The Storyteller

The Storyteller

A Novel

Book - 2013
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Sage Singer is a baker. She works through the night, preparing the day's breads and pastries, trying to escape a reality of loneliness, bad memories, and the shadow of her mother's death. When Josef Weber, an elderly man in Sage's grief support group, begins stopping by the bakery, they strike up an unlikely friendship. Despite their differences, they see in each other the hidden scars that others can't. Everything changes on the day that Josef confesses a long-buried and shameful secret and asks Sage for an extraordinary favor. If she says yes, she faces not only moral repercussions, but potentially legal ones as well. With the integrity of the closest friend she's ever had clouded, Sage begins to question the assumptions and expectations she's made about her life and her family. In this searingly honest novel, Jodi Picoult gracefully explores the lengths to which we will go in order to keep the past from ddictating the future.
Publisher: New York : Emily Bestler Books/Washington Square Press, 2013.
Edition: First Emily Bestler BooksWashington Square Press trade paperback edition.
ISBN: 9781439102770
Characteristics: ix, 460 pages ; 21 cm

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NanCcan
Apr 05, 2017

When I discovered Jodi Picoult's novels, I read all but two (saving those two just so I'd have something to look forward to). Since then I've read a dozen novels from "What do I read while waiting for the next Jodi Picoult novel?" lists. While I enjoyed those other novels, none of them could hold my attention, make me care about ALL of the characters and how the events in the novel affected their lives, or make me think as deeply as Jodi Picoult's do. I thought it was just a phase I was going through, but I picked up "The Storyteller" and was once again blown away by how creatively her character's stories are woven together, how much I felt, cared about, and thought about how the events in the story affected their lives! How does she do that so effectively?
The ending was not what I thought it would be; it was much more complicated than anything I'd guessed at (except for the already predicted romance).
This would be a great book club choice. It provides plenty of grey areas to consider on topics that usually seem black and white.
My favorite quote from this book is, "Forgiving isn't something you do for someone else. It's something you do for yourself. It's saying, 'You're not important enough to have a stranglehold on me.' It's saying, 'You don't get to trap me in the past. I am worthy of a future.'" We all have so many things to forgive in our own lives and in the lives of people whose actions affect us.

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georgiag829
Mar 08, 2016

Loved the story within the story. This was sad and the topic so tragic but it really made me think about how nothing is black and white. I've read other similar stories that tell the POV of the German side, but this was still a very enjoyable story that makes one think.

d
dl15630
Oct 15, 2015

Excellent read.

j
jeanie123
Oct 07, 2015

I'm just luke-warm on this book. There are so many other books written on this subject that I feel were much better than this. I've only read a couple of Picoult's books and I find them predictable and a little sappy. The ending was no surprise for me, I had it figured out before I was halfway through the book. It's all very obvious, including the "love story" which I thought was both ridiculous and gratuitous. The themes of where evil lives in all of us and forgiveness and mercy were thought-provoking and interesting.

Excellent tension between the need to forgive and the advisability of forgetting the wrongs of history. Did Grandma do the right thing in telling her concentration camp story granddaughter? Is the FBI agent legally right but morally past his shelf life in pursuing Nazi criminals when victim has chosen to move on? This is a great read, thank you Jodi for bringing this issue into focus for today's reader.

t
tara8385
Aug 12, 2015

This was one of the best books I've ever read! I cried through a lot of it. The ending was a surprise, I did not see that coming.

c
CL_BookClub
Jul 06, 2015

This book was difficult to get through for some book club members due to the subject matter while others could not finish only because of the graphic holocaust segments within the story. The opinions of those that finished the book and those that didn't still gave credit to the great research and writing Picoult produces here. We loved all the stories that intertwine within the main story. This book gives lots to talk about.

w
Wong_Anne
Jun 09, 2015

. It is a story within a story, told from several viewpoints. In the present there is a baker who is dealing with survivor stress, as well as an older man who is dealing with the same issue but also over-whelming guilt. The stories in the past are the man as a young German and the baker's grandmother - a Jew. I thought Picoult handled the material well. Some of the camp descriptions were difficult but she based them on first person accounts of people that she interviewed.

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cicely1688
Apr 24, 2015

I think The Storyteller is a great read for anyone who loves the Holocaust, mystery, drama with a hint of romance and strong characters who make the story come to life. This book revolves around Sage SInger. She has had a very tough life and everything doesn’t seem right. One day, she meets an old man named Josef. She befriends him and after all this time, she finally opens up a little to another human being. While having normal conversations with Josef, he reveals he was a Nazi war soldier in the Holocaust who has killed many people and desires to die. Josef reaches out to Sage and wants her to help him die. Not only is Sage forced with a tough decision, she also has to go through the trouble of finding out if Joseph is even telling the truth. Along with that, Sage’s grandma was a Holocaust survivor making the decision for more more personal than other. Luckily, during the journey through the mystery of Josef,Sage befriends a FBI Nazi Hunter named Leo. I really liked this book because of how the characters, particularly Sage developed throughout the book. From the beginning of the book to the end of the book, she was a completely different person and enormously evolved. Everything in the book was breathtaking because the characters are either telling their story of what happened to them in the Holocaust or they are trying the put the pieces together to find out what actually happened. The story being told in different character's perspectives was really cool because it opens up every aspect of the book. In conclusion, you should definitely read this book because it will keep you on your toes.

hennazidele Apr 19, 2015

I absolutely love her books, and this one is really something special. Warning: very intense.

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siammarino Jul 01, 2014

Should Saige help an elderly Nazi to kill himself? Should the Nazi, who has since led an exemplary life, be pardoned for his crimes? How can Saige overcome her insecurity after the accident that left scars on her face? All good questions, but I didn't finish the book because Joseph's recounting of his Nazi days was just too much for me.

nkontrol May 01, 2013

A young woman is asked to do a huge favor and is told why she has to do it.

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NanCcan
Apr 05, 2017

"Forgiving isn't something you do for someone else. It's something you do for yourself. It's saying, 'You're not important enough to have a stranglehold on me.' It's saying, 'You don't get to trap me in the past. I am worthy of a future.'"

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