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Jodi Picoult Never Fails to Deliver
on 8 April 2006
This is the fourth novel by Jodi Picoult which I have read, and I've enjoyed all of them. "Plain Truth" I would place right up there with "My Sister's Keeper" which is praise indeed from me.
All of the familiar Picoult ingredients are here, a lawyer with a less than perfect personal life, a sensational court case, and a family of good and decent people who are seemingly being torn apart by the secrets which they have had to hide from each other.
Having said that, I would hate you to think that this is just formula writing, when it is so much more. For Katie Fisher, the girl accused in the court case, is a member of an Amish community. I'm guessing that for the majority of readers, as it was for me, your only idea of the Amish is what you'll have seen in the Harrison Ford movie "Witness". Ellie, the brilliant but flawed defence lawyer, has to live with Katie and her family in the weeks leading up to the trial, and to come to terms with living in this community. For me this gives the novel great texture, and you are steadily drawn into this world, with all of its attractions, and all of its drawbacks too.
If you've read any of Jodi Picoult's novels before, you'll know that she is a master of manipulating your emotions and sympathies, and this novel is no different in that respect. You are simultaneously both invited to feel sympathy for Katie, and at the same time challenged to confront serious moral issues, although I won't tell you what these are in advance for fear of spoiling the plot for you.
Jodi Picoult is a great novelist. Her prose is clear - at times quite stark, at times almost poetical, but never less than riveting. She is a great storyteller. But be warned. Once you start reading this, empty your schedule for a couple of days, because you won't want to put it down.