‘Palaver aside, the black truth, which only we dare speak and which as a result, gives us insuperable power, is that we are all servants of selfish appetites. All. All of us. All.’
PERSONAL INJURY BY SCOTT TUROW
Heads up – This is my kind of book review.
No, it is not a recent book. It was published in 1999 actually. I was quite young then. No, this is not the first Scott Turow I am reading. It is the second. I read THE LAWS OF OUR FATHERS first, and I am still not sure of how I feel about the book. That said, I should probably read it again.
The plot reminded me of one of the issues that came up (as an aside) in one of my classes. Basically, if citizens get rewarded for turning criminals in, shouldn’t there be some sort of reward system for students who turn exam cheats in? The reward would be in form of extra marks. That sounds like a pretty good incentive for snitching or whistle-blowing or ‘kobalising’. So, the story revolves around a lawyer – Robbie Feaver, that turns out to be an unlicensed one, who cuts a deal with the US Attorney which would involve him wearing a wire to bring his accomplices to justice.
The story is told by Robbie’s lawyer. Somehow, you can’t help but fall in love with Robbie. He is a ‘good’ bad guy. He has redeeming qualities, his frankness, his loyalty and commitment to those whom he loves, his kindness. You begin to hate the Prosecutor – Why is it that Prosecutors usually have horrible characters in fiction – when you see how Robbie is falling apart because of the emotional side to wearing a wire. This is more than being a rat. All the cases upon which the trap was built were phony. You would also hate his partner who betrayed him at the first chance he got. The sad part is that the bad guys won – you would have to read the book to find out. Sorry, I don’t do spoilers.
I loved the story. It is a very nice book – except some times the conversations were too long, and you just want to see what happens next. So halfway through the book, I had to go and read the end. I hate doing that, I just couldn’t help it. If I read this Scott Turow first, I might have fallen in love with him.
Whistle-blowing or snitching takes a lot of guts. I remember my secondary school days, it was always easier to say the whole class was making noise, than to pick out the few people who actually made the noise. Its unpopularity may also be due to the fact that it just seems outrageous that somebody who had his hand in the pie would suddenly start point accusing fingers at others who have hands in the pie because he thinks he can get away with it. There are also dangers involved, especially if the bad guys are people who can actually cause grievous harm. We read about these Witness Protection Programs in Crime thrillers – how in spite of plastic surgery and all sort of disguises, some of these witnesses disappear. Or maybe it is just man’s inherent selfish nature a.k.a the – me – first Syndrome.
In conclusion, PERSONAL INJURY is a good book. The characters were well developed. The story telling was smooth. To borrow words from Arizona Republic, ‘There’s no one better than Scott Turow. He doesn’t just churn out bestsellers. He writes them, with intelligence and depth.’