Happy Valentines Day to our Under the Oaks lovelies! This evening my husband and I have a night on the town planned, dinner and a show, Les Miserables at the Raleigh Theater and I’ll tell you what, I’m looking forward to leaving my house! I’ve been cooped up here for a few days (2014 Snowpocalypse) and I’m happy to use the elusive V-Day as an excuse to bust out of here.
I’ve always been a fan of Valentines Day, personally. I’m also a fan of Jodi Picoult’s newest literary selection, The Storyteller. You more than likely know Picoult’s work if you are familiar with “My Sister’s Keeper”, but she has many more novels that have just as compelling and controversial storylines as ever. If you are not familiar with Picoult’s work, you are missing out. A typical piece of Picoult work will take as many controversial topics as possible and mix with dozens of shocks, twists, and emotions and you’ve got yourself a literary piece of work.
The Storyteller has two main voices with a couple of others peppered throughout: 1) Sage a young girl in her 20s who has lost both of her parents, is known for her phenomenal bread baking, and keeps to herself because of a large facial scar (and all the baggage the scar eludes to) and 2) Minka, Sage’s grandmother who is a Holocaust survivor. The biggest twist is that Sage is befriended by an elderly man (from grief group) who asks Sage, shortly after becoming friends, to help him die after she forgives him for his past indiscretions: being a Nazi SS Guard at Auschwitz, the same camp at which her grandmother survived.
“The biggest mistake people make about Nazi war criminals is to assume they were always monsters before, during, and after the war. They weren’t, they were once ordinary men with fully operational consciences who made bad choices and had to fabricate excuses to themselves for the rest of their lives when they returned to a mundane existence.”
And if you didn’t think that would make a tall enough tale, add in the following: death, torture, sibling drama, infidelity, friendship, love, faith, forgiveness, and a whole lot of self-awareness.
In The Storyteller you can follow along with Sage in her tales of infidelity, hiding behind her facial scar and bread baking, and denying her religion all while deciding whether or not she were to kill this ex-Nazi upon finally hearing her grandmother’s riveting tale. There were so many moments of great sadness as you can imagine, moments of finding myself choked up and thinking about everyone in my life that I loved and what lengths I would go to for them, to protect them from such cruelties. It made me, myself, question how capable I was of forgiving someone who had done such horrible things.
“I’m not suggesting you forgive him because what he did was okay, it wasn’t. I’m suggesting you forgive him because otherwise he will grow like a weed in your heart until it is choked and overrun. The only person who suffers when you squirrel away all that hate is you.”
It was only in the last chapter of the book that I found myself disliking the main character, Sage. I won’t spoil the end, but I found myself thinking, “I wouldn’t have done that,” but honestly, it wasn’t my story to finish, it was Sage’s.
What have you been reading this month? I’m looking for book suggestions! xoxo ‘n lols, crystal