Reviewed: The Confession by John Grisham

An innocent man is about to be executed. Only a guilty man can save him.

But this never happens! The innocent guy gets mercilessly executed while the criminal is still on the loose, hiding away. It is only when he realizes that he’s got terminal brain tumor and will die soon anyway, that he thinks of THE CONFESSION, a change of his heart a little too late!! Painfully with tear-brimming eyes, I braced and watched(I could feel it) Donte getting executed, for nothing, spending every aching moment that someone, anyone will stop it from happening. Alas!

A Time to Kill was the first Grisham novel I’d read and quite honestly, I loved it beyond measure.

Needless to say, I plunged into The Confession with similar high hopes but was terribly disappointment.

Travis Boyette is a racial criminal. In 1998, in the small East Texas city of Sloan, he abducted, raped, and strangled a popular high school cheerleader. He buried her body so that it would never be found, then watched in amazement as police and prosecutors arrested and convicted Donté Drumm, a local football star, and marched him off to death row.

Now nine years have passed. Travis has just been paroled in Kansas for a different crime; Donté is four days away from his execution. Travis suffers from an inoperable brain tumor. For the first time in his miserable life, he decides to do what’s right and confess.

But that is exactly what didn’t happen. I prayed with tight shut eyes, with all the courage to see Donte saved. But it never happened. He was so cruelly executed, it would’ve melted Hitler’s heart. I couldn’t stop my tears from taking a continuous flow. I waited for that one miracle which never happened.
And post Donte’s execution I never had the heart to continue reading the book. So I abandoned it. Only to pick it up a year later to finish it.

All through the plot, it was as though Grisham was struggling to link pieces together. The story was heading from one-no-meaning-point to another, leaving me as irritated as ever. Grisham seemed to be impressed with Boyette’s character and too caught up with his brain tumor which made it seem as though he almost begged sympathy for Boyette from his readers which was just appalling. I couldn’t really appreciate Grisham’s efforts to make his lawyer seem to be trying to turn ever stone and pebble to save his innocent client. All efforts futile. The book was a real drag or maybe I was just too absorbed with Donte’s execution that I saw no point in the latter part of the story.

I mean, okay, we know that is what happens in real-life crime cases. Almost always, innocent people are dragged and made to pay for someone else’s crime. The criminal is always one who has such high-level influences that it is almost impossible to get him. And then of course there are legal hurdles and the doings of top-level officers and politicians and society-rankers. But, wasn’t there supposed to be some turn, some hopeful twist to keep the reader glued to the tale?

As for the plot, I felt it was quite average and downright predictable which lacked the taste of Grisham crime thrillers. I am confused whether the book was okay or below that since there were a lot of areas that made me hate it totally. For example the poorly portrayed characters, a lot of degrading racial politics, the futile efforts to bring justice in the post-execution part etc. Now, reading the synopsis gave me an idea that it was perhaps, a fast-paced book but it was not. It actually just dragged and the story could’ve have been well covered in mere 200 some pages.

I can keep going on and on like this forever if you asked me to. But let me stop it as I cannot really put it in words how much I hated this book. At the end of it, I felt Grisham was really just stretching himself too far to bring out another best-seller and with the quality (which is highly differing that his actual self) and some honest reviews(those who’ve rated it 5 stars I guess have been just too modest), it is evident he clearly failed.

Surprising, it was to see many readers have rated it 5 stars. Makes me think, did I miss a catch in the story? I don’t think so!

Considering the book has received mixed responses, some have thoroughly liked it and some; like me, absolutely detest it. So whether you’d like it or otherwise, is an ambiguous matter purely based on your taste. About recommending, I would’ve blindly recommended A Time to Kill, but The Confession, I am not even half sure if I want to.

-Asha

If you happen to read it or have already read it, do share your thoughts below.

The Unread Book©

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