For our book club last month, sweet Kathy picked, “The Storyteller” by Jodi Piccoult.
Now, if you have read my book reviews before, you might have picked up on the fact that I have some bitter feelings in regards to Ms. Piccoult’s novels. I stopped reading them a long time ago. I usually do not like how she sucks you in and then kicks you in the heart, leaving you to smear the pages you have witnessed with tears and regret. I will never forgive her for “My Sister’s Keeper.” Never.
And, “The Pact.” There was a line in that book that has stuck with me for almost fifteen years. It describes the mother of a teenage son smelling his breath and trying to recall when it was that he lost the mellow milky smell his breath used to carry in his youth. In doing so, she created an obsession in me to determine the exact moment that this would occur in my own children. So I would know. So I could answer that question. I believe the answer is nine. Nine years old, Ms. Piccoult. Thanks for the memories. And my creepy habit.
But I had this book. I had purchased it at Costco months before, because a different friend had mentioned she might choose it for her book pick. She didn’t and I would stare at it with resentment when I would walk by it.
The title was so intriguing. “You,” I would think. “So, what story are you going to tell me? How is this one going to end?” I had a vision of me ugly crying, snot pouring down my face and the book being hurled across the room. Only to break a picture frame and in turn break my heart again.
Oh, yes, me and that book were becoming old adversaries.
Because, here is the thing: Jodi Piccoult. Well, she is an amazing writer. The stories she can spin. She is the master of human emotions. That book was a drug. And I needed it, but did not want it.
However, it was chosen. And I had it. So, I read it.
And once again, Jodi Piccoult sucked me in.
The book (yes, we are finally going to discuss it. Excuse my theatrics getting to it) will grip you from the beginning and not let you go.
It starts with a fictional story and then quickly steps into the present day life of a young baker, Sage, who hides from the world. She thinks the scar on her face shows the world the monster hiding inside of her. It is her story, but also the story of an old man. At 95 years old,”Josef” asks Sage to kill him. And so we enter Josef’s story. And in doing so, we enter the world of the holocaust. And the questions begin: What is forgiveness? How far would each of us take it? What is the true definition of survival? And are all humans merely monsters in disguise?
Of course, I cried. I sobbed:
Page 296 did me in. I finally caved in to the sobbing at the hopelessness of the situation.
And on page 357, I cried again in relief. In anger. Why did it take so long?
I was dreading the ending. I knew there would be a twist, as there always is in her books. And I did not want to take that turn. But I did.
And guess what? I loved it! Oh, it was brilliant. It was genius. And perfect. And dark. Jodi Piccoult won me over with this story of hers. It is one of the best novels I have read in a very long time. My heart hurt, but it was still whole.
I highly recommend it.
Have you read “The Storyteller”? Did you like the ending? Did you agree with Sage’s decision? Try not to leave any spoilers, please. I do not want to ruin anyone’s experience. But you can definitely email me to discuss.
Our next book club pick is “Eleanor & Park” by Rainbow Rowell. Just in case you want to read it and discuss in a month. I ordered my copy, buy have not received it yet.