Tuesday, March 26, 2013

{read: WWII moral dilemma fiction} The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult

The Storyteller is Jodi Picoult's best book in recent years. The story of a scarred — inside and out — young woman who is asked to forgive and then kill a Nazi who worked at a concentration camp will draw you in. Sage Singer can't imagine how Josef Weber, who is a retired high school teacher and a pillar of the community where he now lives, was ever a Nazi. But then he tells her about his childhood and his history during the war, and she's appalled. She calls the FBI to report Weber, and when the investigator learns that Sage's grandmother is a Holocaust survivor, he asks if she might be able to identify him. This is first time Sage has heard about what her grandmother endured, although she's always known about the concentration camp tattoo on her arm.

While the beginning and end of this story are trademark Picoult with ethical dilemmas and alternating points of view, the strength of the book is the center, where Sage's grandmother tells the story of what it was like to be a Jew in Poland when Hitler came to power in Germany. I've read several WWII books, but this one is powerful. I'd recommend the book for the center section alone. That being said, I thought the ending was rushed and left some things unresolved. I don't need things to all be tied up neatly, but there were some issues raised near the end that deserved more time than they got.

The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult (Atria/Emily Bestler Books, 2013)
My rating: 4 stars

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