KimN ~ Nineteen Minutes

20 10 2009

Nineteen Minutes ~ Jodi Picoult

nmIts time for another Picoult!  Apparently this was Picoult’s first book to debut at #1 on the New York Times Bestseller list.  I’m about 100 pages in already and there is recurring character – Jordan McAfee, the lawyer who represented Chris in The Pact reappears as the lawyer who represents the central male character in this novel – kinda cool!

Oct 20 ~ This was a very quick read!  As always, Picoult did a superb job of depicting all sides of a very controversial and heart-wrenching issue.  In Nineteen Minutes, the focus is around bullying and a school shooting.  Especially powerful, was the point of view of the Lacy, the mother to  Peter, the shooter.  She was totally knocked off of her feet by the fact that it was her son holding the gun.  The internal struggle Lacy goes through in the novel, blaming herself for Peter’s actions, is fascinating.

If you are at all interested in what could possibly drive someone to do something like walk in to their high school with guns blazing, I would definitely suggest reading this.  That’s all I’m going to say for now!  Read it…  and I’m on to the next book…


KimN ~ Mercy

19 07 2009

Mercy ~ Jodi Picoult

mercyTime for another Jodi Picoult!  It was tough to pick which of my pile of Picoult’s to start next.  My warning to you all – don’t read the prologue of this novel, unless you want to read the whole thing…

I finished this book last night.  I guess I’d have to say that I have some mixed feelings about the Picoult novel.  To give you a taste of the topic/concept of this novel, here is a short excerpt from the back of the book:

“The police chief of a small Massachusetts town, Cameron McDonald, makes the toughest arrest of his life when his own cousin Jamie comes to him and confesses outright that he has killed his terminally ill wife out of mercy.”

What I do always love about Picoult is that her story lines are never as simple as a the single already intriguing plot line that is mentioned on the back of the book.  You can probably agree that just the line above, alone, could make for an interesting novel but she doesn’t stop there.  The novel expands beyond the debate over a mercy killing to deal with the subject of love – How MUCH do you love someone and what does that equal in terms of what you would do for them?  This is reflected in the lives of all of the key players in the novel as they reflect on Jamie’s action and think about their own marriages and relationships.  The key turning point for a number of the central characters comes near the end, when Jamie makes a realization of the difference between letting someone go, and taking someone back – and which of these two really defines love.  I’ll leave that for you to decide for yourself and to discover how the characters in the novel address their love.

Usually I find Picoult very good at evoking the intensity & intimacy of her character’s relationships, however in this novel I felt that she defaulted to showing that through a couple’s sexual relations… that really turned me off to this book because I feel like Picoult can write better than that!  A key sub-plot in the novel is an affair that Cam MacDonald (who is married to Allie) has with a mysterious woman named Mia and how this affects Cam & Allie’s marriage.  There is steamy sexual tension between Cam and Mia that you can feel as soon as they meet for the first time… but Picoult takes this further by going into some detail of their sexual exploits.  I feel like this is so unnecessary as this connection is clear and stronger and still smouldering without the physical exploits.

All in all, I think this novel is worth reading as the topic of mercy killing is really interesting and, as usual, Picoult does a great job of exploring the different opinions surrounding this topic, making it a unique novel.  If you can get over the multiple brief sexual encounters, and the scuzzy affair aspects… it is a good read.

KimN ~ The Pact

16 05 2009

You know when you go on a trip, and you are in the middle of a book at home, and you know if you bring it along on that trip you will finish it within a day or two and have to lug it around with for the rest of the trip?  Well, I dislike that greatly, so when I went to Texas this last week and a half for a conference & to visit family (you can check out the pictures & stories on my personal blog –, I reached for the chunky paperback The Pact, yet another promising looking Jodi Picoult novel.

The Pact: A Love Story

This book was heartbreaking from the very first page. No, seriously, when you open the book, the first page shows a similar image to the cover (pictured above), but the girl on the right has vanished… heartbreaking.  The novel deals with a couple of teenagers, Chris & Emily, who have grown-up as next door neighbours and eventually started dating.  One fretful night both sets of parents get separate phone calls in the middle of the night, asking them to come to the hospital.  When they arrive, they discover that Emily has died from a shot to the head, and Chris is covered in blood with a head injury.  Chris tearfully explains that he and Emily had set out to commit suicide together that night.  Suspicions arise, as Chris is obviously still alive and evidence points to Emily’s murder.

Again, Picoult’s writes the novel in a unique way, skipping between ‘NOW’ – the current storyline of Chris’ arrest and trail, and the  way that both families deal with the situation – and ‘THEN’ – the past storyline of Chris & Emily’s relationship throughout childhood and up to the point of Emily’s death.

What amazes me about Picoult, as I continue to read her novels, is her ability to make all types of characters & settings come alive.  She is able to speak from the point of view of an 18-year-old male sitting in prison just as easily and believably as she can speak from Emily’s mother’s point of view.  At the same time, she is able to make you feel sympathetic to each of the characters involved in a controversial situation such as suicide and murder… now that takes talent!

And now, back to The Other Boleyn Girl…

KimN ~ My Sister’s Keeper

13 04 2009

My Sister’s Keeper ~ Jodi Picoult

Yeah!!! I’m finally going to read the ‘famous’ Jodi Picoult book… My Sister’s Keeper (then I can read Nicole’s book review on it!)


Wow, Wow, Wow – each Picoult novel I read just gets better and better!!  I finished this book a couple of nights ago, and finally now have time to share my thoughts on it… If I had only one word to describe this book it would be HEART-BREAKING.  I cried multiple times while reading this book… and although I do cry it takes a lot for a book to make me cry.

I’m not sure what I can add to Nicole’s notes on this book… she highlighted the unique way that Picoult constructs the narrative in the novel.  Each character has so much depth, and it is amazing how Picoult can write from the point of view of all types of people – males, females, adults, teenagers – … etc and get it all right, relatable, and true to the age and gender of the person.  Now that is talent!

Picoult’s novels, that I have read so far, take on these amazingly complex and controversial issues.  You may think that you know your point of view or perspective on the issue, until you hear from the different characters involved and each of their unique feelings, perspectives, and thoughts on the issue.

Read this book! All of you!

Nic ~ on the Picoult train…Change of Heart

22 03 2009

Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult

I really liked my first Picoult, and Kim really liked her first, and second and so forth Picoult.  And a whole bunch of my coworkers agree with us too…and most importantly almost every Sunday Kim and her husband and I go to Costco, and we emerge with more Picoult.  So, needless to say, we now have  a plethora of Picoults’ to power through.


You know what I have realized the most since starting this blog?  That I actually hate writing reviews.  I love talking about the book I am reading and sharing my opinions, but I am really horrible at formatting them and making them all streamlined.  Especially for books like this; there are one too many thoughts floating around.  But I will try.  I started this book being kind of wary.  This book deals with a death row inmate accused of murdering a father and daughter, waiting on his sentencing for 11 years.  He’s just been moved into a new cell block before his execution, and his fellow inmates are noticing a sudden onslaught of so called “miracles” which have been occurring since Shay Bourne showed up.  We are brought along on the journey as Shay tries to twist his sentence to let him be able to donate his heart to the other daughter of his victim.  This decision brings in a catholic priest as his spiritual advisor and a ACLU lawyer.  Both these individuals are now working in conjunction with one another to help Shay to make his dying wish come true.  While neither of them may believe that Shay is actually performing miracles, or is involved in the next coming, they do both believe in Shay himself, and that he is working to atone for his own sins.

I at the beginning was immediatly skeptical as to the direction this book was heading as it was posing questions about Judaism, Christianity, Catholicism, and Gnosticism.  The book poses questions as to whether any religion in intself can bring you closer to Jesus, or if it is a personal melding of various ideas.  On a secondary string, this book also follows the heartbreak of a mother and daughter left behind since the murder of her husband and other daughter, struggling with forgiving the man that claims he did not in fact, actually commit the murders.  In the end I followed this book through, and was not that shockingly, impressed with the end.  The way that Picoult crafts a book draws you in, eager to see the results for all the characters.  Although I did not entirely agree with all the religious aspects that were suggested in this book, it did do it’s job in making me, the reader, question the validity of the death penalty, and the degree of prisoners rights, as well as made me look further into my own personal walk with God and religious path on which I am seeking Him on.  So.  Once again, a good read by Picoult, and a spurring of thoughts I hadn’t touhed on in a good while.

Nic ~ My Sister’s Keeper

15 03 2009

My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult

I am currently reading Jodi Picoult on the behest of Kimberly. Oh, and the rest of the entire world.  Considering how involved we both are with reading, and how often we are at Chapters, neither of us were really aware of her works…so odd…so picked one up and it seems I picked a hum-dinger.  Man, I am just plowing full stream ahead into emotional turmoil with my book choices lately, and I have the feeling this one’s going to be on the same lines…

2 DAYS LATER and I am done.  I have successfully made it through my first Jodi Picoult novel.  And I am more than sure that it will not be last.  I am still in awe as to how I have been missing out for so long.  What else have I been missing out on?  Light beam shooting harbor seals?  Braille reading unicorns?  Anyways, I digress.  So I loved this book!  It was excellent.  I will try to explain why with the following:

The style in which Picoult writes drew me in off the get go.  I can relate to the dialect and type of underhanded sarcastic manner in which the main character spoke.  There were real emotions driving the words of this novel.  When the characters are feeling joy, pain, confusion, I felt it too.  Picoult is able to successfully create character in which you can see part of yourself.  The human nature is carefully poured into the persona looking back at you from the page.  I especially liked how this was reflected in each chapter being written from a different first person’s point of view, along with a differnt font used to visually represent the character.  At first I was a bit confused by this aspect, but as soon as I realized what was going on I couldn’t keep from wanting to get to the next chapter, to see how the other characters were relating to the situation.

On to the story itself.  I found this book to be incredibly engaging.  We are introduced to Anna, a young woman dealing with the consequences of the decisions her parents have made for her her entire life.  Anna’s older sister Kate has a rare form of Leukemia, and Anna was genetically fashioned to be a match for her sister and to provide, pretty much, ongoing life for her sister.  As Anna and Kate get older, and as Kate’s condition deteriorates Anna must make huge decisions for herself that will undoubtedly effect Kate just as much.  WHOA.  Talk about an intense, touchy subject for the masses.  Picoult weaves Anna’s families point of view, as well as the lawyer that has now become involved to show the various positions being taken on the issue.  It’s a very interesting path that the reader is taken on.  I for example, initially hated Anna’s mother.  Fast forward to half way through the book, and I can almost begin to understand the motives behind her unyielding desire to use one child to help the other.  You begin to see that there is much more under the surface, that there are so many other reasons and emotions involved in these people’s lives, that one decision cannot be looked down upon without taking into account all the others that could have been made.  Also.  The ending was completely unexpected.  Which just made it all the better.

I’m not that great at wrapping these things up….Read this book.  No matter who you are, you can get something out of it, unless you are a boy, then you probably won’t. Bam. Done.

Kim N ~ Plain Truth

10 03 2009

Plain Truth ~ Jodi Picoult

March 4th – After talking about reading Jodi Picoult’s book Vanishing Acts with a friend at work, she kindly lent me one of her daughter’s Picoult novels – Plain Truth!  I grabbed the book to look over it before bed last night, and couldn’t put it down!  So… stayed tuned for comments on my second read of a Picoult novel!


March 10 – Well, I finished this book last night and it was even better than my first Picoult read!  I’m not even sure how to explain what makes Picoult’s novels so great – they are so complex, with rich characters and relationships that weave around the central plot.  Plain Truth grabbed me from the its very first page, when a young Amish girl delivers her baby boy all alone in a her family’s cow barn.  From there the story focuses on the trial for the murder of the baby, with the young unwed mother, Katie Fisher, as the defendant.  

I find books especially great when I can learn a thing or to from them – especially in terms of history or culture.  This novel’s focus on the Amish culture gives it a twist that is unique.  It was especially interesting to see this culture through the eyes of the central character, Ellie Hathaway – the big-shot lawyer who is distantly related to Katie and ends up defending her in court and living at the Fisher farm for the duration of the trial.  The comparison between the Amish culture and Western culture are really interesting and are a big part of what gives the novel its unique dynamic.

As I was reading my second Picoult novel, I was trying to figure out what the common thread could be in her novels.  Picoult’s website tags her novels as being about family, relationships, and love.  The two I have read so far definitely deal with these topics, and they also have a court case as a central aspect of the story-line.  We’ll have to wait and see if this continues as I read Picoult’s other novels!

I would recommend this book as a first Picoult read to anyone who is curious about her novels, I’m sure you will get hooked like I have – I can’t wait to get my hands on my next Jodi Picoult!  I think I’d better pick a different author for my next read though… there is such thing as having too much of a good thing!