I have to be in the mood for a Jodi Picoult book. Don't get me wrong, she's an incredibly talented writer and all, but she's just so damn intense. I can always depend on her to hit a hot button issue, twist it, turn it, play total havoc with it and bring out a kickass story. But, my God! By the time I'm half-way through the book, I'm a nervous fucking wreck (pardon the language).
Take The Holocaust for instance. Take the issue of manipulation. Take vulnerability and weakness after a heart-breaking accident. Take human frailty. Take religion. Take time and forgiveness on an individual and global level. Take looking for love in the wrong place. Take it all. Twist it. Turn it. Play havoc with it with several characters. Yup ... it comes out a kickass story.
Jodi Picoult has an almost formulaic way of putting a story together, In fact, in conversations with friends and fam who read her, that is one of the criticisms. No one can deny, though, that her stories are put together well and that she always causes a strong reaction to her plots, her characters, and her endings.
Here, in her latest novel, we find an emotionally and physically damaged young woman who befriends an elderly man at a group she attends for the grieving. He shares a dark secret with her and makes a most unconventional request. What's a girl to do? Therein lies the jumping off spot for the story ... Picoult doesn't stop there, however, She weaves in a parallel story that comes to the reader via the young woman's grandmother. Then, there's a side story brought in by the connection the woman makes when she digs into the past history of her elderly friend ... and there's his story. It all gets twisted, turned ...