Friday, March 29, 2013

Book Review: The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult

The StorytellerThe Storyteller by Jodi Picoult
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Storyteller is a really good book. I think that Jodi Picoult has managed to really score big on this one (at least I think she did -- you may or may not agree with me).

The book is about a woman named Sage Singer, a baker, who would like to believe that she is an atheist. She likes being alone and does not relish being around people. She has a scar she tries to hide as she is afraid people may find she is a "freak," she works the night shift so she does not have to be around people, but she does have a boyfriend who is a married man.

She is the grand daughter of a Holocaust survivor, Minka who never once shared anything about what it was like during the time when Jews were being persecuted by the Nazis. Sage had no idea what the halocaust was like for her grandmother. 

Sage then tries to find a way to deal with the knowledge that Josef was a Nazi and in the process learns more about what it was like for her grandmother, Minka. She learns about a story or novel that Minka had been writing while she was a girl, about an "upior" (the "undead" who lives on the blood of others) who falls in love with a village baker's daughter, Ania. The story became Minka's way of dealing with the horrors going on all around her.

It is a story about forgiveness -- how hard it is to find reasons to forgive, how difficult it is to assign blame, how challenging it is to even think about doing it when the acts that were committed are just beyond comprehension. It is about hiding secrets and how such secrets affect the lives of those who keep them.

Jodi Picoult presents 3 stories that merge into one. I found myself totally caught up in the story of Ania (the story Minka had written), the story of Minka -- as she lived in such brutal times, and the story of Sage who is trying to come to terms with it all.

Minka's story can be very difficult to read -- mainly because it paints a very bleak and painful picture of the life of Jews when the Nazi's were in power in Poland. Josef's version of events allows readers to view things from the point of view of an SS Officer -- it is no less difficult to read. However, the book enables the reader to look through two different lenses -- two different viewpoints -- and this makes the book very gripping. 

There are so many gems hidden within the words of Jodi Picoult and among them I am sharing one I find the most illuminating:

“But not all Jews were victims- look at Chairman Rumkowski, who sat safe with his new wife in his cushy home making lists, with the blood of my family on his hands. And not all Germans were murderers. Look at Herr Fassbinder, who had saved so many children on the night that children were taken away.”

I love The Storyteller probably more than any of Jodi's other works.

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Posted by: Bames Pabla
Bames Live, Updated at: 11:20 AM


  1. Brand new follower here, stopping by as an A to Z co-host, so: nice to meet you, Bames!