THE STORYTELLER by Jodi Picoult
Paperback: 480 pages
Publisher: Washington Square Press (November 5, 2013)
Synopsis: Some stories live forever…
Sage Singer is a baker. She works through the night, preparing the day’s breads and pastries, trying to escape a reality of loneliness, bad memories, and the shadow of her mother’s death. When Josef Weber, an elderly man in Sage’s grief support group, begins stopping by the bakery, they strike up an unlikely friendship. Despite their differences, they see in each other the hidden scars that others can’t.
Everything changes on the day that Josef confesses a long-buried and shameful secret and asks Sage for an extraordinary favor. If she says yes, she faces not only moral repercussions, but potentially legal ones as well. With the integrity of the closest friend she’s ever had clouded, Sage begins to question the assumptions and expectations she’s made about her life and her family. In this searingly honest novel, Jodi Picoult gracefully explores the lengths we will go to in order to keep the past from dictating the future.
* * *
Let me start by saying I have only read a handful of Jodi Picoult books. I found after the third one they started to get a little repetitive. I picked up this book because the topic of the Holocaust seemed so different from what she usually writes. Yes, it is a tragic event (something that is in virtually all her books) but it is a very specific event that really happened – making this a historical fiction book that required extensive research and understanding of the Holocaust. When writing fictional stories about the Holocaust authors have to be so careful about getting the story “accurate” as critics are always ready to critique the lack of authenticity in fiction Holocaust stories – and really all historical fiction novels . This was something I was worried about when I started this novel – but I have to say I was completely surprised!
Right from the start I couldn’t put this book down! The characters were appealing and the story line completely addictive. The book is separated into a present section (at the start and end) and a past section sandwiched in the middle. While the middle part (the past) was the most addictive part, the present day characters made the start and end just as appealing and addictive. I would have enjoyed more of a mix of the past and present, like a jumping back and forth by chapter, which I think would have added more suspense to the novel and help to mix the past and present together. But it was still enjoyable formatted the way it is.
Of all the Picoult’s books I have read, I think this book is underrated and does not receive enough attention. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who enjoys historical fiction, mixed with a mystery and love story… See! This book just had it all!