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Bar News - August 17, 2016

Book Review: Steer Clear of This Unfunny Legal Novel


The Curve
By Jeremy Blachman and Cameron Stracher
Ankerwycke (2016)
Hardcover, 235 pages

After a couple of really dense, complex books on very weighty subjects, I have to admit that I was looking forward to a little “candy” – a novel that was advertised as hilarious. Whew, at last, a chance for some fun. Alas, it was not to be.

This book is mean. It’s not satirical, it’s not a parody, it’s certainly not ironic, it most definitely is not hilarious; it’s just plain mean. A good novel brings something to the table for you to think about. A really good novel tells a good story and still gives you something to think about. This one is just mean.

The novel is about a fictional law school in New York and the people that teach and attend it. The characteristic that the school, its teachers and students all share is corruption. There is a flimsy structure of a few good folks fighting the corruption, but the structure really exists as something on which the authors can hang a never-ending, always negative, rarely funny, and never hilarious series of descriptions of a bad school, in a bad neighborhood, staffed by bad teachers, teaching bad students.

Blachman’s claim to fame is the blog-turned-book, Anonymous Lawyer. According to Wikipedia, he started the blog in his second year of Harvard Law and wrote the book that was published in 2006. Not surprisingly, a Kirkus review of the book calls it boring and one note.

Stracher, also a Harvard Law grad, is the author of a book titled, Double Billing: A Young Lawyer’s Tale of Greed, Sex, Lies, and a Swivel Chair. Just from the title you get a sense that he is not thrilled with Big Law.

If you want to read and think about the current state of our law schools and profession, there is a wealth of fiction and non-fiction to be had. I do not recommend this book as a part of that reading.

Eric Cook

Eric Cook is an attorney who lives in Portsmouth and has practiced in New Hampshire since 1998.

Supreme Court Rule 42(9) requires all NH admitted attorneys to notify the Bar Association of any address change, home or office.

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