Once again, it is time for me to practice some English, and I decided to do it just as I did a couple of weeks ago in the post about a wonderful Spanish novel by José Luis Sampedro.
Today I want to tell you about THE CONFESSION, a legal thriller by John Grisham, which dwells on the burning issue of capital punishment in the US. It’s a story that illustrates the way the American legal system works and the way it reacts when one tries to stop a wrongful execution.
First of all let me give you a brief summary of the beginning of the story.
One morning in Topeka, Kansas, a strange visitor named Travis Boyette comes to the office of a Lutheran minister Keith Schroeder. This frail man turns out to be a paroled convict with a long record of sexual assaults in various states. Travis confesses that he is guilty of murder of a high school cheer-leader, Nicole Yarber, that took place 9 years ago in the small East Texas city of Slone. A black 18 year-old local football star, Donté Drumm, was wrongly convicted and sentenced to death. Only four days are left before he is to be executed.
The body was not found, and the conviction is based on a confession obtained under pressure and some other fake evidences concocted by the police. Travis knows where the body is and claims that he wants to tell the truth and stop the execution. The reason for his good intention is that he is about to die because of an untreatable brain tumour with which he has been diagnosed recently. He suffers from seizures which are heavy and painful…
«But how can a guilty man convince lawyers, judges, and politicians that they’re about to execute an innocent person?» (the novel’s blurb)
I guess, this is enough: just for you to decide whether you are interested or not (:
And now some words about my personal impressions of the book.
To say the truth, the book hasn’t fully met my expectations; however, it hasn’t disappointed me either. I was attracted by the gripping plot and the important social issues the novel deals with. I liked the representation and psychological descriptions of the central characters, which were quite realistic and believable. I think Grisham succeeded in capturing the atmosphere of the situations and the events he depicted. For example, the description of the working atmosphere in a legal firm meeting a deadline was very convincing, as well as quite a few other scenes. It was also interesting for me to know some details about legal procedures in the US, and I also learnt, or recalled, some facts related to American society.
On the whole, I would characterize this book as an easy read that allowed me to practice English in a relaxed way, without having to make a frequent use of a dictionary. However, I found the language and the style of the book a bit too simple, and its vocabulary somewhat limited. Therefore, the book was of little literary value for me.
I have also got the impression that the novel is slightly unbalanced as for the structure, and its second half had some heavy going pieces. Instead, I would rather the author gave more details concerning other matters, which he actually left undeveloped.
Nevertheless, despite the drawbacks I mentioned, I don’t feel it was a waste of time to read this book. It was enjoyable in general, and there is another good thing I made of this reading. I have compiled kind of a glossary of legal vocabulary used in the book. If you want me to share it with you, just let me know (:
P.S. Any comment or correction will be appreciated.