- All of the descriptions of Theo's mother—well, minus the Mama Bear stuff and the she's-not-a-good-cook-because-she's-a-good-lawyer-and-God-forbid-a-female-be-good-at-more-than-one-thing stuff—mention, in some way, how hard she works at her appearance. Which includes, of course, just eating wheat toast when they go out for waffles. The menfolk, of course, have no such worries.
- "Theo's problem at this moment was his habit of trying to avoid school. Headaches, coughs, food poisoning, pulled muscles, stomach gas—Theo had tried them all and would try them again." (19-20) I'm sorry, but WHAT PERSON UNDER, LIKE, EIGHTY, WOULD GIVE "STOMACH GAS" AS AN EXCUSE FOR ANYTHING, EVEN IF IT WAS TRUE???
- Theo, still trying to convince his parents to let him skip school: "Look, I'm serious. I need to be on the streets." (20) WHO IS THIS KID, BRUCE WILLIS? WHATEVER HAPPENED TO PERRY MASON?? (Oh, and poor Perry got thrown over. Now Theo watches Law & Order. Or was it CSI? I forget. Probably Law & Order, since that's slightly more out of date.)
- Theo is very familiar with the law enforcement and legal professionals of Strattenburg. I know this because:
"Theo knew most of the policemen in Strattenburg, as well as most of the lawyers, judges, janitors and clerks in the courthouse." (7)
"Theo, though, wanted to be at the courthouse, watching trials and hearings, listening to the lawyers and judges, chatting with the policemen and the clerks, even the janitors. Theo knew them all." (20)
"Because he knew every lawyer, judge, court clerk, and practically every policeman in town, Theo's word carried great weight with his friends and classmates, at least in matters like this." (103)
- The boys are supposedly now girl-crazy, but they only "reluctantly" allow them to join into the search for April. (You'll be relieved to hear that they're all "properly helmeted", though!)
- This revoltingly positive "review" at USA Today got something right: Theo comes off really well when he comes up against unreasonable adults. Sadly for Theo (and us), except for that one police officer, the adults in Strattenburg make Fred MacMurray in My Three Sons look like a horrific child abuser. (Well, as long as they're in the upper middle-class tax bracket. Poor people in Strattenburg are, of course, all dirtbags. Unless, as I said in my column, they're charming immigrants.)
- Theo plays golf.
- Theo's one low-income friend (besides April) has a family that is described as "clannish". It's been said that Strattenburg resembles an idyllic '50s small town, but really, it's more like feudal Europe.
- I'm just quoting this for its pure inanity: "Though Ike was in his early sixties, he insisted that Theo call him simply Ike. None of that uncle stuff. Ike was a complicated person." (90) HOW DOES THAT EVEN COMPUTE? A + B = 37%²??
- Oh, adding to the Non Polo Shirt Wearing People = Sketchy Characters worldview, Theo's Complicated Uncle Ike lost his lawyering privileges somewhere along the way. AND HE LIKES THE GRATEFUL DEAD! THE HORROR! (That all came up in the first book, but as it got a second (and third, and fourth) mention from Grisham, I figured I should bring it up again here, too.)
- Lastly, there's Ike the Hippie's take on the homeless. Get ready for your head to explode:
"The point, my dear nephew, is that we may never know who the cops pulled from the river. There's a class of people out there, Theo—bums, drifters, hobos, homeless folk—who live in the underworld. They're nameless, faceless; they move from town to town, hopping trains, hitchhiking, living in the woods and under the bridges. They've dropped out of society, and from time to time bad things happen to them. It's a rough and dangerous world they inhabit, and we rarely see them, because they do not wish to be seen. My guess is that the corpse the cops are inspecting will never be identified. But that's not really the point. The good news is that it's not your friend." (98)
1. No, we don't know if the body was ever identified. Because, you know. People like that don't count.
2. PEOPLE DON'T GENERALLY DECIDE TO BECOME HOMELESS. IT'S NOT, LIKE, A LIFE CHOICE. Take this condescending, patronizing and HORRIBLY OFFENSIVE passage and go jump in a lake, John Grisham. JESUS.
3. It enraged me to such an extent that I daydreamed about Uncle Ike delivering that monologue and then getting tossed into the ring against Andrew Vachss' Burke. Which helped soothe my ire somewhat. But only somewhat, clearly.
No, that's not all. But, seriously: Isn't it enough?