Monday, May 6, 2013

#BookReview: The Storyteller - Jodi Picoult

It's been quite awhile since I was blown away by a Jodi Picoult novel.  In fact, I haven't enjoyed some of her most recent books and didn't even bother reading Lone Wolf.  Picoult has a tendency to get really wrapped up in a story line and then bog the reader down with the details because she wants to share every single thing she learned while researching the subject matter.  At those times, her work seems less like fiction and more like a text book.  So when The Storyteller popped up on my ARC list, I downloaded it, but ignored it for months.  I finally got around to reading it and WOW!  The Jodi Picoult I used to love is back.

Sage Singer avoids human contact the way a vampire avoids daylight.  As a baker, she works third shift and rarely interacts with customers.  She attends a group therapy session for people grieving loved ones.  Since her mother's death, she's shut herself off from her sisters and her best friend is a former nun.

Josef Weber is a beloved member of the community.  He attends the same therapy session as Sage and, though it initially seems like he is there grieving for his wife, you come to understand that while he could have been there for that reason, he is also there purposefully hoping to connect with Sage.  What does a 95 year old man want with a 20something?

Josef has a story to tell and he hopes that by the time he's finished, Sage will agree to grant him one final wish.  In the usual Picoult fashion, The Storyteller is told from several different aspects.  In this page turner, readers see the Holocaust from the viewpoint of a Nazi officer and a survivor.  I have to tell you I was absolutely fascinated.  It's not a subject matter that is broached often in books today and it's not a subject that I'm intimately familiar with.  Of course, like most people, I've read The Diary of Anne Frank, but that's the extent of my reading about the Holocaust.  I can't applaud Picoult enough for taking on this difficult subject matter and bringing it to a generation that doesn't think the events of the past affect them present day.  As one of her characters said,

I tended to view the Holocaust in the abstract, the way I viewed slavery: a series of horrors that happened a long time ago in a world markedly different from the one I lived in.  Yes, those were bad times, but really, what did they have to do with me?

Published: February 2013
Disclaimer: Copy of book received from publisher, opinions are my own.

Theme: Papa Can You Hear Me by Barbara Streisand
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