Book Review: The Broker by John Grisham

The Broker

Author: John Grisham

Released: January 11, 2005

I am not particularly a John Grisham fan. In fact, out of all his books, I have read only his “The Client” and “The Broker”.

One thing that’s very familiar with John Grisham’s books is that all of them almost have the same first word in the title – “The”. Example: The Summons, The Rainmaker, The Street Lawyer, The Brethren, The Firm, etc.

I don’t know if it is one of his creative writing styles but I find it really redundant. Anyway, as far as I know John Grisham is a lawyer.

Now, so much for that short intro about the author. Let’s get down to the main scoop of this post – a review of his work entitled – The Broker.

First Impressions

I never really intended to read this book. But, out of boredom, I simply managed to sneak through my aspiring-lawyer-brother’s room and searched for a good read. My brother has lots of books, and I could tell that he reads those. But this one, a soft-bound, green-colored book stole my attention. He didn’t read it! Well, I haven’t really noticed it enough and I thought that he had read it, but the cover seems to be so “new”. I got intrigued and I simply grabbed it and walked out of his room, now holding a “The Broker” book.


Note: Seriously, I hate laying out any plot. This is one part of a book review that I really dislike. I hate naming characters, sequencing what happens next, etc. etc. . . .

So, to make the story short, I will be very brief about the plot. Besides, what’s the use of revealing everything out? I’d be killing the suspense. Go read the book and find out the whole story.

Truth be told, at first read – I never could understand the plot. The story starts in the oval office of a US President who is about to leave his position as a new one was recently elected. Then this President, along with his adviser and a CIA officer, decided to pardon Joel Backman. Joel is the principal character.

So how did the story go?

In a nutshell, the whole plot goes like this – – – (And this will be very, very, very brief..)

Joel Backman was pardoned by the president after being imprisoned for being involved in an issue which compromises the country’s security. Joel Backman tried to sell an espionage software which is so much powerful and dangerous.

After being pardoned, he was deported to Italy where he struggled to adapt with the culture and learn the language. What Joel didn’t know was that the CIA chief influenced the President to pardon him to see who kills him. In short, the CIA used Joel as a bait to find out who built the powerful espionage software involved.

To cut the long story short, Joel managed to survive and go back to his hometown and – of course, fix everything.

(Yeah, I know the way I presented the plot sucks – but I’m really not into summarizing everything, so please bear with me.) See wikipedia for the plot.

My Review:

Personally, I didn’t like the book so much. The story was quite dragging for me. Almost half of the whole story only talked about how Joel managed to survive living in a foreign country (Italy) as a normal person whereas back home (US), he is someone powerful.

The love story part was not even highlighted that much. Perhaps Atty. Grisham isn’t really into these kind of stuffs.

I read the pages as fast as I could because there was no excitement or whatsoever. Everyday in Joel Backman’s life in Italy seemed to be so monotonous and boring.

However, upon reaching the last few chapters of the book – probably about one-fourth of the whole story – everything twisted. I loved the chase and disguise. Joel struggled to flee from his “handlers” and he was able to come back home in one piece.

Towards the end of the story, I got a little bit of an adrenaline rush – thinking of whether Joel will die or not. Did he die? It’s for you to find out.

Unfortunately, the end of the story didn’t really make me so much happy, but at the same time it also didn’t make me so sad. In short, it was a so-so.

Perhaps a 3.5 out of 5 stars will do.


One thing I’ve noticed; the moral of the story wasn’t really evident. But upon reflecting about what happened to the life of Joel Backman, I’ve realized the subtle clues behind the story – that fame, money, and fortune aren’t worth the price of family and freedom.

I want to hear your thoughts too. Answer my poll and leave some comments.

Oh, by the way, this title landed on the number one spot in the New York Times Bestseller list. At least, it topped the charts.


One comment

  1. Pingback: The BIG Move « Chopstick Lady

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