Monday, January 28, 2008

Plain Truth - Jodi Picoult

Title: Plain Truth
Author: Jodi Picoult
Date Finished: Jan 25, 2008
Yearly Count: 5
Pages: 405
Rating: 3.75/5

Yes, I am procrastinating on my Book Thief thoughts. Grrr. But this book is much simpler to write about--sort of. :)

Plain Truth is my sixth Jodi Picoult book (and since I've recently purchased two more, not my last). At the beginning of the novel, a young girl gives birth to a baby, falls asleep, and when she wakes up the baby is gone. The young girl, Katie, is unmarried and Amish. When the baby is found dead and the police arrive to question the residents of the home, Katie exhibits no knowledge of just having a baby--although physically it is obvious. Even though Katie does not remember having the baby, she is implicated for the murder.

On the other side of the spectrum is Ellie, a high-powered, big-city attorney, who escapes to Lancaster County, PA, at the beginning of the novel for a break from the courtroom. However, her rest is cut short when she inadvertently becomes involved in Katie's defense as she is persuaded to be Katie's attorney and "guardian". Because Ellie must be with Katie at all times, she also must live with Katie's family within the Amish community. As Ellie adapts and adjusts to the Amish lifestyle, she enters into a tangled web of truth and lies, Plain morals versus English morals, and just how far the Amish will go to protect their own--and how quickly they will turn their backs on those who have done wrong.

I felt engaged by this story, but not until halfway through the novel. After six novels, I'm starting to feel as though the characters and stories from all of her books are beginning to blend together. Ellie could have been any number of women from the other novels--and her love problems could have been the love problems in any of the novels. Woman goes through a period of uncertainty. Woman meets man. Woman becomes more assured by the end of the book. Even when it switched from omniscient to first person (Ellie) perspective I had a difficult time discerning between the two (except for the use of "I"). HOPEFULLY I'm wrong and I won't continue to have these feelings with her other books. :(

But, I did like the book, and Picoult continually allows the reader to dive into the story for total immersion with her details and knowledge. I loved reading about the Amish culture and its complexities. I think I'm in the minority because many people have said they rank this among Picoult's best, but it still doesn't beat out The Pact, My Sister's Keeper, and Keeping Faith as my top three picks.


Katie said...

Hi Trish!
Nice review here, I agree with a lot of what you said. I liked this book, although it's by far not my favorite of Picoult's. Which others have you read?

Holly said...


Thanks for checking out my blog! I agree that Picoult's books do seem to be a bit formulaic and I've only read three. But for some reason, they are somewhat addicting. I think her style of writing is nice, it flows pretty well. Maybe that's why we keep coming back for more.


Literary Feline said...

I really liked Plain Truth, although it isn't quite my most favorite of Picoult's so far. Your comment about her books all being similar makes me glad I am not the kind of reader who likes to go on a reading frenzy of one author straight (with the exception of a series if the mood strikes).

CJ said...

I've got at least one of her books in my TBR pile and your review has made me want to add this one. Thanks!


Anonymous said...

I have only read The Pact and Vannishing Acts so far, but I am hoping to read more of her work soon. I have mixed feelings about her at the moment as the reviews are either very good or really negative. It's good though that this was one of your favourites.

Anonymous said...

I have a friend that always seems to be reading a Picoult book - how many has she written?! And since I jump between authors, styles, genres, I have no yet tried Picoult. I tend to shy away from the bigseller 'formulaic' authors, I guess. Thanks for the review!

Susan said...

This is the first Picoult I read, too. I don't know if I would call it my favorite of hers, but it was a good one...

I find her writing really addicting. I think it's because she so brilliantly shows all sides of an issue.

Trish @ Love, Laughter, Insanity said...

*Katie - I've read My Sister's Keeper, The Pact, Keeping Faith, Plain Truth, 19 Minutes, and The Tenth Circle (and I rank them in that order). I also own Salem Falls and Vanishing Acts. :)

*Holly - And I didn't mean to be so negative because I do really like Picoult's style, but I'm finding myself less and less surprised at the endings. I hope you continue to enjoy her books! I know i will!

*Literary Feline - I liked this one as well, but for the first 200 pages I felt as if the story was at a standstill--Katie was adamantly saying she did not have the baby, which everyone knew was not true. Once I got passed when she finally began remembering what happened, then they story really started to pick up. Although I guessed wrong at the ending (although similar to what I thought), I wasn't surprised...I'm really looking forward to Vanishing Acts, though. :)

*CJ - I hope you like her books. I've really enjoyed them--she takes complicated and controversial subjects and *makes* you get tangled up in the emotional upheaval of the story. So, if you like that sort of thing!...

*Rhinoa - To be honest, I'm not sure if I've read a whole lot of negative comments about Picoult's work. (Although, I did receive some nasty comments about *my* review of The Tenth Circle recently). I really like her stories and will continue to go back for more.

*bkclubcare - I don't read a whole lot of "formulaic" stuff either (at least I think), but I really enjoy Picoult's writing--and don't even know if I would consider it formulaic. Just familiar. :)

Trish @ Love, Laughter, Insanity said...

*Susan - That is one of my favorite aspects of Picoult's writing. I LOVE the different perspectives and the different spins/angles. I think she does this best in My Sister's Keeper--at least out of the ones I've read.

Anonymous said...

I shall have to put your top three picks on my TBR and try to get to them sometime this year. I'm reading Tenth Circle this month. I shall have to find your review for that one after I'm finished.

Becca said...

I think when you read too much of any one author you start to see the links between their other books. I had the same problem with the most recent Sophie Kinsella book. I knew exactly what was going to happen toward the end of the book because all of a sudden I realized all of her other books had been almost identical, aside from where and what the story was about.

Plain Truth was only my second Picoult book so I figure I have a few more to go before I really start to see the similarities. And hopefully it won't put me off the books because she writes about such interesting subjects.

P.S. I included a link to your review in my review. I hope you don't mind!

Trish @ Love, Laughter, Insanity said...

*Natasha - not sure how I missed this comment! Anyway, Tenth Circle is my least favorite Picoult--I hope you have better luck with her (now knowing that you've been on the fence a little)

*Becca - Picoult usually manages to surprise me still, and I don't mind her formula because it keeps me intersted. Hopefully you continue to enjoy her work!