Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult (audio)

★★★★ 1/2
"History isn't about the dates and places and wars.  It's about the people who fill the spaces between them."

Sage Singer is a loaner in her small town - which is why working the late night shift at a bakery is the perfect job for her.  She loves her job, but has been a in a bit of a rut lately.  Both of her parents have recently died, she hardly talks to her sisters, her boyfriend is married, and her only real friend is her boss.  One day at the bakery, she strikes up a unique friendship with an elderly man named Josef.  Josef is seen as legend in the town - teaching German at the high school and coaching baseball - and frequently comes to the bakery with his dog.  Sage and Josef begin spending a lot of time together, but one day Josef asks her to help him die.  Sage is shocked at the request and Josef confesses that he was a Nazi during World War II.  Unknown to Josef (or so she thinks), Sage also has a link to the holocaust.  Her grandmother was a survivor of Auschwitz.  As Sage struggles to make a decision, she also learns the story of her grandmother.  She is left with many questions about family, forgiveness, and acceptance.

I really enjoyed this book!  I've been wanting to read this for awhile - being a Jodi Picoult fan and having read lots of holocaust/World War II novels.  This book was a little different from her usual.  I had the ending pretty much figured out (which usually doesn't happen) towards the middle of the book, but I kept second guessing myself.  I liked Sage's story, but what really kept me going was the story of Minka, Sage's grandmother, and her experiences during the war.  For awhile, I almost forgot that Minka was just one part of the novel.  I also loved her writing of a fairy tale that ultimately saved her live in the camps.  It was really unique and has so many connects to her life.  This novel brought up a lot of questions about what was right and wrong and if someone can ever truly be forgiven for their past.

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