Nancy McKibben's Reviews > The Storyteller

The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult
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really liked it
bookshelves: historical-fiction, reviewed, world-war-2
Recommended for: Picoult fans; readers with an interest in the Holocaust

The Storyteller
By Jodi Picault

The reader can always count on Jodi Picoult for a good story, and in this novel, the stories are really flying. First, we have the story of the protagonist, Sage Singer, a twenty-something baker who blames herself for her mother’s death. She befriends an elderly man who confesses a terrible secret and asks for a terrible favor. This confession results in several more stories: that of the elderly man and his brother; of Sage’s grandmother; of a love interest; of a werewolf (this story created by Sage’s grandmother) All the stories are told concurrently.

If you’re a sucker for the story-within-a-story, clearly this is the book for you. Picoult manages to keep everything straight for us, more or less, following the different threads in italic, boldface, and a different font all together - and, thankfully, also by labeling each passage with the name of its teller. (Except for the werewolf story, which is in italics but not otherwise identified.)

Without giving anything away, the story happens both the present and during World War II, specifically in the Warsaw ghetto and concentration camps. I’ve read a lot about the Holocaust, and I have to admit that I skipped a good bit of that part (it comes in the middle.) I could see that some of it would be hard to read, but after I finished the book, I went back and read it.

Picoult uses her stories to examine some difficult moral issues, forgiveness primary among them. Although her protagonist was sometimes too self-hating to be good company, the other stories made up for hers, and she improved by the end of the book. Sage’s grandmother, Minka, tells the most compelling story, which is set in Auschwitz.

How do we become good? How do we become bad? These are big questions. I didn’t necessarily love this book, but I kept thinking about it after I finished reading.

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Reading Progress

July 15, 2013 – Started Reading
July 16, 2013 – Finished Reading
July 20, 2013 – Shelved
July 20, 2013 – Shelved as: historical-fiction
July 20, 2013 – Shelved as: reviewed
August 11, 2013 – Shelved as: world-war-2

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