The Rooster Bar by John Grisham
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I've always loved John Grisham, but this book underwhelmed me. It was just okay.
A group of law school friends, Mark, Todd, and Zola, experience a personal tragedy which changes their lives forever. They, and a fourth friend, had racked up massive debt attending a third-rate law school. With one semester to go, no viable job prospects, and no way to repay the loans, they make other plans, plans that involve a great deal of risk.
Their friend, the one who is involved in the tragedy, finds out that the law school is one of several schools that is linked to a hedge-fund operator who also owns a chain of banks that specialize in school loans. They detect some fraud that could be remedied with a class action law suit, but it will be difficult to prove. They had been tricked by the law school and were chasing false promises rather than dreams. Not only that, but they all have debt collectors waiting to come after them.
Woven into the fabric of this story is also immigration and deportation issues and mental health problems. I don't usually enjoy when an author weaves in social problems. I feel like they are using their book as a platform for their ideation, whether or not I agree with it. I just want to be entertained.
In my opinion, Mark, Todd, and Zola are not likable characters. They engage in risky, illegal, activities for which they have no consequences. The only one who has any saving grace is Zola who actually has a reason for her actions. Mark and Todd remind me more of spoiled brats who make poor decisions and feel they are above the law.
The book was somewhat entertaining, but I prefer to have a connection with the characters.
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