The Loopy Librarian, June 4, 2014 (view all comments by The Loopy Librarian)
What would you pack if you were leaving home, never to return, and could carry only one suitcase? This is one of the many questions we pondered in our book club after reading The Storyteller. All of us loved this book and most, including me, couldn’t put it down. With such an innocuous title, I had no idea what to expect. I only new that the author was Jodi Picoult, so it was bound to ask deep questions regarding the gray areas of morality. The meticulously drawn characters are so memorable that they have persisted to live in my imaginings. The plot is suspenseful and heart-wrenching. The history is well-researched and shared in such a way that the horrors of the Holocaust come alive in a very personal way. We’ve all seen pictures and shuddered, but Picoult painted pictures with words that are indelibly stamped on my consciousness. The characters aren’t divided into neat little categories of good and evil, victim and perpetrator. What is forgivable? What is not? I began this book thinking that I knew the answer, but in the end, it wasn’t so simple. A remarkable book that will stay with me for a long time. I highly recommend the read, especially for fans of historical fiction.
“The words are a flood rushing out of me; just speaking them, I am drowning” (p.36).
“If history has a habit of repeating itself, doesn’t someone have to stay behind to shout out a warning” (p. 91)?
“Repeat the same action over and over again, and eventually it will feel right” (p.120).
“That’s why we read fiction, isn’t it? To remind us that whatever we suffer, we’re not the only ones” (p. 220)?
“If you had to pack your whole life into a suitcase-not just the practical things, like clothing, but the memories of the people you had lost and the girl you had once been �" what would you take” (p.270)?
writermala, August 31, 2013 (view all comments by writermala)
We all have stories in our life. Jodi Picoult is just one such person; but her "The Storyteller," shows us how gifted she is in this department. Sage Singer is a baker and essentially the story is about her life. Two people close to her, her grandmother Minka, and her friend Josef Weber, have unique experiences which they share with Sage. What is Sage going to do with this information? The two stories start in parallel and then come on a collision course. While telling us this gripping tale, Picoult comes up with unique expressions for example, "Sometimes all it takes to become human again is someone who can see you that way, no matter how you present on the surface." Minka closes her story with the wisdom of living through a horrible experience by saying, "If you lived through it, you already know there are no words that will ever come close to describing it. And if you didn't you will never understand." Jodi Picoult has done a wonderful job of helping us to understand as best we can.
Kaye, July 5, 2013 (view all comments by Kaye)
Sage Singer is a baker, and damaged. She works all night and avoids people, partially due to the scar on her face, but also due to other events in her life. At grief counseling she meets an old man Josef Weber and becomes friendly with him. When Josef makes a shocking confession and asks Sage to help him die, her whole world is tipped upside down and she questions the beliefs she has adopted.
This book is about the holocaust and it takes the reader into the horrific conditions of the Jewish people under the Hitler Regime. It was hard to read, I often was crying. The absolute horror of 6 million Jews, Gypsies, and other dissidents being executed by the Third Reich is difficult to understand, but the absolute horror of living in the work camps is almost beyond comprehension. This book is fiction, but Ms. Picoult has done her research, and has written a book, that while it's difficult to read, also tells a story that needs to be told.
Amber Black, June 23, 2013 (view all comments by Amber Black)
While I thought this was better than a couple of other Jodi Picoult books I've recently read, I'm still having some issues with it. The story is interesting and she definitely moves the plot along at a decent clip (rather than dragging, like some of her books). Minka is a thoroughly likable character with emotional depth and thought-provoking ideas. She uses all her typical Picoult-isms: sections in different character's voices, a legal struggle, the twist ending, unreliable narration, controversial themes, weird romance...you get the picture. I like that when I start a Picoult book I know what I'm going to get: a quick, easy read that provokes some thought.
My only real problem with this book is that, like some other Picoult books, everything seems too perfect and suspiciously convenient. Some of the coincidences really pulled me out of the story, being extremely far-fetched. I hope those who read this book don't believe that people who didn't go through this many horrific experiences during the Holocaust aren't as worthy of admiration.
This straightforward and fast-moving narrative is definitely worth the quick read.
Julie Matthies, May 9, 2013 (view all comments by Julie Matthies)
After reading from the wee hours of the morning, I finished The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult. Wow. Difficult subject matter. And although I've only read two of her books, I think that's pretty common for her novels, but this one was a doozy. I've heard comments that Picoult uses the same formula for all her novels. Even though I haven't read tons of her books I'd venture to say this one is different. There are layers and layers to this novel that intertwine in one way or another. And those layers are haunting. This book and the moral questions it brings up will stick with me for a long time.
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"This is a powerful and riveting, sometimes gut-wrenching, read, in which the always compelling Picoult brings a fresh perspective to an oft-explored topic."
by Library Journal,
"Picoult is no stranger to tackling difficult issues. Her latest page-turner confronts the oft-explored subject of the Holocaust with skill, starkness, and tremendous sensitivity. The characters' stories are compelling, but the stellar storyteller here is Picoult, who braids the quartet of intersecting tales into a powerful allegory of loss, forgiveness, and the ultimate humanity of us all. Her myriad fans are in for satisfying doses of everything they've come to expect from her: compulsive readability, impeccable research, and a gut-wrenching Aha! of an ending."
by Kirkus Reviews,
"[A] fictional testament as horrifying as it is suspenseful."
An astonishing novel about redemption and forgiveness from #1 New York Times bestselling author Jodi Picoult.
Sage Singer becomes friends with an old man who’s particularly beloved in her community after they strike up a conversation at the bakery where she works. Josef Weber is everyone’s favorite retired teacher and Little League coach. One day he asks Sage for a favor: to kill him. Shocked, Sage refuses… but then he tells her he deserves to die.
Once he reveals his secret, Sage wonders if he’s right. What do you do when evil lives next door? Can someone who’s committed a truly heinous act ever redeem themselves with good behavior? Should you offer forgiveness to someone if you aren’t the party who was wronged? And most of all — if Sage even considers his request — is it murder, or justice?
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