Sunday, 29 September 2013

The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult

The Storyteller

From Goodreads

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?

My review

What would you do, if someone asked you to forgive them for what they'd done in the past and then help them die in effect kill them? That's the question that Sage has to find an answer to. Sage a young woman working in a bakery in America is befriended by an old man who uses the Bakery. Through this friendship she finds out about his past and he in turn asks her for forgiveness and to help him die for what he did in the past as a Nazi.

This dual time frame story tells the story of Josef and his brother and Sage's grandmother a holocaust survivor during World War II and the present day.  Told in a series of flashbacks by Josef and Sage's grandmother Minka.  Sage has a dilemma on her hands and isn't sure if what she's being told is the truth, so takes matters into her own hands and makes enquiries by contacting the FBI about Josef and his involvement in War crimes during World War II.

The story is sympathetically handled and at it's heart are the atrocities that befell the Jews at the hands of the Nazi's.  We can only imagine the terrors and suffering that they went through.  Be prepared to shed a tear or two as you're taken on one heck of an emotional roller coaster as in turn you can feel some symapthy for both sides regardless of what went on. Ultimately though, would you be able to do what was asked of Sage.

Whilst I really enjoyed the story it didn't quite get a 10/10 but I gave it a 9 which is the next best thing.  In some ways if I'm honest I was a little disappointed in the ending.    

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