Sunday, April 26, 2009

It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents, except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind...

My name is Babelbabe, and I am a snob.
(hangs head in shame).

Not a people snob (except I don‘t like stupid people). (Sorry, stupid people.)

Not even a food snob – I have been known to indulge in the occasional Pringle “potato” chip (er, should that be “potato” “chip”?) or Sno-Ball.

No, a book snob. I am sure this won’t come as a surprise to most of you.
But usually, I am RIGHT.

Danielle Steele? Check.
Twilight? Check.
John Grisham. Check.

All trash. Badly written trash, for the most part. Formulaic trash.

But today, I stand before you to tell you: I was wrong about Jodi Picoult.

Deep down, to the bone, WRONG. And I am so sorry.

On the recommendation of high school friends (did I ever post about the Every Child Left Behind weekend? I don’t think I did. The name says it all.), I read Jodi Picoult’s Handle with Care.

People, I could NOT put it down. I finished it in 2 days. I can’t recall the last time I did that, the last time I carried a book around the house with me, to read whenever I had a spare moment or two.

I was completely captivated. Picoult’s character development was flawless; I cared so deeply about even the unsympathetic ones, and I was able to at least somewhat comprehend their complicated and conflicted reasoning. Her plotting was intricate without being plodding. The book is clearly intensively and extensively researched, without being all “Look how much *I* know!” There were subtle turns of phrase, and even subtler turns of events, all which delighted and made sense within the story. Perhaps it’s because this is my first Picoult, but the ending blew me away. Her novels may be formulaic, but the formula is executed beautifully and, again, subtly. Subtle is key here. It is what separates Picoult from the other hacks churning out novel after novel after novel.

She may be predictable, but you don’t realize you’re being led by the nose until you’re done and the spell is released.

Dudes, I ignored my children whining for lunch to read this book. (My husband WAS home at the time.) I hid in the bathroom, pretending to take a shower, to finish it.
Doesn’t that tell you everything you need to know?

Now – I am requesting a few more of Picoult’s books from the library today, and we’ll see if she upholds this standard. Somehow, I suspect that she does. I am looking forward to finding out.


Janet said...

I highly recommend "Vanishing Act" as your next Picoult. My personal favorite.

ssheers said...

And I recommend "My Sister's Keeper."

sueeeus said...

I'm so obtuse that I don't even recognize a formula, and I feel like a buffoon when I read your reviews... ....I'm more like my 4yo in which the depth of review that I'm capable of is, "I wike it" or "I don't wike it". And that is all. ;)

Someday I plan to read some of your recommendations. :)

teachergirl said...

Oh, BabelBabe, I was captivated by My Sister's Keeper. I went on a Jodi Picoult rampage - I read everything I could get my hands on and I mean everything. Nineteen Minutes became my undoing - I couldn't believe her ending and then I realized that she, too, is writing with some kind of formula. I don't want to ruin it for you, so go ahead and get your Jodi fix. But, as for me, I'm through with her. I even read that last book of hers and she did the same thing that she has done with lots of her books. But that's just me and my opinion. I'm looking for something else to read - summer's coming!!!

Bearette said...

I can't get into her at all.

Badger said...

I thought FOR SURE I had read something of hers, or at least PURCHASED something of hers, but after checking Goodreads and my towering stack o' books and Amazon I realized that I've just SEEN about a gazillion of her books at my favorite library book sale (where paperbacks are $1, except when they're 2 for $1).

Er. So maybe I'll get one next time, yo.

Meanwhile I just ordered Eclipse for the girl. Sigh.

Kristin said...

The only book I've read by her is Plain Truth (Amish, hidden pregnancy, court case)and although I liked it, I definitely didn't love it. I felt manipulated by the ending. But she does write a compelling read. Maybe I will try her again.

Anonymous said...

I think My Sister's Keeper was my first Picoult, and I liked it up until the end, when I rolled my eyes so hard they popped out of their sockets and disappeared under the couch. I went on to read a few others, and eh. But I'll try this newest one, since the great BabelBabe recommends it. Naturally, there are 100 people on the waiting list, so it'll be a while...

BabelBabe said...

it is my first Picoult, so I may grow weary of her tricks. but i was simply surprised by how good the writing was. More than competent -downright skillful.

eurolush said...

What Liz said. Couldn't even finish it. Had to donate it immediately. Be gone!

Am intrigued by your review, though...