One of my lovely friends gave me “The Storyteller” by Jodi Picoult for my birthday this year. She knows I love to read a good “sink your teeth in” book and this one hit the spot! I have read Jodi Picoult before and I love the way she tackles tricky subjects and throws me into an “oh, I don’t know what I would do!” spin.
I loved this book!! “The Storyteller” kept me wanting more and was such a great read I just have to share it with you.
It’s about 25 year old Sage Singer who is a baker. She likes her job because she works permanent night-shift. Who would want to have that kind of life? Sage does. She gets lost in her world of pastries and breads while the world is sleeping. It’s the perfect escape for her. She has a scar running down one side of her face and she is extremely self-conscious about it and it has caused her to become a recluse. The scar on the outside of her body is mirrored by a bigger scar on the inside of her. She got her scars in a car accident. She was driving. Her mother was killed in the accident and Sage feels responsible. Her physical scar serves as a constant reminder of this tragedy.
Sage regularly attends a grief support group (I felt this was a bit out of character for her…but anyway….) and befriends an old man called Josef Weber. After Josef and Sage become close, he tells her a secret about his past; he was a Nazi commander in the Holocaust at Auschwitz concentration camp. Sage comes from a Jewish background although she is adamant that she personally is an atheist. He tells Sage that he committed horrific crimes and killed many Jews. He asks Sage for an extraordinary favour; to forgive him and help him commit suicide because of how guilty he feels about what he has done. Wow. That is huge! What is she going to do with this? If she says yes, she faces not only moral repercussions, but potentially legal ones as well.
Sage contacts the authorities about what Josef has told her and into her life comes Leo! Leo investigates Holocaust victims and the potential prosecution of former Nazi officers. Leo likes Sage! (and I like Leo for liking Sage!) There is a potential for romance here that spices things up a bit!
In addition to this situation, is the story of Sage’s grandmother Minka (and her best friend Darija), who was a survivor of the Holocaust and was a prisoner at Auschwitz. Minka’s story is the actual horror that Josef himself claims he was partly responsible for. This section of the book was difficult to stomach at times mainly because I knew that it was based on truth. Jodi Picoult describes life at Auschwitz so well, I feel like I’ve been there myself. Minka’s information could help Sage and Leo ensure that justice is served to Josef Weber.
Another part of the plot is the story that Minka wrote during her turbulent life. She is The Storyteller. Writing was her way of escaping the atrocities that she faced every day of her young life. Her writings are very fictional but you can see how she was influenced by what was happening around her at the time of writing.
I don’t want to give too much away here because there is a twist at the end that I didn’t see coming (I had to read the ending twice to make sure that I had read correctly!).
This book stayed with me in my head during the day when I wasn’t reading it and even though some parts are difficult to accept, I had to keep reading to find out what Sage would ultimately do. Would she help Josef die?
Photo credit : the inkpotblogger ( https:// thepenandinkpot.blogspot.com.au )
Check your local library or book shop for “The Storyteller” by Jodi Picoult. I recommend it!