{Summer Reading} The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult

Wednesday, July 31, 2013 | Stamp in My Passport| , |

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

I want to start this review off by saying that if you are looking for a fun, lighthearted book to skim while lounging by the pool, then don't pick up "The Storyteller." If you have read any other of Picoult's books, you know what I mean. (Anyone remember "My Sister's Keeper"? They should have sold a box of Kleenex along with it.)

"The Storyteller" centers around one elderly man's wish for forgiveness. Joseph Weber has a long-buried secret that he has to get off his chest. He befriends Sage, a solitary baker who prefers the nocturnal schedule of baking bread and pastries for the early morning customers to dealing with people. After they meet at grief counseling, they strike an unlikely friendship because they both have baggage they would rather not share.

Joseph confesses that he was a Nazi soldier working in one of the concentration camps. Because he knows Sage is a Jew, he believes that her forgiveness of his actions sixty years prior can absolve his sins for the thousands of others that watched murdered. So what is Sage to do? Does she forgive this frail 90 year old man for the heinous crimes that he committed in his youth? I will not spoil any more of the plot, because there are several major twists and turns. 

In high school, my English class did a large unit on Holocaust history and read the classics, Night, Anne Frank, and watched several movies. Never have I read an interpretation from the point of view of a Holocaust survivor's grandchild (Spoiler: Sage's grandmother survived living in Auschwitz.) While not based on a true story, "The Storyteller" faces the issue of forgiveness head on.

Sage is faced with deciding to forgive Joseph, even though she is not the person who truly has the right to forgive; they are all dead. Joseph also begs Sage to help him die. He has lived a long life, survived cancer, buried his wife and believes that he is being punished by continuing to live. Sage is faced with a moral dilemma: Is helping Joseph die the same as what he did to countless Jews? Does he deserve to get his way? 

Have the tissues on hand for this one. The recount of Sage's grandmothers experiences in the concentration camp were the most difficult part to read, however knowing that she ultimately survives, makes it bearable. "The Storyteller" will make you stop and consider the limits of forgiveness and who has the right to forgive whom.

On a MUCH lighter note, you should head over to Mish Lovin' Life and enter the giveaway that I'm participating in! Everyone love free stuff, am I right? Lots of gift cards up for grabs and even some ad space for the bloggers of you out there.

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