Posted by: Leah | July 28, 2013

Book Review – The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult


I will be honest: I have a love-hate relationship with Jodi Picoult books. Sometimes, I feel emotionally manipulated by her choice of topics, and sometimes I am in love with writing and the depth of characters.

When I started reading the book I did not know what I was getting myself into. The book is about Holocaust, and I have been trying for a little while to avoid books about Holocaust. I have read a way too many.

The book starts easy by describing a grief support the main character, Sage is attending and sets up a plot. I am almost always able to tell where Jodi Picoult intends to go with her plot, but not this time in. She had me guessing this time in. Sage, her job in the bakery, friendship with Mary, ex-nun, Sage’s sex affair with a married guy, friendship with a Nazi, Josef, Leo, an FBI agent, and Sage’s grandma, Minka, the storyteller.

The book tackles a very heavy topic – forgiveness. I, myself, am the worst when it comes to it. I tend to eliminate not to forget, and it was very interesting for me to see how characters wrestle with the idea of forgiveness in the book.

When Sage decided to turn in to FBI, her new friend Josef, who confessed to her he was an SS-officer during the war, she had to go through many conversations with him, and get to know his story, and then as a result of that the story of her grandmother, who is a Holocaust survivor.

As the story unfolds, I get to ask myself many times – what is forgiveness? How can it be done? what is it in the characters that has me so interested in them?

I loved how the book took the whole new perspective of WWII from the point of view of German youth, being brainwashed and pressured into doing something they could not imagine doing a day before, and then crossing lines and boundaries – one or ten at a time and transitioning to completely different existence. How can you say “never again” if you do not understand how this starts? The book helps to understand.

I am really happy that I got to read this book just before the month of Elul starts, the month that prepares us. Jews, for High Holy Days and when we ask for forgiveness and do our homework.

The book is a must read.

Some quotes from it:

..what he did was wrong. He doesn’t deserve your love. But he does deserve your forgiveness, because otherwise he will grow like a weed in your heart until it’s choked and overrun. The only person who suffers, when you squirrel away all that hate is you…forgiving isn’t something you do for someone else. It’s something you do for yourself. It’s saying, you’re not important enough to have a stranglehold on me. It’s saying, you don’t get to trap me in the past. I am worthy of a future.

“It doesn’t matter what it is that leaves a hole inside you. It just matters that it’s there.”

“I don’t believe in God. But sitting there, in a room full of those who feel otherwise, I realize that I do believe in people. In their strength to help each other, and to thrive in spite of the odds, I believe that the extraordinary trumps the ordinary, any day. I believe that having something to hope for — even if it’s just a better tomorrow — is the most powerful drug on this planet.”

“That’s the paradox of loss: How can something that’s gone weigh us down so much?”


  1. Hi Leah,
    I read your review of The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult and I have a book that is similar in style but deals with a different topic that I think you may love. I am a book marketing manager for Booktrope Publishing, and represent New York author Anne McCarthy Strauss, who is preparing for the September 29 release of her debut contemporary women’s fiction novel, A Medical Affair. If you are looking for a research-based and unique storyline with substance and important messaging, we’d love to offer you an eARC for review. Passionate, controversial, and thought-provoking – the scenes will make you think, the twists will make you gasp in disbelief and protagonist Heather Morrison’s angst and pain will make your heart ache—A Medical Affair is an insightful and dramatic must-read.
    If you have other suggestions for how we can work together please let us know – we are open to doing whatever we can that is best for you and your readers!
    Thank you in advance for your consideration; I hope to hear from you soon!
    About A Medical Affair
    While under the care of her pulmonologist after a life-threatening asthma attack, Heather Morrison enters into an affair with her doctor. This affair violates the state’s code of conduct and his medical treatment violates the Hippocratic oath. Heather’s life is shattered as a result. After the doctor terminates the relationship, Heather begins research for her own healing, and armed with this information, she initiates a civil lawsuit. Although it is a work of fiction, A Medical Affair was extensively researched. A Medical Affair is a critical book for women who want to make educated decisions regarding their relationships with their doctors.

    About Anne
    Anne McCarthy Strauss is a versatile writer, researcher and public relations professional. She is also an avid supporter of victims’ rights. She has spent the last decade educating women and men on the seldom revealed but all too frequent occurrence of affairs between doctors and their patients. Her novel, A Medical Affair, is the story of a doctor who violates a sacred trust by having an affair with one of his patients.

    A lifelong New Yorker, Anne lives on Long Island with her husband and their two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. The mother of one son, she has written for both consumer and trade magazines including Old House Journal, Waterfront Home & Design, Design Trade Magazine, Design New England, Distinction, Log Home Design Ideas and Florida Design Review. She has been a regular contributor to Martha’s Vineyard Magazine and Vineyard Style. She is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA).
    Visit her at


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