Saturday, January 14, 2017

The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult

The Storyteller
Release Date: February 26th, 2013
Publisher: Atria
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 460 Pages
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Reason: Personal Interest

Sage Singer befriends an old man who's particularly beloved in her community. Josef Weber is everyone's favorite retired teacher and Little League coach. They strike up a friendship at the bakery where Sage works. One day he asks Sage for a favor: to kill him. Shocked, Sage refuses... and then he confesses his darkest secret—he deserves to die, because he was a Nazi SS guard. Complicating the matter? Sage's grandmother is a Holocaust survivor.
What do you do when evil lives next door? Can someone who's committed a truly heinous act ever atone for it with subsequent good behavior? Should you offer forgiveness to someone if you aren't the party who was wronged? And most of all—if Sage even considers his request—is it murder, or justice?

“Sometimes, all it takes to become human again is someone who can see you that way, no matter how you present on the surface.” 

It is no secret here at The Crazy Bookworm that I LOVE  Jodi Picoult. She is one of my 'auto-buy' authors, meaning I will buy anything she writes without even have a clue what the book is about. I find that she can craft the most diverse characters and the stories she pens are known to etch their way into my heart forever. 

The Storyteller was no exception. As a history buff, I have always had a...fascination(for lack of a better word) with WW2. I find that there are still so many untold stories that are being unearthed everyday. Picoult introduces us to Sage Singer, a night shift baker that is currently in a grief support group; grieving over the loss of her mother.  It is at this support group where she meets Josef Weber, a kind, gentle 95 year old man grieving the loss of his wife. Sage and Josef begin an unlikely friendship. Josef, enjoying Sage's company and baking, and Sage, enjoying having a friend, period. Someone that she can be herself completely with. As the premise details, Josef then asks Sage for a favour, to help him die, and with this, a story unfolds. A story that once told, you can never be the person you were before you the story began. This story will alter you. Will change your opinions, your view on the world and will leave you with more questions than answers. As a reader, it will have you going over so many questions in your own mind. What would you do?

One thing I adore about Picoult's writing is her delivery. She presents her novels(most of the time) in multiple perspective, but does it in such a way that every single character has a strong, independent voice. No character blends into the other. The simple trick of changing the font for each character adds to this, and makes for an easier reading experience. Who knew that a font type could suit a character!

I have to say, Josef immediately earned a special place in my heart. Yes, as you'll read, there will be moments where you may question me. But as I said, this novel will make you question your own opinions, and you won't be able to help asking yourself: "What would I do?". I formed my opinion of Josef on who he is today, even after his story was told. Complicated isn't even a big enough word to describe it!

It is hard to find words to describe how I felt while reading this book. I have to say that it is one of my favourites by Jodi Picoult, but one of the hardest to read. Jodi Picoult never lacks in research when it comes to crafting her novels, and you can tell that she went above and beyond for this novel. The characters may be fictional but I'm certain this novel is loaded with truth. I believe the story that she told is the story of many survivors and non-survivors of that time.

Another outstanding novel! The Storyteller will leave it's mark on you forever!

"I do believe in people. In their strength to help each other, and to thrive in spite of the odds."

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