It's no secret that I'm a huge Jodi Picoult fan. I admit, I did resist reading her for a while because I heard that her books were super sad, but after reading Salem Falls a few years ago, I was hooked. The Storyteller is her newest novel, brand new this year in fact. Before getting too deep into a summary of this amazing novel, I do want to give a disclaimer. This is a plot point not mentioned on the book's jacket synopsis, but I was glad that I heard whispers of this before I started reading or it would have caught me way off guard: This book deals extensively with Holocaust stories. I know not everyone feels comfortable reading about such tragedies (in fact, had this novel not been written by Picoult, I probably wouldn't have picked it up myself for that reason), so I just wanted to give fair warning. This book is beautifully crafted, but it is graphic and quite sad at times, so if you don't think that you would be ok reading this book, I understand. For those of you who are still interested though, you are in for a truly incredible, haunting tale.
The novel focuses on Sage Singer, a super shy young woman with a slight disfigurement from a car accident, who works the night shift at a bakery and tries to avoid human contact most of the time. However, she finds a friend in an elderly man named Josef, who also seems to be a loner. The two engage in great conversations, but then Josef reveals something dark about himself, and asks Sage for a favor (I will leave this ambiguous since I already gave away a bit of the plot :) ). Sage becomes caught in a serious moral dilemma as a result.
As the novel continues, about half of it ends up being graphic, tragic, yet beautifully written (and well researched!) flashbacks of the Holocaust from two characters' very different perspectives. At times it was hard to read, especially because I knew that these horrific things had really happened, but Picoult's style is so compelling that I couldn't put the book down.
The novel is also interwoven with a piece of short fiction that one of the characters had written as a young girl, which ends up being an interesting allegory for the Holocaust. This was a really cool touch and also helped give the reader a break from the tougher parts of the novel.
I wish I could say more about the plot, but since I already gave some away, I'd rather you all just read the book for yourselves and learn along the way as I did! It is truly a captivating tale about love and hate, hope, justice, family, and forgiveness. I won't lie, it was tough to get through at times, especially since I don't often read Holocaust literature because the subject really bothers me. However, I knew that I could trust Jodi Picoult to write a wonderful novel that would have a satisfactory ending that wouldn't leave me feeling upset or sick. Shocked maybe, but in a good, thoughtful way, as she always does.
Please let me know if you decide to read this, and what your thoughts are! This is a very different novel from anything I've read by this author, and in fact, different from what I normally read in general, but so worth it. Happy reading! =)
What I'm reading now...
1. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (sci fi) [I'm re-reading it :)]
2. Daddy's Gone A Hunting by Mary Higgins Clark (mystery)