John Grisham has the penchant for creating characters that repeatedly appear in his novels. This is my third one and it is painfully obvious that Sycamore Row was the better version of The Testament. Lucien Wilbanks for example was a personality DNAed from Nate O’Riley. Although the significance of the role are slightly wedged since Nate took more space in The Testament than Lucien Wilbanks in Sycamore Row, the entire book (The Testament), needless to say was the parent of SR.
A will contest , old man committed suicide, left hefty amount of gold mine, children were all disinherited. Money goes unexpectedly to some unknown heiress. Lettie Lang a housemaid, Rachel Lane an illigitimate daughter. The patterns are the same with slight modifications.
There are loopholes I would have loved relishing on but weren’t given too much attention by JG. For example, I wanted to read on the love letters Nate sent from DC to Rachel down in Pantanal, or I wanted to pry on Rachel’s reaction to those near confession of Nate proclaimed in the letters. It’s something that a reader deserves to get after all the drudgeries in the jungle. Also there’s the part where Snead wasn’t sufficiently deposed by Nate when he was at the seat of honor. Then the ultimate fate of Troy Phelan’s cunning and philandering children. I was expecting a cruel verdict like stripping them entirely from Troy’s estate. By default, they shouldn’t even get anything since they contested the holographic will. But John decided to give each of them $50,000,000.00. I’m guessing it’s because the novel was intertwined with the concept of faith and therefore he has to portray a somewhat merciful fate for the children despite them being painfully undeserving of such amount of money. The book concluded quite unexpectedly and devastatingly. Just when you were about ready for a romantic reunion between the recovering alcoholic lawyer and modest, humble and fit missionary, you’ll gape at the realization that the author mercilessly killed her. I stared at my wall in disbelief. I was caught offguard. It was a toxic twist.
Now let’s give a way to the heroes of the novel. It’s quite natural for any reader to put himself at the shoes of the protagonist or at any character they strongly identify with.
There’s this part where Rachel Lane tried to low key evangelize Nate O’Riley and I identify so much with Nate’s struggle: “Nate had been preached at before. He had surrendered to Higher Powers so many times he could almost deliver the sermons.” I’d hate to be preached at by my friends. I can probably help them out in quoting bible passages and it would be tremendous mistake to reevangelize me. Also, though I don’t necessarily identify with Rachel’s personality in the book, I loved the description that portrayed her as follows: “She was lean and tough. She walked several miles a day and ate little. The Indians admired her stamina.” That’s a goal I have yet to accomplish before I turn thirty.
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