A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Fugitive is the fifth installment in John Grisham's Theodore Boone series. This time, characters debate more mature topics, such as the death penalty and undocumented workers. Although there's very little actual violence, this is a murder mystery, so there's mention of a strangulation, and the prime suspect has escaped and is hiding out. Some very sketchy characters threaten Theo, and the involvement of the FBI and criminals may be too frightening for younger children and some tweens. Theo knows the rules but increasingly ignores them when they get in the way. In particular, he lies to his parents and teachers when following a case. Although he usually confesses in the end, he doesn't always, and he also doesn't always get caught or suffer any consequences for his lying. These situations help Theo's character seem more like a real teen and less two-dimensional than in the earlier books.
What's the story?
On an eighth-grade class trip to Washington, D.C., Theo, now 13, sees Pete Duffy, the defendant in the previous book's murder trial, who had skipped town and is hiding out. Using his detective skills, Theo follows him on the subway, only to lose sight of him. With the help of his Uncle Ike, Theo contacts the FBI, which helps extradite Duffy back to Strattenburg to face trial. As is typical of this lawyer-in-training, Theo manages to attend Duffy's trial as well as communicate with and influence the key witness for the prosecution.
Is it any good?
Like all good detective stories, this one is hard to put down. The suspense will keep all ages engaged. As is typical of the Theodore Boone series, there are a lot of good insights about the law in THE FUGITIVE. And there's always a little humor with Theo's frequent trips to animal court to help out friends with animal disputes.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the death penalty. What are your family's values and religious beliefs around this issue?
How do you think The Fugitive compares with other books in the series? How has Theo's character developed over time?
Do undocumented people from other countries have a right to work in the United States? How does that affect American workers? Why do these foreign workers leave their home countries?
Themes & Topics
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