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The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult

February 14, 2019

Sage is a baker struggling with her mother’s death: alone in the world until she meets Josef, an elderly man in her grief group. They strike up an unlikely friendship, but everything changes when he asks her for an impossible favor and confesses who he really is—not the Little League coach and retired teacher as everyone assumes, but a former Nazi SS Guard. With her view of this man completely changed and her grandmother a Holocaust survivor, she must decide what to do about the favor he asked—one that may have legal consequences if she grants it but personal ones if she doesn’t—and whether to forgive him or give her grandmother the revenge she deserves.

This gripping novel by Jodi Picoult from told in five perspectives. It starts with just Sage, and the others come in when their characters are introduced and wind around her perspective. I thought this was effective because it allows Sage to be the main character and her story to be in the foreground, but it also gives the reader all the background information and additional stories to make the plot more interesting.

Another effective aspect of the distinct perspectives is that each is in a different font. This is helpful because, since the perspectives usually last around twenty pages, the fonts make it easy to know which one you are reading if you flip to a random page. I thought the length of these narratives was effective because the reader has time to really get into each one, but they aren’t so long that the audience forgets other pieces of the story. They are also all told in first person voice, which I think allows the audience to have a deep connection to each character. 

I thought that Picoult successfully withholds information, such as Josef’s real name and who the fifth perspective is. I found this effective because it keeps the reader wanting to read on to find the missing information. The perspectives also change at critical moments in the characters’ stories, which adds to the suspenseful tone.

Picoult meaningfully incorporates many genres, including historical fiction, realistic fiction, survival, and touches of fantasy and romance. This makes this book accessible for everyone, and although the historical and survival aspects were my favorite, the others added nice touches to the story, and I found myself enjoying them as well.

I would rate this book a ten out of ten for its well-developed characters and captivating plot line, and I would recommend it to everyone twelve and over. So what are you waiting for? Go grab a copy and prepare for a phenomenal read that you just can’t put down.


Simon and Schuster, Inc., 460 Pages.

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