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Plainly one of Picoults best!
Plain Truth - Jodi Picoult
Member Name: Ainat
Plain Truth - Jodi Picoult
Date: 23/05/11, updated on 25/07/13 (75 review reads)
Advantages: Great story and character development.
Disadvantages: None! Unless you count the fact that you can't put it down!
As you may have noticed from other reviews, I am a big Jodi Picoult fan, and am slowly working my way through reviewing her books. The latest one that I've managed to get the chance to sit down and read is 'Plain Truth', and I have to say, this is has now become one of my favourite books by Jodi.
~A Brief Outline of the Story~
Katie Fisher is 18, and at the opening of the book when the reader meets her she has just given birth in secret. Something that makes Katie a little different from your 'normal' teenage mother is that she is Amish. Having a baby out of wedlock is a sin. When this baby is found dead the next morning and Katie refuses to admit even giving birth, let alone what has happened to the newborn, a police investigation is launched with Katie the prime suspect. Katie is accused of first degree murder.
Early on in the book we also meet Ellie. Ellie is a big time defence lawyer, who wins a huge amount of the cases she takes on. Feeling the need for a break from her city lifestyle she goes and stays with her relative - Leda, who also happens to be Katie's aunt. Leda begs Ellie to help Katie, and after originally declining, Ellie takes on Katie's case. In order to meet the bail conditions Ellie has to move on to Katie's parents farm, which also means adopting many of the Amish ways of life.
The book is split into two parts. The first part focuses on Katie and Ellie's relationship, how Ellie goes about compiling evidence to use in her case and how she adapts to living on the Fisher's farm, and teachers the reader a lot about the Amish way of life. The second part of the book focuses more on the court case. Will the jury find Katie guilty or not guilty of first degree murder? Of course I'm not going to tell you the final verdict in this review! You'll have to read the book!
As already said at the beginning of the review I loved this book and it has become one of my favourite Jodi Picoult novels. But why?
Well, first off, the story itself is brilliant, and is written really well. Starting off so tragically with the death of a newborn in the first few pages the novel develops further to be not only a tragedy, but a story about love, about religion, about family, as well as leading in to the courtroom drama that follows. Jodi's style of writing means that we see the events that happens from a number of characters perspectives throughout. A number of chapters in the book are also written totally from Ellie's perspective. I found this very enlightening as it's in these chapters that we really see the way Ellie adapts both as a person and how she is finding as adapting to the Amish ways of life. Being a big city lawyer there is a huge difference in lifestyle. This is discussed really well throughout the book.
As well as really feeling I got to know the character of Ellie, I also felt that the reader gets to know the other characters in the book really well too. I really felt that I got to know Katie, and I could see her personal struggles and understand them from her point of view. Some other worthy of note characters include Katie's parents. Her dad is a very strict Amish and believes in following the church as closely as possible. At points he does come across as a bit of an evil-ish character in the eyes of someone not from the Amish way of life (how could he put church before his children?), but I felt his character is developed enough for him to lose this label, and that the reader can begin to understand his point of view too. Sarah, Katie's mother, is also a well developed character and we learn a lot about the Amish way of life through her. Samuel, Katie's boyfriend, is another well developed character. He has to do a lot of thinking and has to decide what is right. We also learn what it is like to be 'shunned' from the Amish community through the character of Jacob, Katie's older brother (who has left the community to study). Through Jacobs story we learn why it was so important to Katie to keep her pregnancy a secret - but in the American court system hiding the pregnancy, and then the baby being discovered dead does not look good for Katie...
With so many well developed characters doing a lot of soul searching within themselves, you can't help but think 'what would I do in that position?' This is something Jodi does brilliantly in all her novels. The way the story is written leaves the reader constantly guessing what is going to happen next, and as a result is a definite page turner. As in her other books there is a bit of a Jodi twist at the end. I would definitely recommend this book (and have done!).
I bought my copy in practically new condition from a local charity shop, however Plain Truth is currently on Amazon for £4.19 with free delivery. Alternatively you can buy from other sellers on Amazon from £3.68 new and £1.07 used but delivery charges may apply.
Summary: Well written, emotional, brilliant story and character development. Definitely worth a read!