So I made myself finish this novel & here's the thing - it made me really angry that reviewers & other readers hail this novel as representati...moreSo I made myself finish this novel & here's the thing - it made me really angry that reviewers & other readers hail this novel as representative of the 21st century Australian family & social dynamic. It's not. It is representative of a certain culture within Australia, but is not representative of your typical family. In none of the many, many families & social circles of my life do the men have constant affairs, sometimes with teenagers; very rarely do people I know refer to others (particularly women) as 'c**ts' & in this book it seems to appear on every page; every parent in this book seems to be doing drugs - sometimes in front of their kids, no wonder the teenagers in the book are doing the same thing. It is also a particularly mysoginistic book. All this without even getting to the catalyst of the story - the slap. The fact that this 'slap' comes full circle in the end, & we are shown how different the outcome is when violence is resolved with compassion & love is the only thing I found interesting about the book. It worries me that this book is thought of as 'great Australian literature', 'representative of what Australia is'. If I was a foreigner reading this book, I'd never want to visit here!(less)
I did enjoy this book, it was well written in terms of the story, but I did find it very difficult in the end to like any of the characters. Life is n...moreI did enjoy this book, it was well written in terms of the story, but I did find it very difficult in the end to like any of the characters. Life is not straight forward, yes, but the way these characters treat each other is very cruel. And there is no real ending either. It was very up in the air & I'm left feeling disappointed. (less)
I really loved this book! The voice in this one is just so unique, quirky, heart warming & beautiful in its honesty. Give yourself the gift of thi...moreI really loved this book! The voice in this one is just so unique, quirky, heart warming & beautiful in its honesty. Give yourself the gift of this lovely read. (less)
This is possibly the best of Jodi Picoult's books that I have ever read, & quite possibly one of my favourite books ever. Picoult's writing is so...moreThis is possibly the best of Jodi Picoult's books that I have ever read, & quite possibly one of my favourite books ever. Picoult's writing is so simply honest & human that it is often poetic. Issues are never over-intellectualised…she simply tells the truth of the human experience, of life.
So many strong themes & questions are covered in this book. It is not just about the atrocity that was the Holocaust. It is so much more.
The book discusses the technicalities of responsibility, were the German's involved in these terrible events simply evil? Were they only following orders? Did their social & familial upbringing make them what they were?
Then we tackle the issue of grief. Every one is different in their experiences. Picoult raises the question: Who are we to judge what is the right, wrong or appropriate way to grieve? She also discusses the many different types of grief. Grief for the loss if a loved one, grief for the loss of your childhood, grief for your own guilt, and grief for the type of person these things have made of you.
The final theme I will mention is that of forgiveness. In this book the question is asked: who has the right to forgive? Is it right to forgive someone something as horrific as the Holocaust? What is forgiveness & who is it really for?
You will see that I have framed much of this review as questions. That is the thing that I think Jodi Picoult has such an incredible talent for. Picoult will always raise the questions, but the answers are never given…they are yours to find. As an actor & director, & a great lover of literature, I have always thought that this is what good art is about. It holds a mirror up to society, it reflects the brutal truth no matter how ugly or beautiful & it makes us question what it is to be a human being. (less)
3.5 stars - I thought the book wasn't too bad but very simply written. It started off well enough but by the end I felt like the author was just makin...more3.5 stars - I thought the book wasn't too bad but very simply written. It started off well enough but by the end I felt like the author was just making bad things happen for the sake of it. I sort of understand that it was to represent Chastity finally being jolted into action, but really it was too much & the consequences really skipped over.
Another thing is that no matter what, I do not abide people standing by & watching abuse happen because they feel that the victim needs to do it themselves. Yes they do have to want to leave, but they also need help. It's not good enough to just watch it happen. So I felt this really let down some characters, particularly Master Stone who is made out to be the hero. I was a child abuse victim myself & it did things to my confidence & self worth that I will fight for the rest of my life. I wish to god someone had stepped in. I'm not sure that if I'd ended up in an abusive relationship straight out of that situation, that I would have had the mental capacity to help myself. Just a personal opinion based on my experiences, others may be different. (less)