Review: Jodi Picoult – The Storyteller

Late last year I was lucky enough to receive from Allen and Unwin, an advance copy of The Story Teller, by Jodi Picoult, to review.

I devoured the book in a day or two, it was brilliant.

Here’s my review:

Jodi Picoult never fails to deliver. In “The Storyteller” she succeeds, as always, in capturing the truth of the human condition, in delving deep in human emotions and laying them bare for all to see and feel alongside her characters. Sage is a young woman, hiding from the world so as not to face her scars – both emotional and physical, who befriends an elderly gentleman by the name of Josef, known for his good work in the community. He too has scars, terrible things in his past he has hidden for far too long, and now he wants only two things – death and forgiveness. Both of which he asks of Sage.

Through his request Sage learns of the terrible parts of her own history, and her grandmother’s past.

“What is the point in trying to put down on paper emotions that are too complex, too huge, too overwhelming to be confined by an alphabet… If you lived through it you know there are no words that will ever come close to describing it. And if you didn’t, you will never understand.”

Perhaps these words, spoken by Minka, grandmother of Sage and survivor of the holocaust, are true. No words can describe the true horror of such an experience, and yet Jodi’s words still manage to convey enough of a sense of what happened to have me reaching for the tissues, my children asking what was wrong.

The Storyteller is, as to be expected, a brilliant novel, I couldn’t put it down.

And now, I am really excited because my review was picked among many others as part of the promotion of the book! How exciting is that!! And even better – Allen and Unwin are giving readers the chance to win an advance copy on their Facebook page: https://apps.facebook.com/allenandunwinbooks/giveaways/Enter/6382

Good luck!! 😀

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The Trials of Blogging; Beeswax; and What Happened in ‘The Pact’

My last blog entry, posted on 27th Feb, was actually written in early January. I was unsure as to what to write about, whether I actually wanted to blog or not, whether I could stay focused, committed. I saved it as a draft, figuring I’d get back to it. Needless to say, I did not achieve either focus or commitment, but in my defense I’ve had a busy couple of months. Aside from a three week trip to Western Australia – the opposite side of the country  to the  beautiful state of Tasmania that I call home, I have been busily making beeswax candles. It is my partners idea, something he wants to do, to work for himself – but at the moment he is working for someone else, and I am working at home, so I am the one making the candles. I love it. The beeswax has a natural honey scent that fills the house and the act of melting the wax and pouring the candles has to be done slowly – to ensure the wax is not burnt when melted, or spilt when poured; making me slow down – forcing me to  be patient.

Making these candles I have learnt so much about beeswax and about paraffin, which has been the main product used to create candles for some time now. Aside from the fact that beeswax is a sustainable by-product of honey, it also acts as a natural air purifier, removing the toxins from our air – toxins that regular, paraffin candles actually add to (did you know paraffin is made from a sludgy by-product of petroleum!!). Beeswax also has a higher burning point than parafin, which means that the candles will last longer, and beeswax doesn’t result in a smoky flame like paraffin can. There is so much more information out there – if you’re interested to know more just google “Benefits of Beeswax” and see what comes up.

But I have digressed. In my last post I mentioned that I had started reading The Pact, by Jodi Picoult. I did get through it, although there were several occasions when I put the book down and decided I couldn’t read anymore. And my suspicions were partly right – but mostly wrong. As usual Jodi managed to surprise me with an ending I did not see coming. It is another brilliant book by Jodi, I love her stories – her portrayal and understanding of human emotions is something I envy.

Books I want to read…

I’ve been trying to learn more about blogging – reading through forum posts on blogs, skimming (because that’s all I feel I have time for) other people’s blogs. I came across an interview with Thomas Keneally on Taiwanxifu’s blog: http://taiwanxifu.com/2011/08/21/lunch-with-booker-prize-winning-author-thomas-keneally/ He is the author of The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, a book that has intrigued me ever since it was first mentioned on a tv ad, of all places. I don’t even remember what the advertisement was for – encouraging reading perhaps? The title grabbed me. I have no idea what the story is about (aside from the fact it is about the Australian Aborigines), or even whether it is one I would really enjoy, but the first time I heard the title I thought ‘I must read that’. So it has been added to my list of Recommended Reading – of which I have several, floating about in various locations. I misplace them for a while – start another.

The problem is that along with the long lists of books I want to read, I have books on shelves I haven’t yet read. The Pact, by Jodi Picoult, I started just the other day, a christmas present from a couple of years ago it has sat with the other Jodi Picoult books (all of which I have finished) awaiting it’s turn. I started the other day, read for a couple of hours, decided I couldn’t read any more. The following day I found myself picking it up again – it’s terribly sad – a 17 year-old girl is dead, her boyfriend claims she committed suicide but he was the only one with her and has been accused of her murder. So far I believe him, and I have my suspicions about why the girlfriend chose to end her life – but Jodi’s books so often have an unexpected twist at the end I’m not certain it will play out the way I think it will.

My thoughts, I suppose, are that I really should finish what’s on my shelves before I go seeking out books from elsewhere – but that doesn’t mean I will.