Jan 26, 2009

Plain Truth

by Jodi Picoult

I had never heard of Jodi Picoult before my mother recommended this book to me, years ago. I was curious about it at first because the novel depicted Amish life. It also harbors a mystery, and a murder. The story begins with a lawyer from a big city visiting her distant aunt in a small Amish town. While she's there a dead baby is found in the barn, and an unwed teenage girl is suspect- as both its mother and murderer. Reluctantly the lawyer takes on the girl's defense, and gradually she becomes more and more involved, personally as well as professionally. To better understand things she lives in the Amish community while working on the trial. While I found the details of Amish culture interesting (but I have no idea how accurate they are), the characters were flat, the storyline became predictable, and some of the lawyer's actions were decidedly unprofessional- which added plenty of drama but made it feel unrealistic to me. One of the more interesting aspects of the story is that in spite of plain evidence pointing to her guilt, the Amish girl steadfastly denied not only harming the child, but even bearing it, and her mental stability and perception of reality were questioned. I did puzzle over "who did it" up until the end, so that kept me going through the novel. But I left it not caring a whit about the characters, and forgetting them quickly. The Plain Truth was an enjoyable read, entertaining for the moment, yet holding nothing spectacular or memorable.

I know I'm one of the few who dislikes this author, so please read some of the other bloggers' views, in the links below. And if you've got one to share, let me know and I'll add your link.

Rating: 3/5 ........ 432 pages, 2000

More opinions at:
Trish's Reading Nook
Book in Hand
On My Bookshelf
Piling on the Books
Book Nook
Popin's Lair
Books, Memes and Musings
So Many Books, So Little Time
B&B Ex Libris
Jackets and Covers


Eva said...

I don't like Picoult either. :) I only read one of her books, but I just wasn't impressed.

Teresa said...

Count me in as another non-Picoult fan. Your comment, "an enjoyable read, entertaining for the moment, yet holding nothing spectacular or memorable" sums up my feelings exactly.

Alison said...

Thanks for the link! I both love and hate the Picoult, depending on the book. I gave this one a high rating mostly because I mentally excised that end reveal, and because I thought the Amish/English interaction was interesting and, from what I hear, true to life.

The problem with Picoult is that once you've read one of her novels, you know how all the others are going to go... it's just a matter of how engaging she makes her chosen topic.

Bookfool said...

I've read two or three Picoult books and I didn't like any of them, but I actually have more on my shelves. Could be I need to just give up on her and pass them on.

Susan B. Evans said...

You are not the only one - there are sooooo many people who do not like Picoult. I've read two of her books - Plain Truth and My Sister's Keeper - and while I don't love her, I can say I do like her. Of course, I thought My Sister's Keeper was the better of the two.

It seems like people like or do not like Picoult based on a single book. My sister read 19 Minutes and hated it - she will never give Picoult another chance - that's how bad she thought the book was.

Jeane said...

Susan- that's funny, I've read exactly the same two Picoult books you have (if I've read a third, I forgot completely about it). I heard too much about how the books all followed a similar pattern/had similar characters, and lost interest in reading any more.

Chain Reader said...

I'm pretty neutral when it comes to Picoult. I've read this one and My Sister's Keeper only because they were book club selections. Everyone else raved and want to read all of her books, but I don't have much of an interest. At the book club for Plain Truth I was embarrassed because I even forgot how it ended--it just didn't make much of an impression on me! I did find the depiction of life among the Amish interesting, and I like her writing style, but too many things seem to me unrealistic and coincidental--like the fact that a girl who is seeing a ghost of her sister just happens to meet a guy who has made ghosts the center of his research.

Petunia said...

I have stayed away from this author because I have a feeling I won't like her based on what I've heard her books are like, from both the positive and negative side. The story sounds intriguing but I'll pass once again.

Trish said...

I definitely don't think you are the only one who doesn't care for Picoult...there are just so many people out there who RAVE about her that it seems that way. This one was my least favorite of all the ones I've read. I just couldn't get into it either and ended up not caring about the characters.

jennysbooks said...

I haven't read Plain Truth yet - I find that Jodi Picoult's books are entertaining to read, if you're in the mood. But that's it. I don't know what everyone goes on and on about.

Jeane said...

Thank you all for chiming in! I see so many raves about Picoult everywhere, she's so popular, I felt I was the only one who really didn't care for her writing. Glad to know I'm not the only one!

Maw Books said...

So funny that you should post this book review today. We just discussed this for my IRL book club last night. Everybody loved it. I thought it was okay. They feel all cookie cutter to me. I've just read four but will still give My Sister's Keeper a try. She's coming to SLC to do a signing in the next couple of months. Contemplating on going.

Bybee said...

After My Sister's Keeper, my one and only outing with Picoult, I am so never reading her again. So don't feel like the Lone Ranger.

Kristina said...

This one was my favorite from her. I'm not into her other one's unless they border on spooky. This one I liked though. I think Mariska Hargitay did a good job in the Lifetime Movie version.

Jeane said...

I didn't know any of her books were spooky. Which are you thinking of? I might like them better than the ones I did read.