Final verdict ( published in 1962)
Author : Adela Rogers St Johns( May 20, 1894 - August 10, 1988)
Number of pages : 576
Adela Rogers St Johns was an American journalist, novelist, and screenwriter. She wrote a number of screenplays for silent movies. She is most remembered for her groundbreaking exploits as a "girl reporter" during the 1920s and 1930s.She also wrote short stories for Cosmopolitan, The Saturday Evening Post, and other magazines (source: Wikipedia)
== About the book Final Verdict ==
Adella St Johns was daddy's little girl and daddy was Earl Rogers, the renowned Criminal Lawyer from Los Angeles -Brilliant, handsome, flamboyant, who won acquittals of those convicted of heinous crimes, given up by most other lawyers.
A lawyer who used never seen before, court room tactics to get the criminals out.
Earl Rogers was the man who invented the art of cross examination, as it is known now, and the man who took over cases other attorneys dared not touch.
Final Verdict is his story told as only his remarkable daughter could tell it, with candor, frankness and a lot of love.It is a fascinating study of a unique father-daughter relationship.Each strong in their convictions and beliefs, yet sharing the same outlook.
In her own words " It is not easy to write of anyone so close to you.i have feared, i might not be able to make anyone else understand him and what he was and i have been afraid that i could not make the truth do justice to him.Times change, you begin to see with different eyes, a little wiser perhaps, things startle you at the time were splendidly part of your life"
So she decides to write this book where She will tell the Truth and nothing but the Truth, though may not be the whole truth...
In the book she remembers her childhood days, prominently among them are memories of her father, who left a strong feeling of belongingness in her, made a deep impact through her growing years.He had a way of making her understand the difficulties and demands of his job as a criminal lawyer, when he would speak to her about defending everybody, where he found excuses and loopholes for all those 'poor poor souls tormented and driven to kill or betray ', and when she was young she believed that her father had to be right.
She feels that when she was young and naive, she never realised how fatal a path this was for a man to travel - defending everybody, especially without a God to guide him.
Her father's clients were Millionaires, , Celebrities, politicians and his cases were bizzare and violent.His whole life was dominated by fabulous headlines and darkened by his much publicised Divorce case, Drunken Brawls and Threats - A charmed life..
Adela was a witness to the growing discontentment and unhappiness in her parent's marriage, and, she was always on her father's side.She loathed her mother's insecurities which mainly centered on her looks, comfort and finances.She hated her mother's greed for male admiration.In some ways, she pitied her mother who she felt was a social climber, coming from a humbler background, caught up in an intellectual circle after her marriage, where her beauty, her arts and her wiles were totally undervalued .Adela is doubtful, as to whether things could have been any different had her father showered all his attention and money on her mother, because, she felt that her mother looked for constant excitement in her life.
She also hated her mother's unrestrained temper and her talent for making scenes which embarrassed her and exasperated her father - all these factors drew her closer to her Calm, Solid and ever dependable Papa.There is hardly any reference to her brother Bogart, who her father had loved, but according to Adela her mother had separated him right at the beginning.This only increased her ill feeling towards her mother.
As her Father's reputation and Status grew, the state of his marriage with her mother steadily went downhill, with her mother looking for attention and finding excitement elsewhere..
Her father began going down hill too, trying to drown his sorrows ...There is a saying that Past deeds (sins) cast long shadows..
== My views about this book ==
This is an extremely touching portrayal of a girl's adoring love and admiration for her father and of his for her.Adella was probably the only person who ever really knew her father, because, she was very much like him, she was only different in her methods.He was the only person who called her Nora, second of her baptismal titles.
Earl Rogers with his towering personality, brilliance, Flamboyance, his famous drunken brawls and Cunning comes across from Adella's accounts, essentially as a Strong Person with the usual human weaknesses and an immense love for his daughter and his work. But He had to pay a heavy price for his kind of work and his follies-Defending the Guilty.He never ever has any feelings of guilt for having let out some of the most horrendous criminals, some of whom, came back again asking for his help..Adela seems to be looking for some feeling of regret for his past actions, but finally gives up, when she realises that he did what he had to because he thought that, that was the right thing to do- amazing!
Through various accounts of her childhood and her father's influence in the shaping of her personality, we get to understand how she absorbs her father's persona bit by bit and begins to think like him and also understand him like no one else.
But she remains forthright and frank in her appraisal of her father's personality and life.The relationship that she shares with her father is one to be envied, it is movingly beautiful, but in no way does she get carried away .
It was but natural that she takes up the same career as her father by becoming a Defense lawyer teaming up with him.One can see shades of him in every action of hers, every decision taken by her.
Some of the famous court room proceedings of the Thirties narrated by Adella, makes very interesting reading.The time when Earl Rogers, created history with his First ever Alcohol Insanity defense case, when according to Adella, Alcoholism itself was not a word included in the American Vocabulary - Adella writes her feeling of Elation, having her father unfold history.It is a very proud moment for both Father and daughter, slightly marred by her mother's dramatics ....
But Rogers himself was on a path of self destruction and one can almost visualise the pain of a loving daughter, as she writes about his steady deterioration as he gets more and more addicted to Alcoholism and Temper tantrums.But with all that he remains an ever loving father to Adella.He had a favorite saying ' When the trumpet blows all the walls fall flat '. Adela tries hard to help him overcome his addiction, but with little result..
This was a very unique and a fabulous book, giving the readers a deep insight into the Legal system and how judgements were made and cases won, on the strength and impact of words alone. More than anything this is a book about the Father-daughter team growing and learning together, Arguing on the opposite side and Agreeing with each other, but, at the same time each with his/her own firm convictions and an abundance of love for one another.
Summary: Different and an interesting novel