Saturday, March 22, 2008
Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult
This is my third Picoult book and I read it for the A to Z Challenge. It is a long one at just over 500 pages. I picked it up because the concept of Picoult mixed with Amish culture was appealing. I also really liked My Sister's Keeper and Salem Falls.
This is the story of two women. Ellie is a high powered defense attorney who is having a life and career crisis at the start of the book. She is also having a "biological clock ticking" crisis as well. Katie is an 18 year old unmarried Amish girl who lives and works on her family's dairy farm. Ellie and Katie share an aunt and, when Katie is accused of murdering her newborn infant boy, Ellie is recruited as her defense attorney. To further complicate the plot, Ellie is forced to live, and work, on Katie's family farm as a term of Katie's bail agreement. Thus, Ellie, and the reader, are immersed in Amish life and culture throughout the story. Also, in the story Katie has an Amish boyfriend who is not the baby's father, and Ellie rekindles a romance with an old flame who she calls in to assess Katie's mental competence.
Strengths of Plain Truth: As usual, Picoult is a great story teller with interesting twists and turns to the plot. Katie does not remember the events of the boy's birth so Picoult is able to bring out a variety of facts throughout the story to engage the reader's interest. It appears that she did some extensive research on the Amish because this book really made their culture and beliefs come alive for me. Also, Ellie and Katie are both strong characters in their own ways. Katie has a quiet strength which Ellie learns to appreciate, and Ellie has a worldliness that Katie appreciates as well.
Weaknesses of Plain Truth: I honesty did not like this one as much as the other two books I've read by her. I intensely disliked the ending. If you've read the book, I'd be curious about your reaction. It seemed too easy and too much of a cop out after the trial was over. I also saw the final twist coming about halfway through the book, and I don't like twists that are so obvious. While I did like the details about Amish culture, I thought the book could have been more carefully edited and didn't need to be quite so long. I also got a bit fed up with Ellie's romantic side plot and all of the emphasis on the shunned brother's character. I actually started to skim about 3/4 of the way because I was getting fed up with the characters and drawn out plot.
Overall, this one was not one of her best. I'd have to give it 3 stars. I'd still recommend My Sister's Keeper over this one.