Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Author Discussion: Jodi Picoult

Having just finished reading Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult I was going to include her as an 'author of note' for this month. However on closer review of some of her past books I realised that I have quite mixed feelings about some of her novels. Therefore this months Author to Note has been turned into an Author Discussion, lets address the good and the bad shall we?

If you love reading about topics that spark debate, thought and tackle big ideas than Picoult is a must-read. She's also an author who loves exploring complex ideas from multiple points of view. There always seems to be so much more to her characters than just good or bad, as Picoult prefers to shows us her characters faults as well as their strengths. I always feel that her books encompass the many shades of grey that issues in life often are rather than being black or white.

Many of her books would be great recommendations for a book club or just for a read that makes you think and I'm always left questioning the outcome of her novels. For better or worse I do love a book that makes me question the characters and their actions. What I love about her books is that the story is never quite as straight forward as you first think, there is always some twist at the end to keep you guessing or a revelation that completely changes your view of the characters she portrays.

The not so good part? Sometimes I feel if you've read one Jodi Picoult novel you may as well have read them all. (Nineteen Minutes I think is an exception, if you are going to read one read that!) Her novels can be very formulaic and seem to always include a suffering mother who doesn't always make the right decisions for her family, a courtroom drama and an annoyingly convenient love story that distracts from the main point of the book and doesn't really add anything of value.

Here are my favourite Jodi Picoult picks:

Nineteen Minutes: In nineteen minutes the lives of the students at Sterling High will never be the same again as 17-year-old Peter Houghton unleashes a massacre on his fellow students. There's no doubt as to his role in the shooting but the students and teacher who died that day were not the only victims.

My Sisters Keeper: Anna is conceived to save the life of her sick sister Kate. By age thirteen she has undergone multiple surgeries and become almost as sick at times as her sister who has leukemia. When Anna is asked to donate a kidney to her sister, a major operation with serious side-effects Anna decides to fight for her right to control her own body, a move that will tear her already broken family apart.

And in my opinion one to avoid:

Keeping Faith: In the middle of her parents divorce seven-year-old Faith White starts hearing divine voices, developing a stigmata and the ability to heal people. In the midst of a custody battle, Faith is thrust into a media circus surrounding whether her abilities are real or not. I actually really liked this book until the ending which pretty much clarified nothing for me!

What do you think of Jodi Picoult's novels - are you a fan or not?

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