I absolutely adore reading - my love for books has had a huge impact on my life! I'm going to grad school to be a children's/YA librarian.
Sage Singer is a baker, a loner, until she befriends an old man who's particularly beloved in her community. Josef Weber is everyone's favorite retired teacher and Little League coach. One day he asks Sage for a favor: to kill him. Shocked, Sage refuses—and then he confesses his darkest secret – he deserves to die because he had been a Nazi SS guard. And Sage's grandmother is a Holocaust survivor. How do you react to evil living next door? Can someone who's committed truly heinous acts ever atone with subsequent good behavior? Should you offer forgiveness to someone if you aren't the party who was wronged? And, if Sage even considers the request, is it revenge…or justice? (source)
This is one of the most powerful books that I have ever read in my life. And that is something that I never thought I would say about a Jodi Picoult novel. Well, Ms. Picoult, I owe you one big apology. When I was in high school, I read My Sister's Keeper (or possibly partially read - I don't know if I actually finished it or not). That book really didn't sit well with me for whatever reason - I can't even remember why at the moment - but anyway, after reading it, I decided I hated all Jodi Picoult novels and that I'd never read another one. Which was really stupid of me, especially considering that I'd never read any Jodi Picoult novels aside from that one.
Well, this is me saying that I was wrong and that Jodi Picoult is a master storyteller. I've gone from looking down my nose at her work to absolutely applauding this one and eagerly looking forward to reading more by her.
It is absolutely impossible to recreate the horrors that were suffered by the victims of persecution during the Holocaust. But in my opinion, Jodi Picoult did a pretty damn good job attempting to portray some of them. As a history major who once took an entire course on the Nazis and the Holocaust, let me tell you that this book is SO well-researched, more so than any other novel that I personally have read on the subject. What was most fascinating to me was that Picoult didn't just focus on the Jewish experience, but she really delved into the other side of the issue - she examines the mindset and culture of Germany that would have allowed for such a heinous policy to thrive. I've never read another novel that examined this and it was fascinating to see both sides. Reiner Hartmann is a truly reprehensible individual, but Picoult was able to show how his world molded him into the person who he was.
I loved the way that the book was set up. It was told through multiple perspectives, which were easily distinguished from one another because not only did Picoult identify each section with the narrator's name (with the exception of Minka's story that she wrote), but she also gave each narrator/story a different font, so the reader can very easily visually tell who's telling the story. Additionally, there were many plot twists that I didn't see coming - especially the one at the very end. It was shocking!
The one and only complaint that I have is that there is insta-love between Leo and Sage. It's bad. I think he said "I love you" after knowing her for like a week? Yikes. But they were cute together and honestly, I loved the story so much that it didn't even affect the 5-star rating that I gave the book. Frankly, this story needed the little boost of happiness that the insta-love was able to provide.
I absolutely recommend that you give this book a shot, even if you're like I was and you've sworn off Jodi Picoult novels. This book is so powerful. It will make you think, it will pull you in, and it will stay in your heart. This book is phenomenal and it deserves to be loved.