by Jodi Picoult
Why did you choose this book? I read everything ‘Jodi Picoult’
When did you read this book? April 2013
Who should read this book? Jodi Picoult fans, of course, but also anyone with an interest in historical fiction of the WWII/holocaust era
Some stories live forever . . .
Sage Singer is a baker. She works through the night, preparing the day’s breads and pastries, trying to escape a reality of loneliness, bad memories, and the shadow of her mother’s death. When Josef Weber, an elderly man in Sage’s grief support group, begins stopping by the bakery, they strike up an unlikely friendship. Despite their differences, they see in each other the hidden scars that others can’t, and they become companions.
Everything changes on the day that Josef confesses a long-buried and shameful secret—one that nobody else in town would ever suspect—and asks Sage for an extraordinary favor. If she says yes, she faces not only moral repercussions, but potentially legal ones as well. With her own identity suddenly challenged, and the integrity of the closest friend she’s ever had clouded, Sage begins to question the assumptions and expectations she’s made about her life and her family. When does a moral choice become a moral imperative? And where does one draw the line between punishment and justice, forgiveness and mercy?
In this searingly honest novel, Jodi Picoult gracefully explores the lengths we will go in order to protect our families and to keep the past from dictating the future.
WOW! I’m not even sure where to begin. If you’ve followed many of my reviews, you already know I like Jodi Picoult and rate all her books high, but some I rate higher than others. This is definitely up at the top of the list!
I’m not really sure how to review this, but I’ll start by saying this is a book that begs for discussion! There is so much to discuss here, from the concept of forgiveness and who benefits most by forgiving to the culpability of war criminals and the concept of ‘assisted suicide’.
It’s hard to tell you about this book without including spoilers. There are three stories running through the book. The first is centered around Sage SInger, a young woman who has lost both of her parents and only has her grandmother now. Sage has participated in a grief support group for three years. She befriends a 95-year old man, Josef, who is well respected in the community and has recently lost his wife. The friendship develops well until Josef asks Sage to help him die.
The second story is about the holocaust and specifically about Sage’s grandmother, Minka, a holocaust survivor. This story centers around her experiences during the war years, and is a difficult read, as anything involving the holocaust should be.
The third story is a tale written by Minka, mostly before the war, involving vampires and evil. The story echoes some of the themes in the book, including forgiveness and sacrifice. This story is woven throughout the book.
It is interesting to see how the stories all come together. Like all Jodi Picoult books, this one has a twist at the ending. This is a thought provoking book that, as I said at the beginning, begs to be discussed. It will be a great choice for book clubs; the discussions could go on for days! It is a ‘must read’ for all fans of Jodi Picoult, but even for those who do not normally read her books, this is well worth picking up!
You can read more about this book on JodiPicoult.com, where you will find reviews, and author interview, and discussion questions. If you’ve read this, let me know what you think.
My Rating: ★★★★★ 5 Stars