“It’s amazing what you can convince yourself of, if you buy into the lie.”
Genre: Historical Fiction
Number of Pages: 460
Perspective: Alternating First
Location: New England, Germany, and other parts of Europe
The Storyteller is about a girl, Sage, that is asked to partake in assisted suicide and to forgive an ex-Nazi. Her grandma was a survivor of the Holocaust, so she has to decide what is the right thing to do. For a complete summary, you can go here.
Let me start off by saying that I am not a Jodi Picoult fan. She has written so many books, and many of them become very well known. I have read two of her books and I was not impressed. They were boring and drawn out. But all of her books, including this one, have to do with some sort of ethical dilemma. More on that later. After reading her book Change of Heart, I vowed to never read one of her books again. But my book club happened to choose The Storyteller this month, so I had to suck it up and give her another chance. Honestly, I am very grateful that I did.
If you’ve read any of my other reviews, you probably know that I hate knowing anything about a book before reading it. I don’t even read the summary on the back. I usually go based on recommendations or—gasp—the cover. The cover of this book looks sweet and innocent. I had NO idea that this was a book about the Holocaust. Boy, was I in of a surprise. I normally hate historical fiction novels. I have never been good at history and find it to be rather boring. So everything was against this book before I started reading it, but it really was a great book.
If you are looking for a feel-good, light read, this is not the one for you. It is sad, brutal, and really difficult to get through. But it is definitely a book worth reading. It gives a new perspective on Nazis and the effects of clumping the actions of an individual into the actions of a group. The main theme is forgiveness: who can give it and who deserves it? Like many of Jodi’s books, it is sorting through an ethical dilemma. We are taken through the perspectives of many different people so the main character can decide what’s right and what’s wrong. And we can also make our own decisions about that. At least in my book club, everyone has a different opinion about what the main character should do, including the opposite of what actually happens in the story—I can’t say more than that without ruining the story.
The best books are ones where you walk away from them with a whole new idea about something or feeling deeply about an issue that you’ve never really cared about before. I could see this as a great book to complement a history class talking about World War II. If you are interested in buying the book, you can buy it here. After you have read it, leave a comment and let me know what you think!
“In my own room, I looked around. What you grab, if you had to pack up your life in only minutes?”