August 20, 2009

The Tenth Circle of Hell?

As I have a lot of book reviewing to catch up on, I thought I would get this one out there and done with!

Jodi Picoult - The Tenth Circle

"When Daniel Stone was a child, he was the only white boy in a native Eskimo village where his mother taught, and he was teased mercilessly because he was different. He fought back, the baddest of the bad kids: stealing, drinking, robbing and cheating his way out of the Alaskan bush – where he honed his artistic talent, fell in love with a girl and got her pregnant. To become part of a family, he reinvented himself – jettisoning all that anger to become a docile, devoted husband and father. Fifteen years later, when we meet Daniel again, he is a comic book artist. His wife teaches Dante’s Inferno at a local college; his daughter, Trixie, is the light of his life – and a girl who only knows her father as the even-tempered, mild-mannered man he has been her whole life. Until, that is, she is date raped…and Daniel finds himself struggling, again, with a powerlessness and a rage that may not just swallow him whole, but destroy his family and his future."

Some of my friends who are avid Picoult readers discouraged me from reading this one. They said it was boring and that the characters were not altogether likeable. After reading it, I can see what they mean. However, I think they were comparing this to her other books. In that respect, yes this book wasn't that great. If you look at it as a stand alone book by a first time author, it was quite good.

Picoult usually inspires tears. This book did not do that, but it was interesting and different. The small glimpes into Alaskan Eskimo life was refreshing and different. Perhaps it was skimmed over just a little bit, but that seems to be a common thread for all of Picoult's books. The cultural background is just that - a background to push the story forward. She's dabbled with the Amish, Wicca, Scottish clan mentality, and now Eskimos. I suppose I would have to recommend this book with a warning though. The ending was not what I expected, but that's not necessarily a good thing. Without revealing the conclusion, I will say that it seems like Picoult wanted to end it in a way that was shocking without actually making very much sense. Either way, it was entertaining and well written.

More book reviews to come!!