Title: The Storyteller
Author: Jodi Picoult
Date of Release: November 5, 2013
Received From: Purchased
About the Book
Some stories live forever . . .
Sage Singer is a baker. She works through the night, preparing the day’s breads and pastries, trying to escape a reality of loneliness, bad memories, and the shadow of her mother’s death. When Josef Weber, an elderly man in Sage’s grief support group, begins stopping by the bakery, they strike up an unlikely friendship. Despite their differences, they see in each other the hidden scars that others can’t.
Everything changes on the day that Josef confesses a long-buried and shameful secret and asks Sage for an extraordinary favor. If she says yes, she faces not only moral repercussions, but potentially legal ones as well. With the integrity of the closest friend she’s ever had clouded, Sage begins to question the assumptions and expectations she’s made about her life and her family. In this searingly honest novel, Jodi Picoult gracefully explores the lengths to which we will go in order to keep the past from dictating the future.
When I read the description of this book, I was immediately drawn to the premise. I have to admit, while I have some knowledge of the holocaust, it is somewhat limited. I obviously know the basic information, but what I was about to encounter through the authors words was something I wasn’t entirely prepared for.
The writing throughout the book is absolutely superb – so good in fact, I had to put the book down and take a break a few times. While reading Minka’s story, I fought an internal struggle and continued to ask why? Is this a book of fiction? I guess so, but what unfolds in these pages is so real, whether the author fabricated her story I know that things as bad or worse happened over and over again during Hitler’s reign. Her ability to write in such a way that you felt you were living it with her was good and bad. It shows the excellent writing skills, but with a story such as this it makes you have to take a step back and realize that this happened.
I am unsure how I felt about Sage, the character who the book is based around. She isn’t the most likable character, and even though she has experienced tragedy of her own, I felt that the way her character was fleshed out left a little to be desired and her interaction with Joseph/Reiner was also a little strange. It just didn’t seem to fit with the fantastic writing throughout the tale of the holocaust. But, it wasn’t enough to deter me from giving the book 5 stars. I would highly recommend it and as my mom said, it is the best/worst book she has ever read. I would have to agree.
About the Author
I grew up on Long Island with my parents and my little brother, the product of a ridiculously happy childhood. My mom says I’ve been writing as long as she remembers – my first masterpiece was “The Lobster That Was Misunderstood,” at age 5. I honed my writing skills beyond that, one hopes, before I headed off to Princeton, where I wanted to work with living, breathing authors in their creative writing program. Mary Morris was my teacher/mentor, and I really do believe I wouldn’t be where I am today if not for her guidance and expertise. I had two short stories published in SEVENTEEN magazine when I was in college. However, when I graduated, a desire to not eat ramen noodles exclusively and to be able to pay my rent led me to take a job on Wall Street (not a great idea, since I can’t even balance my checkbook). When the stock market crashed in 1987, I moved to Massachusetts and over the course of two years, worked at a textbook publishing company, taught creative writing at a private school, became an ad copywriter, got a master’s in education at Harvard, got married, taught at a public school, and had a baby. My first novel was published shortly after my son was born, and I’ve always said that the reason I kept writing is because it’s so much easier than teaching English.
In fourteen years, I’ve published thirteen novels: Songs of the Humpback Whale, Harvesting the Heart, Picture Perfect, Mercy, The Pact, Keeping Faith, Plain Truth, Salem Falls, Perfect Match, Second Glance, My Sister’s Keeper, Vanishing Acts, and the upcoming The Tenth Circle, this March. Two of my books (Plain Truth and The Pact) were made into Lifetime TV movies; Keeping Faith will be another. My Sister’s Keeper is in development at New Line Cinema to be a feature film. And there isn’t a single day that I don’t stop and marvel at the fact that when I go to work, I get to do what I love the most.
My husband Tim and I live in Hanover, NH with our three kids, a dog, a rabbit, and the occasional donkey or cow.