Carol's Reviews > The Storyteller

The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult
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really liked it
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Jodi Picoult is one of my adopted authors. This means I enjoy her books and want to share them with others so I donate the cost of each to our library. I get to read the book first, allowing the library, the community and myself to reap the benefits. It's definitely a win-win deal.

I have not loved all of Picoult's books but have always respected the determination and marketing savvy she has shown since she began her career. So what did I think of her latest?

The Storyteller is told in much the same way as many of Picoult's stories, using narrator viewpoint to lay it out. Sometimes this works for me and sometimes not. This time her formula worked and I was thoroughly engrossed from page one right through to the end.

The Storyteller is one of those books that is extremely hard to talk about without spoilers. This alone makes it a good pick for book discussions. Picoult has taken what could have been one amongst the many holocaust fiction historicals and made it her own. She did borrow from other works to put moral issues under the microscope, most notably, The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness by Simon Wiesenthal, in which a Nazi soldier seeks forgiveness. Sage Singer grandmother, Minka, is a holocaust survivor though Sage knows little of her story. When Sage grieves the loss of her mother in a bereavement group she meets and becomes friends with an elderly man with his own deep secrets. He asks Sage to kill him but only after she forgives him for something he will reveal. Though a primary theme twists love, hate, and forgiveness every which way, there are other stories to hear. Somehow Picoult manages to even weave in a vampire tale and make it meaningful.

I have not enjoyed a book by Picoult as much as this in some time. The Storyteller reminds me why I started following her career to begin with. She has such a way with words taking the ordinary and making them sing.

The one thing I wish she wouldn't do, she did and this takes some of my pleasure away. I can't tell you what as it is one of those spoilers. I hope Jodi Picoult decides to write more in the historical fiction genre rather than "pulled from the headlines" as I think she shines here.

I've read some great reviews of this book. Read a few more and see what you think.
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Reading Progress

March 6, 2013 – Started Reading
March 7, 2013 – Shelved
March 7, 2013 – Finished Reading
April 18, 2013 – Shelved as: fiction

Comments Showing 1-41 of 41 (41 new)

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message 1: by Robin (new) - added it

Robin My materials contributions to our library aren't quite as noble--I buy the magazine subscriptions for Entertainment Weekly and most recently People Style. :)

I love the idea, though, of an adopted author.


Carol We pay the price that it actually costs the library which is probably about the same as your donation. I have 3 adopted authors, Picoult, Minette Walters and Nevada Barr. :)


message 3: by Robin (new) - added it

Robin Has anyone adopted James Patterson? ;-)


Carol Not yet!


message 5: by Karen (new) - added it

Karen Carol, love your review! I'm a fan of Jodi's and love that she makes New Hampshire her home too!


Carol Karen wrote: "Carol, love your review! I'm a fan of Jodi's and love that she makes New Hampshire her home too!"

Thanks! Me too! See you soon...


message 7: by Karen (new) - added it

Karen Carol wrote: "Karen wrote: "Carol, love your review! I'm a fan of Jodi's and love that she makes New Hampshire her home too!"

Thanks! Me too! See you soon..."


Looking forward to it! Counting the days :)


Carol It occurred to me that I never mentioned how painful some of this book is to read. Perhaps I was avoiding the subject of The Holocaust. Though fiction, you know that the stories told here, those of both the survivors and those who did not, are based on lives of living, breathing individuals. This bothers me more and more the older I get. In this regard, it does make this book hard to read.


message 9: by Kats (new)

Kats Oh, I am tempted now to pick this for book club, perhaps for a shortlist when we have "holocaust genre" if such awful thing exists.
I'd be especially tempted because some of the self-acclaimed high-brow people in the book club said that they've never read anyone as low-brow as Picoult. LOL It might change their opinion.....


Carol Kats wrote: "I'd be especially tempted because some of the self-acclaimed hi..."

Oh my. I don't think I could be in this group. I like a variety of books. Our group tended to stay away from thriller/mysteries but chose one last year. We had a great discussion perhaps better than some of the classics we have done. I think a book group would find lots to chat about with a Picoult book, even if only to tear it apart!


message 11: by Kats (new)

Kats I've only read two of her books, and I enjoyed them. They were both quite "topical" so I can see how they'd lend themselves to a good BC discussion.
I am in three book groups; this one is getting on my nerves a bit, but there are a couple of people in it whom I love to see and discuss with, so I'm hanging in there for now (until I've poached them for one of my other groups - ha!).


Carol Kats wrote: "I've only read two of her books, and I enjoyed them. They were both quite "topical" so I can see how they'd lend themselves to a good BC discussion.
I am in three book groups; this one is getting..."


You are a trooper!


message 13: by Mary Ronan (new) - added it

Mary Ronan Drew This is a great review, Carol, considering how many spoilers you had to tiptoe around. It makes me want to read the book. And more of Picoult.


Carol Mary Ronan wrote: "This is a great review, Carol, considering how many spoilers you had to tiptoe around. It makes me want to read the book. And more of Picoult."
Very kind coming from someone who reviews so well!


message 15: by Mary Ronan (new) - added it

Mary Ronan Drew Carol wrote: "Mary Ronan wrote: "This is a great review, Carol, considering how many spoilers you had to tiptoe around. It makes me want to read the book. And more of Picoult."
Very kind coming from someone who ..."


You were convincing enough that I've requested the book from the library. (Like I need another book on my toppling TBR pile . . .)


message 16: by Lori (new)

Lori my daughter works for one of the libraries in our area in Michigan. the main library has a "book Burrow" in the basement. a few days a week you can go there and but discarded books from the library or books that were donated by the public to the book burrow. we donate the books we no longer want{ or have room for} to the book burrow.I like to see books go to good use.


Carol Lori wrote: "my daughter works for one of the libraries in our area in Michigan. the main library has a "book Burrow" in the basement. a few days a week you can go there and but discarded books from the library..."We have a small book nook in our library where people can purchase a good book at a bargain.


message 18: by Lori (new)

Lori I have bought many used books from our book burrow. like your library a great way to get books at a inexpensive price.


Carol :) Thanks for the plug for libraries!


Sharron Adopted Authors--What a great idea!


Carol Sharron wrote: "Adopted Authors--What a great idea!"
It's a win-win concept. It costs me little, far less than what I spend buying books throughout the year. I get to read my favorite authors, the library and community both benefit from the gift.


Deborah Cornwell What a fantastic idea to donate. Very generous and inspiring. I am lucky enough to usually be able to buy the books I love. I like the idea of sharing with others.


Carol Deborah wrote: "What a fantastic idea to donate. Very generous and inspiring. I am lucky enough to usually be able to buy the books I love. I like the idea of sharing with others."
:)


message 24: by Krystal (new) - added it

Krystal Edmunds Great review. I found it extremely graphic to read as I also feel I've avoided books on the topic of the holocaust.

I'm curious of what you dislike that she does in her writing though!


Tzipora Great review and I've got to ask... How did you get into the adopted authors thing? Is this something libraries commonly do? Or was it your idea? Very cool. A few years back my local library had a Jodi Picoult book ( the one with the lesbian storyline. Can't think of the title. Didn't even know what it was about when I picked it up but I seriously applaud her for that and as a Jew I love that there's almost always a Jewish character in her books) Anyway, I picked up that book and realized my library had reviewed it and set it out a solid two weeks before its official release! Do you get your adopted books early?

Mostly I'm also commenting to ask- that thing she does in her books that you don't like that she did here... Is uh, that something about the way her books end? (I'm trying not to give it away either and have no idea if I'm right as I just started reading- a library copy at that. ;) But if so darn it! I loved that in my very first book of hers that I read but the more I read of her the more I dislike it too. In fact I only picked this book up because I keep hearing its good but in general she seems to follow such a specific formula that regardless of the theme/topic she's writing about, all her books start to sound the same...

With all that said, I'm about 100pgs I'm and about to go read some more and so far I'm intrigued. And I have to say I've personally read a ton of both fiction and non-fiction Holocaust books and give this one props for uniqueness. And nothing can be as bad as my least favorite book of all times which happens to also be a well known Holocaust fiction- The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. Ugh! Even if The Storyteller pulls a predictable Jodi Picoult formula (though I hope I'm wrong) it'll still be a million times better than Boy in the Striped Pajamas. ;)


message 26: by Carol (new)

Carol i wonder if the thing you wish she wouldn't do is the same thing I wish she wouldn't do.


Carol I think what I wish she wouldn't do is go for the twist or shocker. She is too good of an author who writes great characters and issues and doesn't need to grab me this way. Also, I'm not a fan of formula and don't always like that she tells the story using chapter/character point of view.


message 28: by Carol (new)

Carol The thing I don't like has only happened a couple of times... often she leaves you with a moral or an ethical dilemma to ponder. I hate when she tries to decide which side you should be on for you.


Carol Carol - ok, I can see that too. Presenting a moral dilemma, one for discussion has merit but tipping the scales one way or another doesn't seem right. I'll have to watch for this tactic.


message 30: by Patty (new)

Patty Just stumbled on this review as I was looking at your book list. Good review and the adopted author program is fascinating. What a good idea.


Carol Patty wrote: "Just stumbled on this review as I was looking at your book list. Good review and the adopted author program is fascinating. What a good idea."

Thanks Patty...Many libraries have adopted author programs. It's a neat way to boost a budget and allow the library to purchase more materials for their community. A win-win situation in my book.


Jin Jie Hi Carol! I'm really curious what was the thing that Picoult did that discounted the pleasantness of this book for you?


message 33: by Carol (new)

Carol There are at least two Carol's in this thread! One Carol's comment #27 and my comment #28 explain a couple of complaints. Mine did not pertain to this particular book and I can't remember the title of the one I was thinking of-so sorry!Comment #29 is one Carol commenting back to me (Carol) lol!


Carol Jin wrote: "Hi Carol! I'm really curious what was the thing that Picoult did that discounted the pleasantness of this book for you?"

OK, I think #27 explains my feelings without spoiling the book.


message 35: by Mike (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mike This is a wonderful review, Carol. You highlighted many things I enjoyed about this one.


Carol Mike wrote: "This is a wonderful review, Carol. You highlighted many things I enjoyed about this one."

Oh, you are making me blush Mike.


message 37: by Christina (new) - added it

Christina I became a Jodi Picoult fan with her book "Sing You Home". Never heard of the adopt an authour program. I think it's a wonderful idea.


Carol Christina wrote: "I became a Jodi Picoult fan with her book "Sing You Home". Never heard of the adopt an authour program. I think it's a wonderful idea."

Picoult has much to offer to her readers.
Many libraries offer an adopt the author program. It's a win-win for the library and the patron. Of course, it's the library's choice as to final decisions on purchasing but most libraries will buy the popular authors anyway. If your library doesn't offer this service, ask if they would consider doing so.


message 39: by da (new)

da AL generous & wonderful, Carol :)


Suzanne Arcand What a generous thing to do than to share the book you love with your library.


Richard Although I did not like Leaving Time so much, I just read and enjoyed this book a lot. Enough that I will read more of Picoult’s work.

I, too, sometimes donate a book to my local public library. I like ‘sharing’ with others in that way.

Good reading to you!


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