Tuesday, 15 January 2013

The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult

The Tenth Circle
by Jodi Picoult
Summary: Fourteen-year-old Trixie Stone is in love for the first time. She's also the light of her father, Daniel's life -- a straight-A student; a pretty, popular freshman in high school; a girl who's always seen her father as a hero. That is, until her world is turned upside down with a single act of violence.  Suddenly everything Trixie has believed about her family -- and herself -- seems to be a lie. Could the boyfriend who once made Trixie wild with happiness have been the one to end her childhood forever? She says that he is, and that is all it takes to make Daniel, a seemingly mild-mannered comic book artist with a secret tumultuous past he has hidden even from his family, venture to hell and back to protect his daughter.
The only other book of Jodi's that I've read--as far as I can remember--is The Pact, and I loved that book. Because of that book, I own a bunch of her other books too (including this one, obviously) but I seem to be taking a while to get around to them.

This book...I didn't enjoy it quite as much as I enjoyed The Pact, but I did really like it.

I like Jodi's writing a lot. It's not really poetic or particularly distinctive or anything like that, but she will write things that just click with me - I'll be reading and need to stop to highlight loads of quotes with that, "Yes, that is exactly how that feels!" kind of feeling. This book had a lot of quotes that I loved. A few examples:

"There are no cosmic referees. Time-outs do not get called, not even when your world has taken a blow that renders you senseless. The dishwasher still needs to be emptied and the hamper overflows with dirty clothes and the high school buddy you haven't spoken to in six months calls to catch up, not realizing that you cannot tell her what's been going on in your life without breaking down."
"As it turned out, hell wasn't watching the people you love get hurt; it was coming in during the second act, when it was already too late to stop it from happening."
"They'd dressed each other. Fastening and tucking seemed so much more intimate than unbuttoning and unzipping, as if you were privy to putting the person back together whole, instead of unravelling him."
"There were some people who hit your life so hard, they left a stain on your future. She understood how you might spend your whole life waiting for that kind of person to come back." 
I love the characters, and Jodi is one of those rare authors who can write alternating POV's in a way that I like. She makes each character distinctive and gives them their own story instead of having them seem to barely exist beyond the main character and main plotline; she makes me care about them, and most of all, she has a talent for showing that there's two--sometimes more--sides to every story, to every person.

She seems to tackle subjects that are a bit of a gray area, or find the gray areas in subjects that seem black and white. The Pact was about a suicide pact, where one teen dies and the other doesn't. This one is about rape.

There's a lot that I want to talk about relating to the rape aspect, it's difficult to do that without spoiling the book though, so I won't -- the book handled the subject really well. It shows how it can affect not only the victim, but the victims family too. It shows how awful slut shaming is, how badly victims of rape can be treated; as if, somehow, they're the guilty ones...and the sad thing is, it's realistic.

Jodi writes families really well too, in this one, the father/daughter relationship was written really well and was probably the most interesting relationship in the whole book - it made me miss my own dad, which is a bittersweet aspect of the book.

My favourite part was the parts set in Alaska - I loved that setting and the difference in culture was fascinating (it had me trying to find more books about it after I had finished reading).

The only aspect of the book I didn't really like was that, at times, it felt a bit drawn out -- it dragged, it felt like it could've been shorter and still had the same impact. Or a better impact. But, I still kept reading and enjoyed the book in spite of that so it wasn't too big of an issue.

That's all I can think of to say right now that isn't a spoiler. I'd rate the book 4 out of 5 stars. (Oh, and I don't recommend doing what I did - I watched the Lifetime movie version of the book first and while the movie wasn't awful, it wasn't a particularly good adaption either and it does spoil parts of the book.)


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