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on 15 February 2017
I've read a number of Jodi Picoult books over the years, I have to admit that some of her books are forgettable whilst others stay with you for years after you've read them. The Storyteller is one of those books that isn't easy to forget. It tell the story of Sage, who lives a lonely sheltered life after the death of her mother who discovers that one of the few people that she has allowed into her life claims to be a former high ranking SS official.

The description of the scenes in the concentration camps and the treatment of the inmates is harrowing but it could be nothing other than harrowing as the dehumanisation and mass exermination of groups of people is a horrific and traumatic event.

The story is told by various narrators and each of them add something valuable to the story.
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on 27 June 2016
Wonderful book as most of Jodi Picoult books. It is a story about Sage, bakery worker who meets an old Former Ss officer. Her grandmother was Holocaust survivor and Sage wanted to find a way to punish Reiner, former SS officer who was A guard in Aushwitz. Sage found an FBI officer specialising in this kind of cases and both of them tried to find out as much as possible from Minka, Sage's granmother, an Auchwitz victim. This book tells so many cruel things, this story is very touching, sad, Horrifying. It is hard to read at times. And you are. Little bit different person when you finish reading this book. It touches a little bit of Sense of appreciation deep inside you. It really touches you and your feelings. I catched myself just sitting and thinking for few moments after finished this book.

Jodi picoult as always touches your feelings.
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on 13 August 2017
I've read a lot of books about the holocaust and every book leaves me in tears, this one however had me sobbing at the half way point. Jodi Picoult has a way of making you feel empathy for every single character, she draws you in completely and doesn't let you go until the last word. Very well researched, a good book club read as there is so much to discuss. A very good book on a very sad subject.
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on 11 June 2015
Jodi Picoult is the bestselling author of numerous novels, with My Sister’s Keeper being the most well known, perhaps. All of her stories are well written although it is still possible to notice improvements in the writing over the years right up until now with her latest, The Storyteller, which quite possibly could be her best yet.

Arguably, The Storyteller does not quite read as a Jodi Picoult novel is known to. This is, in part, because of the nature of the story. Most of her previous books deal with medical ethics and/or court cases, whereas this story contains neither. The Storyteller contains a combination of past and present - the main focus being on the Holocaust.

Four people narrate the novel: two in the present day and two giving an account of their experience during the Second World War. It begins with Sage Singer, a 25 year old, hermit-like woman with a disfiguring facial scar – the result of a terrible accident, one that also led to the death of her mother. For the past three years Sage has been participating in a grief group – a place where people who have lost loved ones can come together and talk about their feelings. After three years surely Sage would no longer need the help of the group? However she still attends, not because she finds it helpful, but for the opposite reason. She even says herself: “If it were helpful I wouldn’t still be coming.” It unfolds that she still blames herself for her mother’s death despite the reassurances that it was an accident and not her fault.

It is through the grief group that Sage meets an elderly man, Josef Weber. After becoming friendly and discovering that Sage comes from a Jewish family, Josef confesses to something terrible – he was a Nazi during the war. He killed people. He wants Sage to represent all the Jews he killed and forgive him. Then he wants her to help him die.

Whilst, Josef recounts his experience of being part of the Nazi party, another account is also given. Minka, Sage’s grandmother, describes the terrors she faced as an imprisoned Jew suffering fates such as the deaths of all her family and friends and her time in Auschwitz. Another element to the novel is the vampire story Minka wrote as a teenager. This is interspersed between the other chapters of the book. Unwittingly, Minka’s fictional tale reflects the alienation and destruction of the Jews. The final character is Leo who, like Sage, is narrating the present day, and trying to locate ex-Nazi members in order for them to be punished by the government.

One thing to praise Picoult for, not just in The Storyteller, but also in all her novels is the amount of in-depth research she undertakes to make her stories as accurate as possible even though they are fictional. Minka’s account was written is such a way that it was almost believable that Picoult had been there and experienced it herself. She even learnt to bake bread so that she could write from the point of view of a baker. This is pure dedication!

The Storyteller is an amazing, beautiful book, which is not purely an enjoyable read. It informs, shocks and stays with you for a long time. You will question your own morals and ability to forgive. Is anyone entirely evil? Is anyone entirely good? Perhaps we are both, so why should anyone have the right to treat others as inferior from themselves?
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on 7 February 2016
To be honest, I didn't know much about this book before I started to read it other than its was about a young girl who had suffered a family tragedy in the loss of her mother and to cope hid away in her job. Then an old man who is well known and respected locally stops by the bakery and they strike up a friendship, but he is hiding a secret from the world as an ex SS Nazi officer. Intrigued, I started to read and literally couldn't put it down. The story takes the reader through the eyes of the SS Officer and his childhood and what it was like to grow up under the Hitler regime. The terrible, inhumane treatment her grandmother suffers as a Jew had me in tears and I was in awe at her ability to survive. The underlying thread of baking bread and its importance through the story was genius as was the ending!!

Although this book covers the holocaust and was very uncomfortable to read at times, It was so well written & researched I feel it will stay with me for a long time.

Highly recommended.
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on 27 October 2016
This was the first Jodi picoult book I read and I thought it was fantastic and thought provoking. I found myself wondering about my own moral compass and how I would feel in relation to sage's new friend.
It was heartbreaking to read at times but I could not put the book down.
It's a book about survival, hope, love and forgiveness and tells a tale of past, present and future.
Reading about the nazi concentration camps is never easy but it's important that it continues to be talked about. Don't let this terrible time put you off reading this book because it's so much more than heart ache and tragedy.
I will be thinking about this book for a while now...
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on 29 September 2015
The characters in this book are so rich and full of depth it is easy to empathise with them all the way through their memories. A book full of history from the holocaust and it is extremely well told. It is full of detail and the research done on the subject was very well done. The characters come alive and almost jump from the page to a point where i could visualise them in my minds eye down to the smallest detail, a sign of a good author (story teller lol)I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it most highly. Jodi Picoult at her very best. It is a few years since i have read any of her books, i must admi,t but this tale has piqued my interest once again in her work and made me want to explore other books she has written in the years since i stopped actively searching for her new releases......................
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on 30 May 2014
Judy Picoult certainly excels at storytelling in part2 of this novel - here Minka tells the heartbreaking story of her life in ghettos and nazi extermination camps for Jews. But she adds 'If you lived through it you already know that there are no words that could even come close to describing it.' It was so well written I found it emotionally stressful to read, and cried at the end of Minka's story. She says 'Sometimes all it takes to become a human being again is someone who can see you that way, no matter how you present on the surface', which makes you realise that the Jews were treated so inhumanly that they appeared to forget they were human.

As found in the author's other novels, aspects of moral dilemmas were woven in to this novel. She also throws light on what it might take to make someone inflict these horrendous crimes on others. She compares and contrasts two German brothers to illustrate this. She also adds 'It turns out the more you repeat an action, now matter how reprehensible it is, the more you can make an excuse for it in your own mind'. The relationship between the brothers is also reflected in a fantasy story Minka created when she young. This story shown in italics is introduced before Minka's life story, and at first it was hard to understand why it was in the novel; however later we discover that Minka being a 'storyteller' is an important aspect to her survival.

The novel starts in the present day with Minka's grand daughter who has her own emotional issues and her own dilemma relating to someone else who has also been through the war. Different chapters are written from different characters prospectives so don't forget to check at the top from who's prospective it is.
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on 11 November 2014
It's very apt that I've finished reading this book on Armistice Day; an anniversary to remember the lives sacrificed for the horrors of war. This is the second Jodi Picoult novel I've read - My Sister's Keeper was the first, which I loved - and one thing I love about her work is the sheer amount of detail and research that's given to the plotline's subject matter. My favourite portion of this book is Minka's recount of her experience in a Nazi concentration camp, which is as harrowing as it is riveting. We feel her pain right through from being a normal girl from a Jewish family to a prisoner within the Third Reich's brutal, tragic regime.

If I'm being picky, the only parts of the book I didn't like were the superfluous mentions of baking and bread recipes - granted, they are a huge part of the story, but there were a few too many for my liking; and the whole Adam affair story kind of went nowhere.

Still, the interwoven tale of Ania and Aleks, along with the Holocaust descriptions and likeable characters were more than enough for me to recommend this book to anyone looking for a tale with substance and grit.
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on 22 June 2015
The Storyteller centres around the Holocaust, with flashbacks to the protagonist’s grandmother’s time there. In the present, an old Nazi SS soldier seeks forgiveness and death, and Sage, the granddaughter, goes on a beautiful moral journey to the truth.

The flashbacks are just so human and heartbreaking, and I found myself crying when Sage seeks the help of her ex-nun friend, Mary, about the true reasoning behind forgiveness, that storing away all that hatred merely grows like a weed in your heart, and forgiving is really something you do for yourself. The gruesome fairytale story that keeps Sage’s grandmother, Minka, retain her sanity through her years at Auschwitz is beautifully conveyed, the ending open to interpretation and so a means with which many people can come to terms with many different kinds of tragedy in their own particular way.

This book is, essentially, perfect.

Here is my favourite quote:

‘Nobody,’ Sage reads, ‘who looks at a shard of flint lying beneath a rock ledge, or who finds a splintered log by the side of the road would ever find magic in their solitude. But in the right circumstances, if you bring them together, you can start a fire that consumes the world.’
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