Bar News - August 17, 2016
Book Review: Steer Clear of This Unfunny Legal Novel
By: Review by Eric Cook
By Jeremy Blachman and Cameron Stracher
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 is an attorney who lives in Portsmouth and has practiced in New Hampshire since 1998.