Flannery O'Connor damned the novel with pretty faint praise when it came out: "I think for a child's book it does all right." That seems unduly harsh (and unfair to YA literature). What works best for me as an adult reader is the slow accretion of local color, the barbed social comedy, and the graceful prose.
This week the majority of best-selling ebooks belong to Penguin Random House, which scores 13 of the top 25 titles, including the No. 1 spot, Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. The title is likely buoyed up by the forthcoming release of a film adaptation, directed by Angelina Jolie and due out in theaters on Christmas Day.
The final 20 minutes of the courtroom drama A Time to Kill provide crackling theatrics, as idealistic folksy small-town lawyer Sebastian Arcelus goes up against slimily wily district attorney (and governor-nominee) Patrick Page. Unfortunately, those 20 minutes of high drama come after two full hours of lumbering storytelling.