It has been so long since I have read a book that I chose, that I wanted to read, and that I read for no other reason than that. I guess that’s what happens when you are an English major and taking two classes that have “read” in their titles. I am glad that I broke my reading for pleasure fast on Jodi Picoult’s The Storyteller.
In The Storyteller, Picoult asks a lot of tough questions–tough questions that don’t have clear answers. She asks, “Can people ever really change their ways?” She asks, “Who can give forgiveness?” She asks, “What does it mean to be a bad person?”
The story is about Sage, a young baker who has not yet found her way. The story is also about Josef Weber, a well-loved man in his nineties with a secret past. When Sage and Josef become friends, Josef asks for a favor–he asks Sage to help him kill himself. But as Sage simultaneously learns more about Josef’s past and her grandmother’s past, she becomes less certain about what is the right thing to do.
Picoult has done the title justice. She combines authentic characters with a perfectly pieced together plot and just the right amount of questions for the reader to think about. I particularly liked the way she pulls the baking/bread motif through all aspects of the story and the way she examines the importance and power a story can hold for us. She illustrates perfectly how humans are creatures of narrative, and how a story can save you, in more ways than one.
Picoult, Jodi. The Storyteller. New York: Atria/Emily Bestler, 2013.
Image from bn.com.