interested in the beginning, fades in the middle, and jumps out at the end." Grisham's plot design somewhat correlates with his previous novels, while involving more significantly creative elements.
"The Partner" is undoubtedly bestseller material, and enhanced Grisham's reputation and career. In addition to the plot development, his constructions of several countries as locations in his book provide a sense of cultural awareness. These approaches and attributes helped launch this book into worldwide acceptance, and collaborate to label "The Partner" a bestseller. Although his increasing acknowledgments contributed to his new level of success, he chose not to release movie rights for this particular novel. Grisham was avoiding overexposure after previous novels had already entered the film industry. He decided to take a break from Hollywood and focus on producing more novels, as opposed to expanding "The Partner's" coverage. This decision evidently did not affect the book's acceptance and achievement.
While Grisham avoided overexposure, his career continued to climb. Due to Grisham's previous novels, he had already gained and maintained a well-deserved status among the early ninety's authors. He had been labeled as an attractive, small town country author who continued to produce fascinating novels and varying aspects concerning the legal system. These aspects are a correlation of Grisham's experiences and legal background. In discussing "The Partner" Grisham admitted he knew lawyers who had attempted to steal money from their law firms in hopes of regaining a new life and getting away with it. Grisham admits this novel is "an old story?a lawyer's dream of escaping" (capitolbookcafe). His accuracy and character depiction based on personal observation and legal practice regarding the legal world aid in engaging his readers. His appearance, aura and personality in interviews and descriptions evidently sparked new interests in the public eye; however his talents and writing style significantly maintained his readers and supporters. Grisham's decision to leave the legal system and pursue a writing career proves to be rewarding.
Once Grisham denied movie rights for "The Partner," he began redirecting his novels to represent new ideas, as opposed to continuing with the legal aspect. Grisham received far more praises than criticisms; however the critics were accurate in recognizing it was time for a change. As of December 2002, Grisham maintains a thriving production of bestsellers with the majority of his books. He has not revealed any limitation or loss of ideas, advancing his reputation as a talented, reliable author.
John Grisham's "The Partner"