Jodi Picoult's poignant number one New York Times best-selling novels about family and love tackle hot-button issues head on. In The Storyteller, Sage Singer befriends Josef Weber, a beloved Little League coach and retired teacher. But then Josef asks Sage for a favor she never could have imagined - to kill him. After Josef reveals the heinous act he committed, Sage feels he may deserve that fate. But would his death be murder or justice?
©2013 Jodi Picoult (P)2013 Recorded Books
Based on the summary, I thought most of the story would be centered on Josef, however, it was more about Sage's grandmother, , a victim and survivor of the Holocaust. I think I was looking forward to a more in depth exploration of a SS officer during and after the war, and that is the reason why I haven't given this a 5. Having said this, it is a very good story with good narration. I really liked "My Sister's Keeper" and did not like at all "Lone Wolf", so Jodi Picoult books for me can be hit or miss. I guessed most of the ending, however, the book has made me think about the characters and what I liked and did not like about some of them, well after finishing the book. I would recommend this book to others.
I believe a reviewer should finish a book before submitting a review. What do you think?
This books begins with Sage Singer's life. She chooses to be a baker working alone at night she says, to hide her scar(s). She tells us "I leave the dough alone. It's silly to anthropomorphize bread......it needs to sit quietly, to retreat from touch and noise and drama in order to evolve and so do I". Sage is evolving; she rejects her religious heritage; she is an atheist.
She finds herself befriending a very old German man with a past that is perhaps entwined with her family somehow. She is faced with her Jewish roots. Sage must make choices that cause her to question her most basic beliefs.
I usually stay way from detailed stories about the Holocaust, I just find it too horrific. This author does go there. So just know to expect a detailed first person account of many atrocities.
I liked that the author is very serious and addresses these issues head on. And then at times Ms. Picoult made me giggle, she writes,“....tutoring a four year old to get into an exclusive preschool made as much sense as hiring a swim coach for a guppy......”
I liked this book because it held my interest throughout. Although at times, for me, Ms. Picoult's writing lacks something, it was easy for me to overlook because I was really hooked in the plot.
Overall this is a solid good book.
Absolutely. I haven't read the print version, but this book lends itself to being the perfect book for the audio format. The story is told by many points of view, including different voices of narration, and you can't help but being sucked into the story. I couldn't wait to be able to listen more and found myself annoyed when life got in the way. A theme throughout the book is "How does it (the story) end?" I found myself wanting to know the same and what happens next the whole way through the book including right up to the very end. Overall, a great book and a moving story!!
Sage - her internal struggles with grief and loss and the uncanny friendship she finds in Joseph only add to her struggles with his admission of his past secrets. Listening (and imagining) Sage evolve, transform and struggle with the task presented to her was fascinating and thought provoking.
Minka - when she opens up and tells of her past, you are drawn in. Her story is captivating and the narration makes you feel like you are sitting in the room as she shares her past in the ghetto and concentration camps.
No, my reaction to this book would be better described as captivated or spell bound. I was sucked in. While I did laugh out loud a few times (thanks to Leo's wittiness), I actually didn't cry. More times I was disgusted by the conditions and life described so many Jews were subject to.
There were some great quotes included in this book that I caught myself jotting down.
"Good people are good people. Religion has nothing to do with it."
"It's amazing what you convince yourself of if you buy into the lie. You can believe, for example, that a dead-end job is a career. You can blame your ugliness for keeping people at bay when in reality, you're crippled by the thought of letting another person scar you more deeply. You can tell yourself it's safer to love someone who will never really love you back because you can't lose someone you never had...."
Fast approaching retirement as a life long oncology nurse. I love family more than anything. I enjoy reading (audio only), movies, travels, paper crafting, photography, gardening and just being alive.
I must start by saying I am a huge fan of Jodi Picoult and have read most of her books. (I did not like her last one, Lone Wolf.) I know she uses a formula but it usually works for me. This one didn't use her typical formula - sans courtroom scene. This was not one of my favorite Jodi books. I can't give you a good reason why though. It wasn't the Holocaust story line that bothered me. It was well done and obviously well researched. I felt like there were too many story lines and just too many parts that were not plausible.
I did not like the fable/ vampire part of the story at all. That is what may have ruined the book for me. It just kept getting in the way of the real story. I think the book would have been better without it. Also, I so wanted to get to know both brothers.
The ending was very predictable, so why wasn't it predictable to the main character?
I'd still recommend the book. The theme of forgiveness is one I will ponder for a long time. I am anxious to have my 25 year old daughter read it and see what she thinks.
I will admit that I am a longtime fan of Jodi Picoult but this book ranks very high, possibly the best. I was able to foresee most of the twists but actually "living" the story rendered that irrelevant. I was truly riveted.
The performance was OUTSTANDING. Each of the 4 narrators were spectacular as well as each reader's performance exemplary. When a male character lapses into a quite decent Katherine Hepburn, I was blown away. The voices, accents and inflections were spot on!
I very highly recommend this book. I think it is well worth a peek regardless of personal views of the subject matter or the author.
Retired book buyer/book manager for wholesale distributor in the 5 largest northeast states. Prolific reader who was inundated with ARCs.
Moral dilemnas, the most difficult of ethical considerations are embraced in this tale of a Nazi who wants to die at the hands of the granddaughter of one of his victims. Fascinating characters, incredible story within a story, this is a journey for the listener into the past most have forgotten. Visceral and heart wrenching this amazingly well told story is one of Picoult''s most interesting and absorbing books.
Canadian girl in Kansas, love audible, books on kindle or kindle fire, and old fashioned books! I enjoy fiction most, mostly books with strong female leads. Favourite authors: Diana Gabaldon, Stephen King, Jodi Picoult, Wally Lamb, Pat Conroy, Andre Dubus III, Lisa Genova, many more!
Overall, I felt that the perplexity and the fantastic chrarters are definitely the best part of 'The Story Teller. I was very hard to put down. I got lost in the points of view of the Holocaust, and then I found the point of view from a guard at Auschwitz. Picoult devles into th social history of the Holocaust, and tells the story from an officer who was there, and a woman who was there to take him abuses. She adds a certain 'human' element to each character, and displays their weaknesses, flaws, and strong points.
There are so many wonderful moments in The Story Teller, however the most memorable moment was when the grandmother is speaking, and tells of her best friend being murdered in front of her eyes even though she's not done anything wrong. The entire story was really very memorable and well done. It will stick with me forever.
I really loved the German accents, and the way the few lines in German sounded. I loved the different voices for each character.
I was especially moved when Sage, the granddaughter of the Holocaust survivor, learned of everything that had happened to her grandmother. The comparing of 'What if that would happen now?' is simply terrifying. Also, I cried a one point where a lady had to suffocate her baby to keep it quiet. (Won't say who)
I think this is the most intimate book Picoult has ever written and I could not put it down. It was a fantastic read.
NO ONE can tell a story like Jodi Picoult. The narration is unbelievable. Perfectly fits the image she wants to portray I imagine. I do not know how a person can read when the narrators bring a story to life. I was a little nervous about this one...not being a fan of history or period pieces but as I said....Jodi just brings it to life.
My reviews are honest. No sugar coating here.
It's always a treat when you get to listen to more than one narrator to perform different characters in a book. It always helps the listener to identify their favorite characters in the story.
I'm not too familiar with Jodi Picoult's work. "The Storyteller" is only my second book from this author, but from what I've read so far, I really enjoy Picoult's writing, even though I belong to the male species. Her story telling is very engaging, but not gear to a specific gender unlike other romance authors.
I really enjoyed the fictional history with the grandma and her tale about the Holocaust. Part 2 in The Storyteller was excellent and I wanted to hear more, even though it was fiction.
Once I latch to an author, I have to read most of their novels. I will be purchasing more of Jodi Picoult's novels to expand my library.
The narration is one of the best that I've listened to this year because of the cast of readers.
Sage is a young woman who befriends an elderly man in her grief support group, and he asks her to kill him as a kind of twisted form of justice for his previous crimes 60+ years before when he was an SS officer..........but that's not really what the book is about. Too bad, because that would have made a more interesting book about justice, forgiveness, sacrifice, self-loathing, and self-doubt.
Instead we get a retrospective story about how Sage's grandmother lived and survived though World War II and internment in Nazi concentration camps, in great part because of her unfinished and ongoing story that she'd written.....the story had captivated an SS officer who helped her survive Auschwitz because he kept wanting to know what happened next in her story. That forms the biggest chunk of the book, and it's mixed with that telling of the story that she (the grandmother) wrote - which bears an unfortunate resemblance to a teen vampire love story. 'I killed for him, isn't that a sign that we were meant to be together?' -- Ugh!
There's a definite undertone of Christian mythology in the book, in spite of the fact that Sage is an atheist and her grandmother was a Jew who survived the holocaust: Mary, Joseph, Adam, and Eve (well, it's actually Eva), all appear and bread is a central thread as the staff of life and livelihood, and the manifestation of the baker's emotions. Overall, I thought it was rather heavy handed in it's symbolism and language.
"A real page turner"
Enjoyed this book but wasn't too impressed/satisfied with ending.
Gripping in many places but couldn;t really connect with character Sage.
"Ambitiously promises a lot which it can’t quite de"
This is a moving account of the holocaust with excruciating attention to the horror- the subject matter is dealt with better then might be expected. However, I was desperate for the book to do more that it managed to achieve- it promises in its subplots and undertones to explore the monstrous nature of humanity and unpack the complexity of forgiveness and death. However, these themes never seem to quite get out of the box. I failed to understand the ending and the decisions made by the central characters left me back tracking through the story to see whether it was my mistake to find it baffling. This book promises much that it can’t quite deliver, tackling an incredibly difficult subject it falls short of its own very high ambitions and, a victim of its own ambition, left me a little bewildered and disappointed.
"A Page Turner"
Whilst its definately a page turner that will have you listening way into the night its not my favourite Picoult book because I failed to relate to the main characters. I found Sage quite whiney but then she was in a difficult position.
You think you know it all but you will be led up different paths before finally it all becomes clear. Well worth listening to but somewhat different to what we have come to expect from Jodi Picoult. The subject matter is difficult and an horrendous period in time which she deals with very well.
The ending had to be a difficult one but I felt it to be the best we could expect.
I loved listening to this book as the narrators really bought it to life, totally first class reading.
Being a great fan of Jodi Picoult, again, this book is excellent if somewhat terrifying, and like all others I have read by her, extremely well researched.
However, I found the voice of Leo (Fred Berman) hugely distracting and irritating because of the sharp intake of breath before each sentence. The other narrators were good.
"Moving, but predictable"
The writing and narration were beautiful. Minka's retelling of her experiences of the Holocaust was heartbreaking and moving. Much of the rest was entirely predictable and cliched.
"A must read...."
Excellent believable thoughtful
The grandmothers story of the german camps.....I had no idea!
I like the way each person became alive
Don,t listen to it at night.....you won,t sleep......too much for one sitting
My fav bit was the song for her mothers funeral.......sort of thing that would happen to me
"Heartbreaking and Wonderful in Equal Parts"
I love Jodi Picoult and this is the first of her books I have listened to (altho I also have the paperback). The narration is excellent and added to the depth of the story for me, I guessed at the twist early in the tale, but it doesnt spoil the ending, in fact I thought it made the revelations even more poignant. Another winner from Jodi.
"The lives I have known"
Hell and back
Three stories in one. The story Sage is living, her grandmother experience in Nazi Germany and the story Sage grandmother has written.
Sage. Sage is having an internal struggle with herself. On one hand she is living with the guilt of her mothers death and the scars on her face. On the other hand can she forgive Josephs his crimes against the Jews during the war. Is it her place to forgive. Can she forgive herself for living while her mother died.
When, as a young girl, Sage grandmother witnessed the cold blooded murder of her friend and the subsequent beating, leaving her battered and broken.
I loved this story. I will no doubt listen to it again and again
"Brutal, Harrowing, Heartfelt"
A story that will make you wretch, cry, reflect, smile and stay with you.
The Storyteller begins in present day when a complex young woman Sage, meets an old German man Josef at grief group - it's not the most gripping start but stick with it - what follows are chapters told from different characters POV flashing between present day and the period of the Second World War.
The characters Sage, Leo, Josef, Minka and Anya each build the story layer by layer with tales of horrendous brutality, contemplations of good and evil and questions about humanity.
Josef's chapters left me feeling sick and at times I thought I would have to turn off as the descriptive passages were so brutal - and yet I kept listening because I knew these details were gleaned from the truth of our living history.
Minka's chapter's were equally harrowing and took up the largest part of the book, although I was happy to hear her story, which was so full of tragedy, unfairness, hardship, family and in a weird kind of way luck too.
Whilst I have watched films and read non-fiction accounts of the brutality the Jewish people faced during the rise of Hitlers Army there is something about the first person narrator in this book that transports you right there, so the horror's are tangible.
Each time I paused this book I found myself thinking about it constantly and whilst I know my mind will eventually drift back to the little problems in my life it has actually made me appreciate how lucky I am to live in a society where I am free, valid and equal. I feel like telling anyone who has little knowledge of the brutality of the concentration camps to read this book, just so they understand the suffering.
I have read several of Jody Picoult's books, my favourite up until know being 'Change of Heart' but the 'Storyteller' has snatched the top spot - a truly powerful and moving novel.
I'm not one to leave reviews generally, but i thought that i would for this book as i was enthralled from the moment i started listening to it. Wonderfully narrated with raw emotion and the way it has been told really let you feel that you wre there in the moment. Harrowing at times, but extrenely well done and with great sensitivity.
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