Review: “The Storyteller” by Jodi Picoult

the-storyteller-395I’ve had the date marked down on my calendar for weeks.   February 26, 2013.  The day Jodi Picoult’s new book “The Storyteller” was released.   Because Picoult is one of my favorite authors, I couldn’t wait to find some free time to read this book.

Usually, I can hardly put Picoult’s books down, because they are just that good.   Picoult came through for me again, because this one was no different.

The book starts out with us being introduced to loner twenty-something Sage Singer.   Sage works nights at a bakery, where she can spend her time doing her two favorite things, baking breads and avoiding socializing with others in her community.  She is young woman going through a lot of issues in her life (her face is terribly scarred from an accident, and this has her struggling to cope with physical and psychological  shock), and ends up meeting retired teacher and Little League coach Josef Weber.  Sage and Josef are both members of the same grief group, and he also ends up stopping in quite often at the bakery where Sage works.  After spending some time together, Josef decides it is time to ask Sage a favor.

Not a small favor by any means, Josef asks Sage to help him die.    It turns out Josef is not who he says is.  He is not dying of cancer, or some other terminal illness.  Josef’s only illness is a case of horrible guilt over from his past.   This well-respected and loved man in the community confesses that he was a Nazi SS guard, and had done some unspeakable things to people.

I had no idea what I was in for when I first started reading this book, and I was completely in awe of the detailed writing that Picoult put into this story.   I could smell the bread that Sage baked, and I could picture in my mind every detail of the horrible and despicable stories told by Josef and someone else in this story (I will refrain from saying WHO because that’s part of the intrigue of the story).   In Picoult’s typical writing style, the story is told from a few different people, and goes back and forth between present time and the 1940s Holocaust.

Not many authors are able to do this without losing the reader in a maze of confusion, but Picoult has a knack for giving her readers compelling characters and allowing us to get to know them on so many levels.   She also has an amazing ability to throw in a twist at the end of her books, and “The Storyteller” was no different.

I had a hard time reading this book.  I couldn’t put it down, yet I also felt the need to walk away from it every so often simply because the details of the Holocaust were so difficult to stomach.  It was a horrific part of history, and Picoult has certainly done her research to insure we were given the most accurate and vivid account of events.

This isn’t a book I will soon forget, and leaves you wondering if it is going to be a story of forgiveness, justice, or… revenge?

Definitely a must read.  On a scale 1-5 stars, with 5 being the highest:


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