Review – The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult


More than just a story….

Title: The Storyteller
Author: Jodi Picoult
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 460
Reviewer: Debby


An astonishing novel about redemption and forgiveness from number-one bestselling author Jodi Picoult.

Sage Singer is a young woman who has been damaged by her past. Her solitary night work as a baker allows her to hide from the world and focus her creative energies on the beautiful bread she bakes.

Yet she finds herself striking up an unlikely friendship. Josef Weber is a quiet, grandfatherly man, well respected in the community; everyone’s favourite retired teacher and Little League coach.

One day he asks Sage for a favour: to kill him. Shocked, Sage refuses.

Then Josef tells her that he deserves to die – and why.

What do you do when evil lives next door? Can someone who’s committed horrendous acts ever truly redeem themselves? Is forgiveness yours to offer if you aren’t the person who was wronged? And most of all – if Sage even considers his request – would it be murder, or justice?


In the Storyteller, by Jodi Picoult, I find myself blown away, as usual, by her ability to a craft a story so believable it is as though she lived it herself.  In this novel, Picoult is the ringleader as she presents to her reader five separate storytellers and it is through these intertwined narratives that we discover the pain, brutality and horror of the Nazi’s invasion of Poland.  This is a beautifully sad story that illustrates how such horrific events from our past can cast ripples that having a lasting effect on the present.  I personally had family that escaped from Nazi invaded Europe and it is to their bravery that I owe my existence.  I am sure many readers of this book are able to relate on the same level.  While the subject matter is very serious, there is a joy that comes from reading a novel like this which speaks to the reason that books are so important, while they are an escape from reality, they also frame our reality and capture within them a social snapshot containing both the facts and emotions pertaining to certain times in history.  Jodi Picoult demonstrates in this novel that she is a truly exemplary story teller herself and there are quite a few moments that the author’s feelings of the writing process shine through.

I can only imagine that the writing of this work would have been a huge undertaking as I found the book to contain examinations of religion, belief, forgiveness and indeed even one’s own faith and forgiveness of themselves called to question.  The questions I found myself asking by the end of the book caused this story to stick with me for days after completion trying to justify how I felt toward both the victims and villains in the story.  Picoult was very effective in the way she takes the reader through main character, Sage’s inner turmoil around her feelings towards Josef/Reiner whose character played directly into the story told by Sage’s Auschwitz surviving Grandmother, Minka.  Sage’s ultimate ability to forgive and satisfy an old man’s request leaves the reader with the impression that however great one’s anger and frustration may be, ultimately freedom only exists for those who can forgive.

I would definitely recommend this book.  Not only does it educate the reader on the Nazi regime and what it may have been like for those who had to suffer through it, this story also teaches lessons about the value of survival, opportunity, friendship, family, and even loss.  I personally took a lot away from this book and its messages will stay with me for some time to come.

lips grey 4.5

Check out my other Jodie Picoult review on Plain Truth.

6 thoughts on “Review – The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult

  1. how is it that i am yet to read a book by Jodi Picoult? I’ve always wanted to read one but lately i haven’t had the time to invest in one of her books emotionally but perhaps i’ll try and read this one soon. Picoult often picks very sensitive topics to write stories on and this seems no different – i agree with what you said about readers being able to relate to a book like this on some level even if they haven’t experienced the same situation, the reader may have experienced the same emotions.
    your review on this book sounds really good so hopefully i can get my hands on this book and let you know my thoughts 🙂

  2. I’m so glad you liked this one! I admit it. I’m a book pusher. And I really want people to love the books I loved.
    One of the best parts for me as a reader was how much research it felt like Jodi did.
    Great review!

  3. I like the idea that books frame reality, I think in many cases you’re right. Books that leave you with haunting questions can be very difficult to move past, I usually have to follow them up with a ‘bubblegum’ book to clear my mental palat! 🙂 Glad you found this such a rewarding read.

  4. Lovely review, good to see feelings mirrored..I went back and read the last chapter again to truly understand Sage’s reaction to what she had done. Also I was mesmerized by the way Minka’s fictional story at the start has similarity to even Sage’s, as for readers in the start Minka’s story has not been divulged yet..So instead reader relate it with Sage..That was smart story writing..

  5. Pingback: Review: Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult | Book Gossips

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