Book Review: The Storyteller

I have a weak grasp on history. It is not that I am completely unaware of everything that came before me, nor do I care less about it, but it is just that I was not able to get a strong foundation about its essence much more of its wonders, and it is utterly hard to break habits.

Had they only presented history through pastries and storytelling, I could not have said no.

Title: The Storyteller
Author: Jodi Picoult
Genre: Historical Fiction

Sage Singer befriends an old man who's particularly beloved in her community. Josef Weber is everyone's favorite retired teacher and Little League coach. They strike up a friendship at the bakery where Sage works. 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 was a Nazi SS guard. Complicating the matter? Sage's grandmother is a Holocaust survivor.

What do you do when evil lives next door? Can someone who's committed a truly heinous act ever atone for it with subsequent good behavior? Should you offer forgiveness to someone if you aren't the party who was wronged? And most of all - if Sage even considers his request - is it murder, or justice? - Goodreads



I have heard so much about Anne Frank's The Diary of a Young Girl, a firsthand story of a girl who had experienced the worst of the World War II herself. I have to admit though that I have not read it yet, and it is becoming more and more of a crime for me. As how it goes, the story is emotionally aggravating if not insanely creepy, what got it all better (or worse) is the fact that it really did happen, and could possibly.

The thing about Jodi Picoult's The Storyteller, however, is the breadth of its perspective regarding the German Holocaust of the Jewish people. Sure enough the highlight will be the story of the victim herself (Minka), but we can not disregard the story that comes long after all the pain of the war, the life of the victim's granddaughter (Sage) which pretty much stands like a living and breathing after shock. It is also very wonderful that Picoult has given us a reality check in the world of the FBI investigation team that deals with such issues, away from the John Travolta detective-in-suite archetypes.

What I love the most though is the story of the Nazi (Reiner Hartmann/ Josef Weber) and his longing for death and self-reconciliation. Picoult is brave enough to venture the life of the bad guys; thus, making us realize that they were once human before life got it all messy towards them. However, Picoult is not hypocritical enough to exhaust the idea of goodness in every man, she still leaves the idea that Nazis actually had a choice, and the fact that they did not choose the right one was actually an evil act already.

Storyteller basically revolves around the undying question of morality. Do immoral actions wither through time? Is the liability of forgiveness transferable? Is morality still an option if life leaves you without a choice?, and other questions as such that can be wonderfully summarized through a subtext about an upior.

But... (you know this one is coming)

I did not like the ending. It was one thing I have expected all along, but I did not expect it to hang like that. Also, I did not like the changing fonts of the book (this is too shallow sorry), it kind of messified the book. There were also some parts of the book that I felt inappropriate, guess Picoult was too taken away by her own storytelling that she had not observed the wonder of brevity.

All in all, Jodi Picoult's The Storyteller is one ravenous (oh yes haven't I told you that the story is stuffed with mouth-watering description of breads?), insightful (I can literally quote everything Sage Singer says) and historically creative work of art. It is one thing you would like to keep for good.

"People are never who they seem to be."

"It is the question mark that comes with death that we can't face, not the period."

"Everyone has a story; everyone hides their past as a means of self-preservation."

"You can tell yourself that it's safer to love someone who will never really love you back,because you can't lose someone that you never had."

* This book review is brought to you by Lazada Philippines. Cash on delivery and free shipping nationwide! Check out their website for more promo and discounts. You may also follow their twitter account @LazadaPH and like their Facebook page Lazada Philippines.

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