2001 1st edition "February 2001 First Edition" stated; Doubleday publishers, New York; hardbound in light chocolate boards with metalic lettering on spine; very good condition with unmarked pages; dust jacket quite good with one very minor tear on back bottom.
A Painted House is a 2001 novel by American author John Grisham. It was made into a television film in 2003, starring Scott Glenn and Logan Lerman.
Inspired by his childhood in Arkansas, it is Grisham's first major work outside the legal thriller genre in which he established himself. Set in the late summer and early fall of 1952, its story is told through the eyes of seven-year-old Luke Chandler, the youngest in a family of cotton farmers struggling to harvest their crop and earn enough to settle their debts. The novel portrays the experiences that bring him from a world of innocence into one of harsh reality.
The story begins to unfold as Luke and his grandfather Eli, also known as Pappy, search for migrant workers to help them with the cotton picking. They initially consider themselves lucky to hire the Spruills, a family of "hill people," and a few Mexican migrant workers who annually come to the area looking for work.
Aside from working long hours under the hot sun in the fields, Luke's life is fairly idyllic. He is much obsessed with the beautiful 17-year old Tally Spruill, who on one occasion lets him see her naked, bathing in a creek. But a much more unpleasant experience is seeing Tally's brother, the overly aggressive and mentally unstable Hank Spruill, attack three boys from the notorious Sisco family - one of whom is beaten so severely that he dies from his wounds. Hank arrogantly identifies Luke as a friendly witness who can support his version of the event, and the fearful boy backs up his story, although the adults in his life, including local sheriff Stick Powers, suspect he's too frightened to admit the truth.
When Luke sees Cowboy, one of the Mexicans, later murder Hank and toss his body into the river, Cowboy threatens to kill Luke's mother if Luke tells anyone what he saw. Cowboy and Tally, the teenage daughter of the Spruills, then run off together and are not seen again. Luke also learns that his admired Uncle Ricky, fighting in the Korean War, might have fathered a child with a daughter of the Latchers, their poverty-stricken sharecroppingneighbors.
Grisham surrounds these dramatic moments with descriptive passages of life in the rural South and the ordinary events that fill Luke's weekly routine. His hard work in the fields is preceded by a hearty breakfast of eggs, ham, biscuits, and the one cup of coffee his mother allows him, and at day's end he's rewarded with an evening on the front porch, where the family gathers around the radio to listen to Harry Caray announce the St. Louis Cardinalsbaseball games. A devoted fan, Luke is saving his hard-earned money to buy a team warm-up jacket he saw advertised in the Sears, Roebuck catalog. Saturday afternoons are spent in town, where the adults share idle gossip and serious concerns and the youngsters visit the movie house, while Sunday morning is reserved for church. A visiting carnival, the annual town picnic, and Luke's introduction to television – to see a live broadcast of a World Series game – are additional bits of local color scattered throughout the tale.
A flood devastates the family's cotton crop before the harvest is completed, and Luke's parents decide to travel to the city to find work in a Buick plant, breaking a history of generations working on the land. The novel ends with Luke's mother smiling on the bus, having finally got her wish to leave cotton farming...