by Jodi Picoult
Published: 2/26/13 by Atria books
3.5 out of 5 stars
I would give this book 3.5 stars. If it was written by a different
author, I probably would have given in 4 stars. But after reading many
of Jodi Picoult's books, I'm starting to get extra critical about her
I was a fan of several of Picoult's early books.
But once you have read more than a couple, you quickly realize how
formulaic and predictable her books are: written in alternating points
of views (and fonts), about a controversial issue, and with a big twist
at the end that is never really all that surprising once you have read a
couple of her books and know to expect it.
At the same time,
Picoult can tell a good story. She can keep you turning pages. I
always enjoy reading her books. But I get frustrated because I feel
there is great potential for all of her books to be better than they
are. She seems to release a new book every year, and I think she would
benefit by writing less books and spending more time creating greater
So here are my thoughts on Picoult's lastest book, The Storyteller.
What I liked:
Two, which told about Minka's experience in concentration camps during
the Holocaust, was excellent. I have read many different fictional
stories about the Holocaust, and the stories never get any easier to
read. Picoult's account is unflinching and painful to read, yet you
can't turn away from it.
-I liked the "controversial issue" in this
book about forgiveness. It asks some good questions and provides some
thought provoking scenarios. Are some crimes beyond the realm of
forgiveness? If we choose to hate the criminal, are we then just the
same as the criminal who chose to hate when the crime was committed?
What was okay:
fictional story that was spread throughout the book. At first, I
thought it was unnecessary and the metaphor to the Holocaust was too
forced. But then the story played into the plot of the novel, and it
made more sense.
-the modern day characters of Leo and Sage. I
didn't love their part of the story, but I didn't hate it either. The
strength of this novel was definitely Minka's life and experiences.
What I didn't like:
-Sage's sisters were named Saffron and Pepper (they were all the daughters of a baker). This is just awful.
twist at the end. I knew it was coming, and I knew what it was going
to be, but I just didn't get it. I didn't think this particular twist
was necessary at all for the story. There was enough conflict and
climax leading up to the end, why throw something ELSE at the end that
is supposed to surprise us but really doesn't surprise us at all! With
Picoult's track record, a much more surprising twist would have been for
there to be no twist at all in the final pages.
-there were some
unbelievable coincidences in how this story came together, namely how
Josef came to meet Sage. At first I was annoyed because it seemed
completely unbelievable, but then more is revealed that maybe it was
more structured than random chance. But I didn't feel like this was
explained enough and left me questioning Josef's true motivations.
Perhaps this was purposeful, but I would have liked a little more
To summarize, I did enjoy reading this story in the
way that I usually enjoy reading Picoult's work. If you have never
read Picoult before and don't have my critical eye pointed at her, then
you may find this book more satisfying than I did! I do think it is
worth taking the time to read.