A Painted House Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of A Painted House

Seven year old Luke Chandler lives with his parents and grandparents on a cotton farm in Arkansas in the 1950's. They are struggling to pay off debts on the farm, yet must find workers to pick the large cotton crop. If they don't pay the going rate, the hill people and Mexicans looking for work will go to a farm that certainly will. Pappy, Luke's grandfather is a tough but fair man, and he manages to find a family from the hills, who will camp in the front yard, and a group of Mexicans, who will live in the freshly cleaned hay loft during the picking season. Luke is expected to pick cotton every day as well. They work hard, and on Saturday afternoons they go to town to bring the cotton to the gin and to buy supplies.
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Luke looks forward to Saturdays, but even before the first dreadful thing he witnesses the first Saturday, he is aware that several of the new workers are not only tough, but very mean.
One of the workers kills a local man in a brawl, and threatens Luke not to tell what he has seen. Luke has never kept a secret or told a lie in his life. Now he is torn and also very scared. Because he is so little, he can sometimes hide amongst the cotton, and he also discovers a love affair between a young girl and one of the most dangerous of the Mexican workers.
This scares him, too, because he has a secret crush on the girl, and doesn't want her to get hurt. Then he witnesses another murder. The first murderer is killed by the mean Mexican!
The review of this Book prepared by Tena van't Foort

A Painted House is the story of a young boy living in Arkansas in 1952. The harvest comes and it's time to pick cotton. The Mexicans and the Hill People come to pick for money. One of the Hill People's name is Hank. He gets in a fight one Saturday behind a store. He kills one of the kids, but it was a three-on-one. Hank then goes to a carnival and decides to take a bet. A guy named Samson, the best wrestler all the way from Egypt, comes and says, "If you can stay in the ring with me for 60 seconds, I will give you ten times your bet." He throws a whole bunch of people out of the ring, until Hank comes. Hank bets him $25. He ends up hurting Samson and earning himself $250. He then decided that he didn't need to pick cotton as much, because he didn't need the money. Luke Chandler, the seven year old main character, gets a crush on a hill girl named Tally. He sees her naked bathing in the creek. Then, one day he sees Tally and Cowboy, one of the Mexicans, Hiding in the rows of cotton. He doesn't know what they're doing, but he thinks they're kissing. Then, one night he sees Mr. Spruill, the head hill person, tell Hank that he needs to hitchhike home because he was causing too many problems. Hank starts to leave. Then, Luke sees Cowboy walking outside. He gets suspicious and follows. He then witnesses Cowboy killing Hank with his switchblade and stealing his money. He then threw him into the creek. Then, there are terrible floods. Later, they figure out who was painting their house, Trot, the one-armed Hill person. Cowboy and Tally run up North forever. The floods hurt the cotton crop. There is a total waste of cotton.
The review of this Book prepared by Geoff Pears

The novel is about a seven year old boy growing up in the deep south. He farms cotton. He has adventures. It's a different tone and style than most of John Grisham's other novels.
The review of this Book prepared by ryan mellish

This story was mostly about the family who was very poor and migrant workers in the fields.

Until that September of 1952, Luke Chandler had never kept a secret or told a single lie. But in the long, hot summer of his seventh year, two groups of migrant workers-and very dangerous men-came through the Arkansas Delta to work the Chandler cotton farm. And suddenly, mysteries are flooding Luke's world. A brutal murder leaves the town seething in gossip and suspicion. A beautiful young woman ignites forbidden passions. A fatherless baby is born. And someone has begun furtively painting the bare clapboards of the Chandler farmhose. And as young Luke watches the world around him, he unravels secrets that could shatter lives-and change his family and his town forever.

This is one of Grisham's best!
The review of this Book prepared by Boppy

A Painted House

Grisham's latest novel is told through the eyes of a seven year old, but often with the perspective of an adult as if told in retrospect. The tale is a picaresque novel with similarities to Huck Finn, a “spiritual autobiographical” story set in post WW II rural Arkansas. Primarily it is the coming of age story of a young boy; it is also so much more—it is the coming of age of an extended family—and by implication of an entire way of life for many.
Some passages read like Faulkner, others remind one of Hemingway. I've enjoyed all of Grisham's earlier work, and was not disappointed in this. Having said that, the reader expecting traditional Grisham will be in for quite a surprise. I expect this latest novel will attract a new breed of readers.
I'll look forward to more in this vein from Grisham. This one has all the characteristics of true and lasting literature.

The review of this Book prepared by Tom Mueller

I've only read one other Grisham book before, "The Client" and was pleasently surprised that this was not another "lawyer" book. It was a great story and easy read. I fell in love with Luke he was such a great kid. He had so many secrets to keep and I couldn't help routing for him. Great book.
The review of this Book prepared by Darcey

John Grisham's _A Painted House" describes, in his own words, the life of 7 year old Luke Chandler, an Arkansas farm boy growing up in the midst of the cotton fields. Luke is full of curiosity and mischief, as he witnesses life around him, causing him to make very adult decisions about keeping secrets. You will fall in love with the characters. This book will make you laugh and make you cry.
The review of this Book prepared by Beth Hemingway

Chapter Analysis of A Painted House

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   depressed Time/era of story    -   1930's-1950's Kids growing up/acting up?    -   Yes Kids:    -   struggling to earn a living to survive Poverty, surviving    -   Yes Kind of living:    -   farm poverty

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   farmer Age:    -   a kid Ethnicity/Nationality    -   White (American)


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   5 () United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Deep South Farm/Ranch?    -   Yes Farm/Ranch:    -   farm    -   lot of descript of crop raising

Writing Style

Amount of dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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John Grisham Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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