ByÂ Manan Grover:
SpoilerÂ Alert: For all those who haven’t read the book, what follows has a lot about the story. But rest assured that it’ll only make you want to read it even more. And those who have read it, well, here’s reminding you about an awesome story.Â
Intriguing From The Start:Â With only twenty pages into the book, you are already in for the biggest shock. The eccentric, pompous, self centered, husband to 3 wives and a so called father to six selfish off springs, all of whom are circling like vultures waiting to get a share in the eleven billion dollar property, Troy Phelan having a sound mind, sound health, jumps off the building and commits suicide. On reading about his leap from the building, a chill runs down your spine, as the ruthless flirt Troy Phelan, who out-tricked the best three psychiatrists in the town by showing that he had all testamentary capacity to sign a will, is now lying in a pool of blood. The first five chapters intrigue the reader to the fullest and make a rather deep impact in his mind.
Very Greedy Children: It is amusing, perhaps enjoyable, to read about Troy Phelan’s undeserving, greedy, argumentative children and how they squander their father’s wealth. With all of them imagining a huge share in their father’s will without actually knowing what’s in store for them, all of them start buying expensive cars and villas, suddenly using the previously hated ‘Phelan’ surname.
Sudden Twists And Turns: The dramatic twist in the story enters after Troy’s unexpected death. His lawyer Josh discovers that Troy had signed a handwritten holographic thereby negating all his previously signed wills. This holographic declared Rachel Phelan, his illegitimate, out of wedlock daughter as the sole heir of the eleven billion property. All that is slowly unveiled about Rachel, gives the book an entirely different angle.
Introduction of Nate O’Riley:Â Once a courtroom litigator, Â he is now in a rehabilitation house due to substance abuse. It is interesting to see the mixed emotions Nate goes through whenever he sees liquor around him and to see his self control and how he his repeatedly telling himself that he will not fall into the trap anymore.
Legal Lessons: Grisham’s books always teach the readers new legal terms and procedures, developing the reader’s interest in law. A term like holographic will – document wholly in the handwriting of its author was completely new for me. While it has a legal angle, Grisham’s, The Testament also has some comical instances where the heirs and their lawyers are battling for control of billions of dollars.
Beauty Portrayed Through Words: The beautiful description of the Panatanal lakes, the plane crash, Nate, Jevy and Welly’s journey through Santa Laura, their encounter with the tribes, the hard and rough days suffered by them, has been so extensively described that the reader starts to feel as if he is a part of the milieu in which the characters are living.
Rachel And Nate: Meeting of Rachel and Nate and their instant connection proves to be soothing for the readers. Rachel’s authentic character adds depth to the book. She tries to change Nate’s outlook towards life and God. A very down to earth and simple person, its amazing to read what she decides about the fortune in her name.
A Life Changing Journey: The journey of Nate O’Riley from being a high headed alcoholic lawyer, depressed with failed marriages to Brazil in search of Rachel, parallely searching his own life. His encounters with the Phelan heirs and with Rachel cause him to refocus his own life. He re-focuses his life with a new purpose and meaning. His journey shows how painful the past can be, but also how liberating God’s truth and forgiveness is.
All in all, the book has everything from legal maneuvering, to love and affection between strangers, to the devastation greed can cause. An amalgamation of all emotions, Grisham’s The Testament is worth staying awake with, till 2 a.m.