Mark, Todd and Zola are devastated by the suicide of their friend Gordy just before they are to begin their last semester of law school. They have also discovered that their law school is nothing more than a diploma mill with only a 50/50 chance of passing the bar. Were they to acquire a job in a law firm, it is unlikely their sizable loans will be paid off before they are old and gray. They hatch a scheme to practice law without licenses and the plot continues from there. The upside is seeing their shenanigans as they attempt to stay one step ahead of the police and FBI while also taking revenge on the man who controls their law school, loan companies and any firm that might have hired them if they had graduated and passed the law. The system stinks and they are out to use it to their advantage. The downside is the many laws being broken on the side of our protagonists and the seams underside of the corporations at the top. There is also a discouraging glimpse into the deportation process via Zola's family. Classic Grisham!
I always hesitate to bash a book as I know they take hard work to write and are very personal to the writer. But, this is not a good book. While the reader is supposed to draw a clear line between the "good guys" and the "bad guys", the good guys are such awful, miserable people in most regards, that you find yourself ambivalent about the characters from both sides.
For profit schools are execrable and have received a rich castigation in the media that is well-deserved. And yes, in many cases, lawyers aren't great human beings possessed of sterling moral character, nor are big time banks and private investors plumbing every conceivable loophole. But the bad guys here are drawn with such a broad and one-dimensional stroke that I felt a bit insulted as a reader.
So little of what the main characters say or do is plausible, or even possible, that I found myself throwing the book down in disgust on several occasions. I did not want these characters to get away with their crimes and to profit from them in the end. Do yourself a favor and pick up another of Grisham's books. He has numerous good titles out there. This isn't one of them.
This book was such a disappointment. A trend that Mr. Grisham seems to be following is to make all of his characters morally and ethically challenged. Not one of them is likeable. Not to mention the ending was so totally unrealistic. I miss the old days where there was actually character development like in A Time to Kill. His novels lately are just a running narration. This happened and that happened and this happened. Even James Patterson creates characters that are fleshed out and express some sort of emotion. I wish I hadn't wasted the time and energy it took to read this book. At least I got to read it for free by checking it out from my local library! By the way, I don't normally right reviews, but this book was so bad I wanted to hopefully save others, especially Grisham fans, from wasting their time and aggravation.
Not his best work... many situations are simply not plausible given today's technology... Any fool with a smart phone can Google the local bar association to confirm his/her lawyer is legit. Also, no way most law students, even those in DC, know where to get false documents. In addition, it is highly unlikely that a $1000 fake passport would pass even the most basic customs inspection at an international airport.
I almost didn't check this book out because most of the critiques were not positive. But I find Grisham's books to be so well written that I always enjoy them, hits or not. This one gave insights into the "law school mills" that probably exist everywhere. The burden of debt that a college graduate comes out of school with is terrible and in this instance, did not prepare the student for taking the bar exam. So no job, or a low-paying one, leaves the graduate buried. For that, I think Grisham is well qualified to write this book and keep us apprised of how many schools operate. Personally, I like this book.
Too frothy and effervescent for me; Grisham has produced volumes of excellence, but this one is far from that. If you check it out from the library, at least you haven't wasted your "beautiful, beautiful" wonderful tax "cut" moneys buying it. Unbelievable, no characters of merit, an story line not plausible, and no real lessons to be learned. I've read Sycamore Row and it's no Sycamore Row.
Did not enjoy this book at all. The storyline was weak, disjointed and confused. It really didn’t come together at all and for the first time, I was very tempted to abandon this book.
I used to enjoy John Grisham’s work, but the last few published have become very mediocre.
I am not a hater of new Grisham novels (really enjoyed Gray Mountain and Camino Island), but this story was all over the place, trying to force unlikeable characters into current events. You have everything from student loan debt, to Wells Fargo ethical practices, mental health issues and dreamers facing deportation. Not sure if Grisham actually wrote this one, but its not worth your time reading it. Seriously all the characters were underdeveloped and awful.
I read every book by John Grisham. “The Rooster Bar” is by far the worst. While I was reading, I kept on thinking, something more intriguing, more interesting must come up soon, but at the end, there was nothing, nil, zilch, zero, nada! I can only speculate that this book was written purely for income purpose. It was total wast of my time. I always thought John Grisham is a “best seller” writer who truly actually cares about what he writes, who actually does his research and strives to write something that is educational and entertaining. I guess he ran out of inspirations, the only thing left is greed! He is now too rich to research, too rich to care! Goodbye John Grisham! I have permanently removed you from my list!
Seemed liked the characters were a bit too lucky. Ending was not realistic.
"The Rooster Bar" is not up to the quality that I expect from Grisham. You hope and know these main characters are going to find a way out of the whirling ebb that is slowly pulling them down, but Grisham doesn't get there for a long long time. And, sadly, the eventual solution is a fairy tale. A reader will learn some things about the possible evils of for-profit schools, too many lawyers, and a student loan industry that is crippling a generation.
Not exactly a book that I couldn't wait to get back to. The plot was ok but JG seems to insist on including his political viewpoints rather than just telling the story. He did this in his book about coal mining a couple of yrs ago also. He used to be so good!
Really a disappointment. I have read all of Grisham's books. This and Camino Island had to have written by some other than the alleged author.
Entertaining book that I enjoyed reading. It was not his usual type story but I still licked it.
Grisham pointing out evils in the system! He could have written it about Trump U!! He will remain one of my go to authors, even if this one is not as exciting as some of his earlier works. He remains one of the best in fiction as far as I am concerned.
I really enjoyed this book - it kept me wondering how things would turn out right until the very end. Sad thing to think about, all those people with crippling student loans, not just in the law profession but everywhere - and no jobs available.
I am surprised by all the negative comments, I really enjoyed the book. It may not be his best work but it is a well written book exploring an interesting subject (for profit colleges) . I also liked his exploration of illegal immigrants and their lives in America.
Fast footwork is required for the conned to get justice and keep a few steps ahead of the conners. John Grisham has told a familiar tale of a group of law students about to graduate with large student debt and poor job prospects who stumble on a vast scam involving a mediocre learning institution, student loan schemes, banks and the legal system with illegal immigration and mental health issues on the side.Topical and not "Only in America. " Very well done and I hope there are prospects for the small screen.
I am so glad I'm not the only one who was extremely disappointed in this book. I made myself finish the book hoping Grisham would redeem himself by the end of the book, but no such luck. When I read the author's notes at the end of the book I found out why. He said his idea for the story came from an article he read regarding student loans.....and that was as far as he went for research. I compared this book to reading a Danielle Steel novel - all fluff and no substance. Everyone has an off book, I hope this was his "one" and only.
I tried to give this book a chance... It started of okay, but then took a turn for the worse when it seemed as if Gordy's mental illness was consuming the plot of the story.... Due to this, I felt as if the author got way off track with what he wanted this story to actually be about. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to finish it.
I regret that I am dropping Grisham from my "must read" list of authors after reading THE ROOSTER BAR. I earlier commented on CAMINO ISLAND noting that I had liked his books when they first came out and then drifted away from them. These two book taken together as a test drive have driven me off again. Both deal with unique and interesting contemporary issues and have what could be generally interesting story lines. But character development is weak and the interactions of the characters are often hard to swallow. Plus there are so many improbable leaps in the story telling. Sorry, but I am done with him.
I'm a huge John Grisham fan but I'm ambivalent about "The Rooster Bar." It started out well with the poignant story of Gordy and his mental illness. From there it took a turn which although I was sympathetic with, I could not condone since Gordy's friends were doing something illegal. Yet, the way Grisham has portrayed Mark, Todd, and Zola one cannot but help rooting them on and wait with bated breath to see if they can out-scam the scammers. Not one of Grisham's best but an interesting read.