The Activist by John Grisham
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Theo faces his most challenging role as an activist. When his friend Hardie Quinn ask Theo to help his family fight "The Bypass" that threatens his family's home, Theo doesn't think there is much he can do to help due to Eminent Domain laws. But at the family supper table Mrs Boone (divorce lawyer) reveals she is against "The Bypass" she doesn't think it is needed, she thinks it will cause environmental damage, and she thinks the money spent on the bypass could be better spent on providing jobs for the people (school teachers, janitors, police officers, firemen) they just laid off due to lack of funds. Mr. Boone (real estate lawyer) comes out in favor of "The Bypass", and has a client Joe Ford who will benefit if "The Bypass" is approved by the County Commission. When Theo has a chance to talk to his Uncle Ike he learns that Ike too is opposed to "The Bypass" and that his friends will lose their home if it is approved.
Theo isn't really sure about fighting "The Bypass" until he and his friends are fishing on the Quinn's land when they see some men trespassing on the property. When Hardie Quinn confronts them they say they can be there as they are surveying the land for the County even though they do not have the property owners permission. Theo knows this is wrong and takes his cell phone out to call the police when the men attack him. Judge (Theo's dog) attempts to defend his Master from the brutal attack and is severely beaten with a surveyors stick before Theo is able to throw himself on top of the dog. The man who is beating Judge even hits Theo a few times before Theo is able to pick Judge up and run for help. Judge is rushed to the vet where he lingers in critical condition for several days with Theo by his side. Theo is determined to stop the thugs who injured his dog.
Theo becomes active with the environmental group who is fighting the bypass and he and his friends make a video that goes viral, they also recruit the parents and children who attend the elementary school which will be close to "The Bypass" and the parents and soccer players who will lose two of their new fields to "The Bypass" to fight it.
Joe Ford fires Mr. Boone due to Theo's activism. Mr. Boone packs the Ford files up to put in storage and Theo accidentally sees some information that shows that one of the Commissioners has a conflict of interest. Theo briefly toys with sending the Commissioner an anonymous letter threatening to reveal that his daughter stands to benefit from "The Bypass" being built, but decides not to as he saw it in the "law office" and realizes it's not ethical to reveal a clients private information even for the greater good.
When the Commissioners meet a huge crowd opposed to "The Bypass" shows up. The Commissioners vote is tied when the final Commissioner who was a vocal supporter of "The Bypass" chooses to abstain and "The Bypass" is defeated.
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