Shop now Shop now Shop now  Up to 50% Off Fashion  Shop all Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Shop Fire Shop Kindle Listen with Prime Shop now Shop now

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars1,909
4.6 out of 5 stars
Format: Kindle Edition|Change
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

on 8 April 2013
I've always admired Jodi Picoult for being a brave enough writer to tackle thorny moral issues and place them in fiction, and then being able to create both novels and make us question difficult topics. But I was still surprised that she had chosen both a historical issue and such a sensitive one as the Holocaust as the base for her new novel.

Set in three parts, Picoult tells both a personal history, that we are still able to relate to today, and reminds us that there is no stature on limitations on murder, nor on guilt and forgiveness.

It starts with Sage, a reclusive baker, hiding from the world in her nighttime career, who gets caught in a strange friendship with Josef Weber. He is the catalyst for her unlocking her family history and makes her question both her beliefs and her sense of justice.

Part two recalls Sage's Grandmother's past, and it is a solemn and sometimes heartbreaking contrast to the modern world of Sage herself, as Minka was a Polish Jew during World War Two. For me this was both the best part of the novel, but also the worst in terms of historical recollections and human nature. The writing was so well researched and vivid that you could easily `see' the life that Minka had lived.

After this part it was a little bit of shock to be drawn back into the final part to the present day, as it is left to Sage to decide what to do with the terrible knowledge she now knows and Picoult again doesn't disappoint with her endings.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough, I was captured by it from page one and had to read it in one sitting as I was desperate to learn the fate of all involved. It reminded me of Schindler's List and the Diary of Anne Frank; and whilst a work of fiction, it contains terrible truths that can't be forgotten and you want everyone to read it, to understand once again, that both people are capable of the worst and the best things. Also due to Sage's career and the relationship with her Grandmother, i was strangly inspired to make bread again!

Originally reviewed for
0Comment|One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 18 May 2014
There were bits I loved and bits I didn't. The present-day story I found rather thin and forced - I wanted to slap Sage for her whiny and self-pitying attitude and Josef seemed very flat and one-dimensional. The structure seemed very disjointed with too many different points of view with little continuity.

But the past-story was riveting. Josef's childhood and Sage's grandmother's tale of Jewish life under the Nazi's and at Auschwitz. How people may or may not be a product of their times and how much personal responsibility comes into play. And ultimately this saved this novel. I'm a big fan of Picoult's books normally, but I don't think I'd list it as a favourite.
0Comment|2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 23 July 2014
I found The Storyteller ultimately disappointing. Having never read Jodi Picoult before but knowing of her popularity may have lead my expectations to be a little too high. The Storyteller is a leap back and forth through time of two inter-connected narratives; one set in the present day and the other in Nazi Germany. The storyline set in the past is clearly taken from real life accounts from concentration camp survivors and so paints a horrifically vivid picture on the atrocious events and circumstances. The modern day storyline is where I felt really let down as a reader; I felt that the characters portrayed were really two dimensional and the unfolding of events was utterly predictable: The awkward, tormented "ugly" girl struggles with her daemons whilst uncovering her tragic family history with the help of an equally awkward and tormented yet handsome man who helps her realise just how beautiful she really is...oh, and there's a former Nazi and some soul-cleansing baking in there too.
0Comment|8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 12 August 2013
When I picked this book I didn't expect to be reading about the Holocaust; in fact, I might not have chosen it had I known. I was expecting something similar to other stories by Jodi Picoult - a moral dilemma, conflict within the family, a tough medical decision. The book started reasonably harmlessly - a reflection on appearances and scars, and a young girl's life in Poland. Suddenly, however, I found myself in the middle of the unspeakable inhumanity and incomprehensibility of the events and actions of the ghetto and concentration camps. I felt like this reading experience was a very fitting education about the Holocaust, and all the more shocking and horrific for its unexpectedness. I congratulate and thank Jodi for writing this book, which will bring awareness to a much wider range of people than otherwise.

If you have knowledge of the Holocaust you will no doubt have various criticisms of all manner of things, and if you aren't a fan of JP, this isn't going to be different and you will still find her characters or her descriptions too x or y (insert your own complaint), but for regular lovers of Jodi's books you have to read this.
0Comment|One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 6 February 2014
I can see why so many people give this 5 stars - Jodi Picoult can write. And that's the problem. She uses her excellent prose to cover the problems with the plot. The flow of the book is very disjointed; there are not 2 but 3 parallel plot lines. Yes, you could argue it mirrors the experience of the Jews, but I think that would be an easy way to explain away the problem. I also got very bored with Minka's story that binds the other 2 plots together - I was much more interested in the main characters.

The author has (rather obviously) had a good brainstorm about images/characters connected with baking - some disturbing - and woven them together. You could say it's meaningful; I would say it's a quick way for a capable author to churn out a book.

You could see the ending coming half a book off. And even when it came, it was handled so badly I was surprised.

I wanted to like this book more as the writing and control of material is so good. I just felt that this author needed to make more of an effort on plot and motivation, to bring good ideas to a better conclusion.
0Comment|One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 23 April 2015
I would describe myself as a fan of Jodi Picoult’s books but this one fell short of the mark for me.

The writing is as good as ever, but the storylines aren’t wound together as neatly as she usually manages. The narrative jumps between present and past in a disjointed fashion, fast-forwarding the growth of Sage’s relationships, whilst lingering over her obsession with her scarred face. Overall, it felt that a good editor could have reduced the book by100 pages without damaging the tale.

I felt there were too many references to Jewish culture in the book. I love learning through my reading, but I felt that I’d been attending a lecture on “Traditional Jewish Baking and its Context Throughout History”. Like a good bread roll, the first bite was intriguing, but with a slightly disappointing finish and I didn’t enjoy being force-fed so much irrelevant detail.

As a side note, I bought the paperback version and was very surprised at the poor quality of its flimsy card cover.

Interesting from a historical perspective, but surprisingly heavy-handed for this writer.
0Comment|One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 3 November 2014
An epic story brilliantly told. It keeps your attention right to the end. I loved the bread baking and bread breaking, the friendships and personal searches. While it represents the tragic events of 1940s, for me two gaps weaken the work. The storyline stretches credulity at a number of points, eg the brother's roles, the grandmother's survival. More importantly, the healing that arises from forgiveness needs to be seen from the place of the one's who were harmed as well as from that of the culprit. That element was not explored and, in the continuing Middle East conflict, it remains a blockage to the release of enduring resentment. Forgiveness is not only about the expiation of the perpetrator who rightly may have the desire to confess and receive forgiveness. It is also about the one who has suffered in their act of forgiveness being freed of their burdens, the possibility of emotional and mental release, and the ending of the dark night of victimhood. Nonetheless, the Storyteller, well worth the read of a beautifully told story, a weaving of tragedy and lightness.
0Comment|One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
VINE VOICEon 7 April 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Picoult's latest novel, "The Storyteller," begins with a lonely young baker named Sage Singer who is struggling to find her place in the world. She forms a friendship with an elderly gentleman, Josef Weber, after meeting him at a grief group. When Weber asks Singer to help him to die and reveals his secret past as a Nazi, Sage is torn, can she forgive him?

The story is told from Singer and Weber's perspectives as well as Leo who works at the office of Human Rights and Special Prosecutions. Two more stories are woven into "The Storyteller," in the voice of Singer's Jewish grandmother Minka, a holocaust survivor. One story is a horror story she wrote as a teenager and the other is the true horror story of Minka's struggle to survive at Auschwitz, with the former having an impact on the later.

Many claims have been made about this being Picoult's best yet and I agree that it is definitely up there. Whilst the ending was a bit too neatly tied up for my liking I would still highly recommended this novel.
0Comment|One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 9 July 2013
Lots of reviews here already praising this book, and here's another.

Jodi Picoult is no stranger to tackling difficult subject matter and this book is no exception. Sage Singer is the granddaughter of a holocaust survivor. An elderly man she befriends at a grief support group confides in her that he was a Nazi. That is the basic premise, but there is so much more to the story, which I have no intent on spoiling here.

Beautifully written and gripping, parts of this story brought a tear to my eye. I have always enjoyed this author's work but this book was outstanding. It is not easy to read about the atrocities of the holocaust, and possibly more difficult when it is told by a character that you come to care about. A lot of moral dilemmas here too which kept me thinking, and a twist ending that I was not expecting!

Not easy reading by any means but a very rewarding, emotional read. If you're not put off by the subject matter, this is highly recommended.
0Comment|One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 9 June 2014
I absolutely love Jodi Picoult and I know that her books are really strong topics! having said that this is a really really difficult subject. It is about a girl who meets an ex SS Officer who was responsible for killing Jews during the War. When the chapters are about the SS Officer they are really harrowing. I don't think this is as good as some of her other books and I have read them all.
0Comment|2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

Customers also viewed these items


Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.