am 27. April 2000
John Grisham's novel A Time To Kill was a very good novel because it kept me on edge, it was very descriptive, and it told about events that really happens in life.John grisham was very descriptive in this quote "She was ten, and small for her age. She lay on her elbows, which were stuck and bound together with yellow nylon rope. Her legs were spread grotesquely with the right foot tied tight to an oak sapling and the left to a rotting leaning post of a long-knecked fence." He used this detailed writing throughout the novel.He kept you on edge by talking about one story until it got very interesting then he switched to another story and the switched back to the other story. "The paramedics stopped in the yard when the front door opened and Carl Lee walked out with his daughter in his arms. He whispered gently to her as huge tears dripped from his chin. He walked to the end of the ambulance and stepped inside. The paramedics closed the door and carefully removed her from his embrace."This quote is proof that John Grisham knows how things happen in life and that he used this knowledge in his novel.
am 31. März 2000
I am putting my neck on the line by going against thegeneralconsensus here. I liked alot of the book. Especially thelawyer. But I cannot say it is one of the greatest books I have ever read. It is not even the best Grisham (I like The Client the best).
The courtroom dialog was great and the tension was great. What kept me from giving the book higher marks was that I cannot condone what the father did, since he shot the innocent police officer. I found how Grisham downplayed the shooting of the cop to be a major omission of the book.
The only justified homicide to me is in a self-defense situation. If the father had shot the men in the act of attacking his daughter, then I would have felt his actions justified. He did not even wait for the trial to play out before he decided to be judge, jury, and executioner.
am 3. November 2008
Nach eingehender Lektüre des Romans und dem Anschauen der Verfilmung entschließe ich mich zu einer Rezension dieses thematisch nicht einfachen Buches.
Die vorliegende Ausgabe ist stark gekürzt und sprachlich simplifiziert, um den eingeschränkten Englischkenntnissen von Jugendlichen (ab 15-16) gerecht zu werden. Als Schullektüre eignet sich die Ausgabe, wobei man sich dem Ganzen inhaltlich kritisch gegenüber stehen muss - v.a. dem leichtfertigen Rechtfertigen von Gewalt und Selbstjustiz (dazu später mehr). Zumindest lesen die Jugendlichen das Buch gerne und freiwillig, nicht nur als Synopsis im Kindler oder auf Wikipedia.de.
Die Story ist rasch erzählt: Schwarzer Vater erschießt weiße Vergewaltiger seiner Tochter, wird (im Süden der USA) angeklagt und mit der Hilfe eines jungen, idealistischen weißen Anwalts freigesprochen.
Klingt nach Klischees à la Hollywood?
Das dachte ich auch. Und ehrlichgesagt, ich fand die Handlung und die Darstellung der Charaktere zuweilen hart an der Grenze zur Stereotypisierung und Reproduktion hollywood'scher Schablonen, dennoch lohnt sich die Lektüre des Romans. Der Ausgang des Prozesses erfüllt zwar die Postulate der "poetic justice" ("Der/das Gute siegt!"), doch erscheint er mir recht unglaubwürdig und eher als Wunschdenken denn harte Realität im konservativen, nicht ganz vorurteilsfreien Süden der USA.
Es ist ohne Frage eines der fesselndsten Werke Grishams, in dem sein Anliegen klar zum Ausdruck gebracht wird. Aber welches Anliegen überhaupt???
Ich meine, dass der Roman den Leser auf eine gefährliche Reise führt und verführt - nämlich die der Billigung von Gewalt und Selbstjustiz. Ich bin nicht so naiv zu denken, dass sich die Gewalt und Probleme der Welt mit blauäugigem Pazifismus und Jesus-Sprüchen lösen lassen, dennoch ertappte ich mich dabei, wie befriedigend und gerechtfertigt ich es fand, dass z.B. der schwarze Police Chief einem weißen Bombenleger mit seinem Knüppel die Knochen bricht (= foltert), um aus ihm Infos herauszudreschen. Oder dass ich die - juristisch gesehen - Ermordung der weißen Vergewaltiger und Rassisten durch den Vater mit innerem Applaus billigte (bin selbst Vater zweier Kinder und wüsste wirklich nicht, wie ich in diesem Falle handeln würde). Darin liegt die Verführung des Romans, damit spielt der Autor mit der Verführbarkeit des innerlich aufgewühlten Lesers! Grisham spricht die Emotionen an (ist im Grunde m.E. für ein Buch legitim), reflektiert wird nach vollendeten Tatsachen.
Man kann Grisham vielleicht vorwerfen, dass er sehr simplistisch arbeitet, dennoch bin ich mir bewusst (und das rechne ich dem Autor positiv an), dass ein aufgeklärter, rational denkender Abendländer oft emotional berührt werden muss, um zum Handeln und echten Verständnis für die Opfer bewegt zu werden. Z.B. weiß jeder Jugendliche in Deutschland, dass Millionen von Juden unter Hitler umgekommen sind, jedoch berührt sie das Schicksal der Anne Frank mehr als alle statistischen Zählungen. Ich weiß, dass Vergleiche mit dem Dritten Reich nie aangemessen sind, aber ich möchte nur eine Analogie aufzeigen.
Ergo muss jeder Leser das Buch für sich selbst entdecken, dennoch muss man sich bewusst machen, mit welcher Brutalität und Gewalt Gewalt und Brutalität begegnet wird. Der Leser verlässt dabei leicht die Rolle des Beobachters und begibt sich in die des heimlichen billigenden Unterstützers.
Letztendlich muss ich diesem Werk eine Empfehlung aussprechen - mit einem Stern Abzug für die zuweilen fragwürdige unterschwellige Sicht der Gerechtigkeit, die das Buch transportiert.
Hoffe, dass dies hilfreich war.
am 10. Juni 2015
In the small town Clanton in the American state Mississippi the black ten years old girl Tonya Hailey was raped by two drunken white men. When the two are led to a preliminary hearing in the courthouse, Carl Lee Hailey, Tonya's father, shots them. The young and inexperienced lawyer Jack Brigance assumes the defense of the black man, who had to expect the gas chamber. The situation is through assassinations from the Ku Klux Klan and protests of the Black very thrilling. Can Jack and his team manage the miracle?
I think, that John Grisham has written a very good first work, especially because you have to think about the actions of each character and you leave the role of the uninvolved observer. You sympathize with the father, who searched justice for his daughter. But what would happen if everybody takes the law into his own hands? This conflict is very thrilling and is discussed through the whole novel. What would you do, if your own daughter was raped and the culprit smiled at you in the court? Grisham gives an impression of the American justice machinery, in which the death penalty is enforced unhesitatingly. In the first part of “A time to kill” the characters were described very detailed, although the core is the second and final part of the novel. John Grisham described examinations and pleas humorously and sensitively so that you could understand the acting and feeling of each person in the novel.
am 15. Juni 2000
This book is John Grisham's first and by far it is his best book. The book begins with an author's note stating that this is not his best book, but he had decided to publish it anyway.Well Grisham is wrong this is by far the best book he has written. I started reading late one night and didn't put it down till I finished it late the next afternoon. I have read a lot of books but this is by far the one that I have read the fastest. It was just impossible to put down.
If you enjoy legal thrillers you will certainly enjoy this story about the trial of a black man who is accused of killing the two white men who raped his little girl. You will feel outrage, sorrow,triumph and joy all in 500 pages of pure emotion and nail bitting suspense.
I can say, having read both his great novels(The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client and The Runaway Jury) and every page of garbage that John Grisham has written (The Chamber, The Testament, and The Street Lawyer) that his first novel was by far his best. He should have simply quit while he was ahead or start writting books which he considers not to be his best, like A Time to Kill which is by far his most enjoyable read even if he didn't think so.
am 3. Oktober 1999
This book had a stereo typical setting, which fits in well with the characters. It had abselutly no depth at all. The only reqason I gave it the benefit of three stars was that there was slightly interesting momentary suspense, but aside from that the book is not worth reading unless you have abselutly no clue how the judicial system works and you want an easy way to find out or you are a strange Grisham fanatic.
am 4. Juni 1997
In the hands of a greater author, or perhaps if Grisham had paid as much attention to some aspects of the book as to others, this could have been a truly powerful piece of work. The subject itself is fascinating: a black man takes the lives of his little daughter's rapists in the heart of the Deep South, where justice is still tainted by color. After reading the book, however, I couldn't help but feel that Grisham missed the mark somewhere.
I was amused when I saw that this book was required reading for an introductory Afro-American history class at my college. First of all, this book is not about a black father avenging his daughter. The book is about a white lawyer who braves the dangers and hatred of his peers to defend that father. In essence, the book ends up being a far weaker, more contemporary version of To Kill a Mockingbird. Anyone who expects otherwise will be disappointed. The black characters in the novel are secondary and painted in very broad strokes: Carl Lee Hailey at times appears to be a slow-witted oaf, his wife Gwen is a subservient black woman, and the black preachers are all stereotyped. Tonya Hailey is perhaps the strongest black character, and well-so. The opening scene of her rape is vivid and heart-rending, and Grisham portrays her later suffering throughout the book in a manner that is poignantly real.
Still, the white characters end up being decidedly stronger than the black. Jake Brigance, the lawyer, is the noble white knight who risks all to save the black man from the Klan, rednecks, and the closet racists of Clanton, Mississippi. His wife is quiet, proud, and believable in her concern for her husband. Ellen Roark, the law student who aids Brigance in his defense of Hailey, is brilliant and vibrant. After the initial rape and murder of the two rednecks, the focus shifts mainly on the whites and the blacks are reduced to cameo roles.
My biggest gripe about the book is the glib manner in which Grisham handles his subject. At times the novel seems to be almost frivolous in content. Harry Rex Vonner, Lucien Wilbanks, Rufus Buckley, and even Judge Noose are all cartoonish and rarely exhibit human depth. The word 'nigger' is used constantly and, at times, unnecessarily, particularly among the more liberal white characters in the novel. There is almost too much humor for a subject of this importance, especially in some of the dialogue. Comic relief is understandably needed in a novel this intense, but Grisham overdoes it.
Don't get me wrong, this is not a bad book at all. Grisham's breezy writing style makes for a comfortable read, and it is admittedly a page-turner. When he takes his subject matter seriously, he shines. The reader can feel Tonya's pain and sympathize with Carl Lee's justifiable wrath. The trials that Jake Brigance undergoes to defend Carl Lee are vivid and well-told, and his closing argument is perhaps the high point of the entire story. The diverging sentiments of the residents of Clanton both for and against Carl Lee are also well-described. Still, these moments are too few and far between. This is one instance when I can definitely say I thought the movie was more powerful than the book. The black characters and white characters are presented more on an even level and it makes a stronger statement about race and justice in this country. The book, while showing a lot of promise, ends up falling short of what it could have been. Like many other contemporary novels it fails to achieve any real depth, and the characters fail to linger with you after you've put it down. Still, if you are looking for an entertaining read, don't hesitate to pick up this book. Just don't expect it to make you think overlong about real race issues facing this country.
am 2. März 1999
Good book. Plausible storyline and characters you really get involved with (I particularly liked Judge Noose, although Ellen's main function seems to be to provide the glamour), and if the pace seems to flag a bit at times, then see in the author's reportage style the languorous effect of Southern dog days. Through the main theme of the book - the revenge killing of two white rapists by a black father - Mr Grisham skilfully weaves other strands of his tale (and with a nice degree of dry humour): domestic tensions, local politics, legal in-fighting, corruption, jury-rigging and so on. My main moan is that I'd like to have seen less boozing in the latter stages of the book and a lot more made of the trial (that should have been the big build-up, but it came and went rather quickly), although it has to be said that the verdict scene - whether you agree with it or not - is genuinely moving. Also, there are three questions I want to know the answer to at the end of the book:
1. What happened when Jake told Carla about their house!? (I don't imagine she'd be too pleased, but I guess she would stand by her man.) 2. Did Ellen recover, as hinted at? (p.459) 3. Did Barry Acker escape the retribution of the Klan?
I think we should be told!
Like him or loathe him, Mr Grisham always succeeds in getting his readers thinking about various moral issues in his books, and in this respect alone he's streets ahead of the competition.
am 7. Februar 1998
As with many Grisham fans, I had never heard of A Time to Kill until I read the Firm. The Firm, of course, captivated me and the pages almost flew from the book because I was turning them so fast. I then read A Time to Kill. It, also, enthralled me, but in a very different way. I could tell that this book meant so much more to him than The Firm. And, after reading the rest of his books, a Time to Kill is by far the one he obviously cared about the most. It was almost biographical. In my opinion, his books have become more schlocky the more he writes. I wish he could write another book as good and compelling as A Time to Kill. His knowledge of law is obvious but in this book, his knowledge of feelings and attitudes, especially of the Deep South are right on. Even though the race relations of that area have improved over the years, there is still the nervous tension underlying, waiting to raise up at any time. Grisham has created a masterpiece with this book. Anyone who says that his other books are better has not actually read this one. Granted, many people cannot get past the first chapter of the book because of the violence, but it was necessary because in just three or four short pages, we come to hate these two rednecks and can put ourselves in the place of Carl Lee. We believe that these men, if they can be called that, deserve the punishment received of them. Read A Time to Kill. You will not be disappointed.
am 10. März 2000
This book is not bad. I was expecting more though from Grisham, but it isn't bad. I was expecting more thrills and suspense, while it did have its share, it failed to keep me on the edge of my seat at times.
Carl Lee Hailey, a black man from Mississippi, is on trial for killing two whites and wounding another. But is it justifiable for him to kill these men? They raped his daughter, beat her, and practically screwed up her entire life. Should Carl Lee have waited for the court to decide their fate, or was he right to be the executioner? You ask yourself these questions sometimes while reading this book.
I myself changed opinions a lot on Carl Lee. I thought that this might be justifiable, yet he also was guilty of killing two guilty men, and wounding an innocent man. Is Carl Lee innocent? That is up to the reader.
The Ku Klux Klan is big in this book. Most of the suspense comes from the actions of the Klan. You really hate the Klan after they do the things they do in this book, and it shows how bad the Klan and racism actually is.
I liked this book, and a lot of people will. At times this book is very slow moving though. Young people will have a hard time following the book, for it is real in-depth legal suspense. However, if you are a teen or adult and are looking for a suspensful book, this is great for you!