Early life and education
John Grisham, the second oldest of five siblings, was born in Jonesboro, Arkansas, to Wanda Skidmore Grisham and John Grisham. His father worked as a construction worker and a cotton farmer, while his mother was a homemaker. When Grisham was four years old, his family started traveling around the South, until theyfinally settled in Southaven inDeSoto County, Mississippi. As a child, Grisham wanted to be a baseball player. Despite the fact that Grisham's parents lacked formal education, his mother encouraged her son to read and prepare for college.
He went to the Northwest Mississippi Community College in Senatobia, Mississippi and later attended Delta State University in Cleveland. Grishamdrifted so much during his time at the college that he changed colleges three times before completing a degree. He graduated from Mississippi State University in 1977, receiving a BS degree in accounting. He later enrolled in the University of Mississippi School of Law to become a tax lawyer, but his interest shifted to general civil litigation. He graduated in 1983 with a JDdegree.-------------------------------------------------
Marriage and family
Grisham married Renee Jones on May 8, 1981, and the couple have two children together: Shea and Ty. The "family splits their time between their Victorian home on a farm" outside Oxford, Mississippi, "and a home near Charlottesville, Virginia."
In 2008, he and his wife bought a condominium at McCorkle Place in Chapel Hill, NorthCarolina. He and his wife also teach in Sunday school in First Baptist Church of Oxford.
Before and during college
Grisham started working for a nursery as a teenager, watering bushes for US$1.00 an hour. He was soon promoted to a fence crew for US$1.50 an hour. He wrote about the job: "there was no future in it." At 16, Grishamtook a job with a plumbing contractor, but says he "never drew inspiration from that miserable work."
Through a contact of his father, he managed to find work on a highway asphalt crew in Mississippi at the age of seventeen. It was during this time that an unfortunate incident got him "serious" about college. A fight had broken out among the crew on a Friday, with gunfire from which Grishamran to the restroom to escape. He did not come out until after the police had "hauled away rednecks". He hitchhiked home and started thinking about college.
His next work was in retail, as a salesclerk in a department store men's underwear section, which he described as "humiliating". He decided to quit, but stayed when he was offered a raise. He was given another raise after asking to betransferred to toys and then to appliances. A confrontation with a company spy posing as a customer convinced him to leave the store. By this time, Grisham was halfway through college. Planning to become a tax lawyer, he was soon overcome by "the complexity and lunacy" of it. He decided to return to his hometown as a trial lawyer.
Law and politics
Grisham practiced law for about adecade and also won election as a Democrat in the Mississippi state legislature from 1983 to 1990 at an annual salary of US$8,000.Grisham represented the seventh district, which included DeSoto County. By his second term at the Mississippi state legislature, he was the vice-chairman of the Apportionment and Elections Committee and a member of several other committees.
Grisham's writingcareer blossomed with the success of his second book, The Firm, and he gave up practicing law, except for returning briefly in 1996 to fight for the family of a railroad worker who was killed on the job. His official site states that "He was honoring a commitment made before he had retired from the law to become a full-time writer. Grisham successfully argued his clients' case, earning them...