Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult

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Title: Plain Truth
Series: N/A
Author: Jodi Picoult
Genre: Contemporary Literature
Release Date: 2000
Format Read: Paperback
Pages: 422
Rating: 3feathers

“Back of Book” Summary:

A shocking murder shatters the picturesque calm of Pennsylvania’s Amish country — and tests the heart and soul of the lawyer who steps in to defend the young woman at the center of the storm… Plain Truth The discovery of a dead infant in an Amish barn shakes Lancaster County to its core. But the police investigation leads to a more shocking disclosure: circumstantial evidence suggests that eighteen-year-old Katie Fisher, an unmarried Amish woman believed to be the newborn’s mother, took the child’s life. When Ellie Hathaway, a disillusioned big-city attorney, comes to Paradise, Pennsylvania, to defend Katie, two cultures collide — and, for the first time in her high-profile career, Ellie faces a system of justice very different from her own. Delving deep inside the world of those who live “plain,” Ellie must find a way to reach Katie on her terms. And as she unravels a tangled murder case, Ellie also looks deep within — to confront her own fears and desires when a man from her past reenters her life. Moving seamlessly from psychological drama to courtroom suspense, Plain Truth is a fascinating portrait of Amish life — and a moving exploration of the bonds of love, friendship, and the heart’s most complex choices.

My Review:

I previously reviewed Jodi Picoult’s The Pact which you can read here. I’ve recently read Picoult’s Plain Truth. The two plots are not comparable, but I can say that I enjoyed The Pact much better for the fact that as soon as I finished the book I blurted out “wow.” However, Plain Truth was a good book.

Picoult is a master of drawing the reader in. I also found the story interesting because it takes place where I used to live in central Pennsylvania. An unwed Amish teenager gives birth to a baby alone in a barn. The next day the baby is found dead and the mother is charged with its murder. The story leads the reader through Amish customs and lifestyle to show the affect that this type of pregnancy has on the community. The story was very good, however, the ending was predictable. Although the book doesn’t specifically say, it’s implied that there wasn’t actually a murder and that the baby died of a natural cause, but the person who covered up the death was predictable. I take this into account when comparing it with The Pact which had a very surprising ending.

Although the underlying ghost story running throughout the book is really intriguing to me, it felt out-of-place. Picoult tries to build multidimensional characters and stories, but in Plain Truth the integration of these layers is a bit rough. Nevertheless, if you like Picoult’s style and/or an Amish setting, I would recommend this.

The Pact by Jodi Picoult

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Title: The Pact
Series: N/A
Author: Jodi Picoult
Genre: Contemporary Literature
Release Date: 1998
Format Read: Paperback
Pages: 512
Rating: 4feathers

“Back of Book” Summary:

For eighteen years the Hartes and the Golds have lived next door to each other, sharing everything from Chinese food to chicken pox to carpool duty– they’ve grown so close it seems they have always been a part of each other’s lives. Parents and children alike have been best friends, so it’s no surprise that in high school Chris and Emily’s friendship blossoms into something more. They’ve been soul mates since they were born.

So when midnight calls from the hospital come in, no one is ready for the appalling truth: Emily is dead at seventeen from a gunshot wound to the head. There’s a single unspent bullet in the gun that Chris took from his father’s cabinet– a bullet that Chris tells police he intended for himself. But a local detective has doubts about the suicide pact that Chris has described.

My Review:

Jodi Picoult is known for her original and suspenseful fiction about difficult and usually unsettling subjects.  She wrote the book My Sister’s Keeper, which was made into a successful Hollywood movie several years ago- a movie that raised a lot of debates. The Pact was the first book by Picoult’s that I’ve read, and it certainly won’t be the last. I can’t say I particularly liked the story. It was horribly sad and heartbreaking. I hope never happens to any family.  But this is the reaction Picoult wants us to have. The story was intense. The book was well written and kept my attention. It took me several days to read this book, there were times it became too intense that I needed to just walk away from it for awhile. Sometimes I want a light read, a beautiful or imaginative story. But sometimes this is what I want from a book. An intellectual challenge. An impact. Life isn’t always peachy keen. Bad things do happen to good people.

Emily and Chris make a suicide pact. This is hardly conceivable for most of us. Emily was in pain. She had terrible secrets, but never sought help. Help that would have been given to her. She thought the only way out was death. Chris wanted desperately to stop her, but instead enabled her. He loved her so much he would do anything for her, even help her kill herself even though he knew he wouldn’t be able to live without her. The story is about Chris in prison awaiting trial for almost a year, the trial itself, and the mental anguish of the two sets of parents whose relationships fall apart. We are given on bits and pieces of the story of Emily’s life through flashbacks. This makes for great impact on the reader. I felt I had to keep reading, I had to know more. And as much as I’ve heard that Jodi Picoult’s other books are just as brutal for the reader, I want to read them.