Wednesday, August 4, 2010

First Impressions: Jodi Picoult

So because I occasionally read another blog with an awesome name, I decided to try reading a Jodi Picoult book.

I had never read her work before because, quite frankly, I had seen a Lifetime movie based on one of her books called "The Pact," and it was really, really horrible, despite having the funny chick from Will & Grace, and I didn't think that the woman who wrote the book that inspired it was my style.

BUT, I trust Possum, who recommended her work to me.

To be fair, it was not as horrible as I expected. At the same time, I did not consider her work to be genius, nor particularly probing.

Jodi Picoult is lauded as a writer who makes her readers really think about difficult issues. So I guess I was expecting something new while I was reading Salem Falls.

In a nutshell, Salem Falls deals with the topics of rape and witchcraft.

I wouldn't say that Picoult dealt with it in a horrible manner. I thought she was sensitive, and I thought that she did a pretty good job of showing multiple facets of rape.

I also, however, thought her book was fairly predictable. The very end of the novel feels like it's supposed to be a twist, something the reader didn't see on a first reading. Well, I saw it, and I saw it within the first third of the novel, which is relatively early.

I did like that the ending wasn't quite so black and white. I was kind of expecting that all of the bad guys were going to be outed, and that the good guy (there was really only one) was going to be exonerated, and if the book had ended that way, I would be decrying it as a piece of unrealistic tripe.

Overall, I can see why Picoult is a bestselling author. Really, I can. It's because she writes like a romance writer, but one who can pretend her books aren't just about love and happy endings and sex. The core of her novels, however, is that love is redeeming. That it "lifts us up where we belong" as some idealist once sang. It's a nice message. Picoult doesn't present it in a very interesting way, however. She presents it in a predictable way.

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