Monday, March 11, 2013

(17)The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult

The Storyteller 

Publication Date: February 26, 2013
Pages: 460

It is that time of year, fellow book lovers!  The new Jodi Picoult novel has hit the shelves.  In this years novel the beloved author tackles one of the more heavy hitting topics, the Holocaust.

Baker Sage Singer has just been a shadow of herself since her Mother passed away nearly three years ago.  Not only did she do the unthinkable, by having an affair with the married funeral home director, Adam.  But she also joined a grief support group, something that she never thought that she would ever do.  It was at that support group that she met the elderly Josef Weber.  As the small towns former German teacher, Josef is well known and well liked in the community.  He befriends Sage and soon their friendship is one of Sage's favorite things about her mixed up life.  Until the day that Josef confesses to Sage that he was once an SS officer at Auschwitz and he would like for her to kill him.

While Sage is an atheist, her family is Jewish and her Nana, Minka,  escaped the hells of Auschwitz herself.  At first Sage does not know what to do with the information.  How can this sweet elderly man be guilty of the horrific crimes that took place during the Holocaust.  Sage does the only think she can think of - she calls the police and eventually her "case" lands on the desk of Department of Justice investigator, Leo Stein.  After much convincing he finally believes Sage and he starts coaching her on how to get enough information to determine if Josef is telling the truth.  As the days and weeks pass Josef starts telling Sage enough of the horror to determine that he is who he says he is - but the ultimate question remains, will Sage let him be brought to justice or will she honor his request and kill him.

The Holocaust is one of those events in time that will never, ever be forgotten. I live my happy, safe, suburban life and find it easy to forget about the horror of 9/11 (which I was ALIVE for) let alone the atrocities of the Holocaust.  The Storyteller nearly brought me to my knees with the story of Sage's Nana.  As always, this Jodi Picoult novel is told from the different perspectives of the main characters, and Sage's Nana, Minka, tells her story in graphic detail, how she gets to and survives Auschwitz.  It will definitely make you weep and may even bring you to your knees.

Bottom line, critics (including myself) have said for years that Jodi Picoult's novels are very formulaic.   The Storyteller is just a bit different this time in the fact that there is no typical trial in which the main character has to participate in one way or another.  There IS a trial, so to speak, but there is only one judge, jury, and executioner, Sage.  It was a bit refreshing to see the author shake things up a bit, even if ever so slight.  I think The Storyteller is an important book to read for many reasons, but mostly because I am not the only one who has let the horrors of the Holocaust fall to the back of my mind - that itself should be a crime.  We truly must never forget.


Sara Bell- The Traveling PhoBlogWriPher said...

Oooh, I'm excited! I'm a Picoult fan but even I'd like to see things shaken up a bit!

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