The Storyteller, Jodi Picoult

I’ve been on something of a reading roll this month. I wanted to read a book I knew I would fly through and would just suck me straight in so I could forget how deperessed I was over The Paris Wife. I’ve read many Jodi Picoult novels before, and after hearing from my friend that this was her favorite Picoult so far (mine is tied between Second Chance & Plain Truth), and it just happened to be sitting on my shelf, I decided this would probably qualify.

In retrospect, this was not a good choice to lighten my mood.

This book is about the Holocaust. I somewhat knew that already, but what I didn’t know was that 1/3 of the book would be dedicated to a first-hand (fictional) account of a young polish girl whose life was destroyed by the war and was eventually sent to Aushwitz. I did not expect this, because Jodi Picoult generally does not write that way. She usually picks a controversial topic, centers it around some kind of court case, and tells the gripping, emotional story that takes place in a moral grey-area from all sides. I think she tried to do that here, at least partly, but failed.

I just finished writing my review of Mansfield Park, and in it, I wrote how it is unfair to judge a work by comparing it to the rest of the author’s work. Well, forget that, because that’s exactly why I didn’t like this book. I read Jodi Picoult books to be entertained (also why I read Philippa Gregory). When you read 12 books by the same person (I counted), you really start to get ahold of their writing style, their patterns…their comfort zone. The ‘modern’ section of this book (the other 2/3rds), just wasn’t good. I feel like she reused a character (Cara Warren from Lone Wolf – the similarities in personality were undeniable), a situation (the Jesus Bread, similar to scenes in Keeping Faith), and a tired formula (the court case/lawyer thing just didn’t work in this book). The ending felt rushed, and the twist ending wasn’t that meaningful.

Now, if you haven’t read any/many of Picoult’s novels, you would probably enjoy most of this book, but I would recommend others above it (see those mentioned above). I admit – I’ve become quite the snobby reader, so take my opinion with a grain of salt; I know a lot of people will not agree with me in this case (it’s average rating on goodreads is 4.23 with almost 50,000 reviewers – that’s incredibly high). I initially gave it three stars (the middle section really was very good), but the more I think of it as a whole, I’ve downgraded it on goodreads to only 2. They can’t all be winners, eh?

Hoping this trail of unimpressive books comes to an end soon! What are some five star books you think I should be reading?

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