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The Pact: A Love Storyby Jodi Picoult
Synopses & Reviews
Friendship, loyalty, lifelong love — and teenage suicide. A riveting, timely, and terrifying novel from an acclaimed writer who skillfully intertwines the intimate perceptions of Anne Tyler with the dramatic tension of John Grisham
The Golds and the Hartes, neighbors for eighteen years, have always been inseparable. So have their children-and it's no surprise that in high school Chris and Emily's friendship blossoms into something more. But the bonds of family, friendship, and passion-which had seemed so indestructible — suddenly threaten to unravel in the wake of unexpected tragedy.
When midnight calls from the hospital come in, no one is ready for the truth. Emily is dead at seventeen from a gunshot wound to the head. There's a single unspent bullet in the gun that Chris pilfered from his father's cabinet-a bullet that Chris tells police he intended for himself. But a local detective has doubts about the suicide pact that Chris describes.
This extraordinary, heart-rending novel asks questions that every parent faces: How much do we know about our children? Our friends?
What if . . .? As its chapters unfold, alternating between an idyllic past and an unthinkable present, The Pact paints an indelible portrait of families in anguish . . . and creates an astonishingly suspenseful courtroom drama, as Chris finds himself on trial for murder.
It's rare to find a writer who combines Alice Hoffman's gift for evoking everyday life in pellucid prose with a remarkable ability to create a legal page-turner that will keep you up all night reading, but this is such a book. The Pact rings true: wonderfully observed, truly moving, frightening, and utterly impossible to put down.
About the Author
Jodi Picoult is the 2003 New England Book Award Winner for Fiction, honoring her for her body of work.
Picoult was born and raised — happily — on Long Island. "I had such an uneventful childhood that much later, when I was taking writing classes at college, I called home and yelled at my mother, wishing for a little incest or abuse on the side," recalls Picoult. "Good writers, I thought at the time, had to have something to write about. It took me a while to realize that I already did have something to write about — that solid core of family, and of relationships, which seem to form a connective thread through my books."
Her novels, which all center on what it means to love someone, have come out in rapid-fire succession: Songs of the Humpback Whale (1992), which Picoult wrote when she was six months pregnant with her first child; Harvesting the Heart (1994), which she describes as a reflection of her feelings as a new mother — and her most emotionally autobiographical novel; Picture Perfect (1995); Mercy (1996), a novel about married love and if it's really 50/50 (Picoult says she and husband Tim are still debating this); The Pact (1998); Keeping Faith (1999); Plain Truth (2000); Salem Falls (2001); Perfect Match; and Second Glance 2003 .
Picoult says she really learned to write at Princeton, where she studied creative writing with Mary Morris, who urged her to submit a story to Seventeeen magazine. Picoult was stunned when they published it and a second story a bit later. "That's when I thought I could be a writer," says Picoult.
However, when she graduated from Princeton, she headed not for the word processor, but for Wall Street, and followed that with stints at a textbook publishing company and an ad agency. She also taught creative writing part-time at a high school, got her master's degree in education at Harvard, and married Tim, whom she'd known at Princeton. Soon she was pregnant and had written a thousand page manuscript, which became Songs of the Humpback Whale.
It took a while, but Picoult says she has reconciled writing and motherhood. "I'm a better mother because I have my writing and I'm a better writer because of the experiences of motherhood that have shaped me." At this point, Picoult sees her list of novels growing, but not her family.
"There's nothing more interesting than crawling into a character's head — a head I created, that nonetheless seems to have a mind all its own."
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