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I went through a stage of reading any Jodi Picoult books that were in the local library but there came a point when they became a bit too dark and depressing and I wanted a light-hearted change. After a few months break, I spotted one that I hadn't read and decided to check it out.
Fourteen-year-old Trixie is devestated when her boyfriend, Jason, breaks up with her. But not half as horrified as when he later rapes her. A subsequent trial is planned but before it can happen, Jason mysteriously dies. Was it a suicide, or did something more sinister take place that night?
The main characters are:
DANIEL - Trixie's father is understandably beside himself after the revelation that his precious daughter was violated in such a horrific way. He vows to do anything to protect her but does that extend to murder? Although the book synopsis (and my brief description) make it sound as though the book is predominantly about Trixie, Daniel is actually just as prominent a character and the narrative frequently focuses on him for large chunks, delving backwards in time to his childhood in Alaska.
LAURA - Trixie's mother has been having an affair and the guilt of being absent when her daughter was raped is weighing heavily on her mind. She doesn't feature as prominently as Daniel or Trixie.
TRIXIE - Being raped turns Trixie's world upside down and overnight she finds herself a virtual outcast at the centre of a pending court case. It's hard not to feel a lot of sympathy for her predicament.
It's written in the third person, with the narrative flipping between Trixie, Daniel, Laura and the detective assigned to the case.
I've enjoyed most of the Jodi Picoult books that I've read but this one didn't quite hit the mark for me. There wasn't a huge amount of plot to speak of and things seem to be quite drawn out. Even the revelation of the rape itself doesn't happen at the very start of the book. After this, Jason's death happens more quickly than you might assume and the rest of the book is a bit of a 'what really happened' thereafter with a random jaunt in Alaska thrown into the mix. If I'm being brutally honest, this part of the book seemed a bit irrelevant and the whole thing could have been considerably shorter. I don't mean to make this sound like an awful book but in comparison to some of her other work, it just didn't grab me. I'll admit that I was fairly interested in finding out what really happened to Jason but I couldn't help but feel that the ending was a bit of an anti-climax.
Like a lot of her other work, there is another strand running through the narrative and in this case, it's Daniel's past in Alaska. While I'm no doubt that Picoult must put a lot of effort into her research to capture life in this area, the language and so on, I don't really find that these strands add much to the overall story and can be a bit distracting at times, unless it all just goes over my head!
Trixie Stone is 15 years old, and her life changes forever. After coming home from a party, she breaks down in the bathroom and tells her dad, Daniel, that she has been raped by her ex-boyfriend Jason. Daniel takes Trixie to the local hospital and police to report the rape, but that's where Trixie's life starts to get even worse. Jason is one of the most popular lads in the school who plays ice hockey so well that his coach thinks Jason could make a living out of it, but when Trixie's schoolmates and the town hear what has supposedly happens, they all think that Jason is innocent. After all, she was asking for it wasn't she? And she did go to the party wanting to get Jason back.
This is just part of the story and even though a lot more happens, I don't want to tell you too much otherwise it will ruin the book.
~Layout of the book~
This book is not a typical Picoult book. For starters, there's no court case, and second this book has comic strips in it! From the beginning right through to the end, comic strips appear that try and depict the nine levels of hell. I got frustrated with the comic strips after reading the first one, as the writing was so small, and as I do not read comics, it was confusing at times, which picture I should be looking at next! At first I didn't know what relevance the comic strips had, but after reading on a bit more, we find out that Daniel is a professional comic strip artist, and Laura (Trixie's mum) is a teacher specialising in Dante's portrayal of the nine levels of hell. Even though there are links as to why the comic was there, I still don't think they are necessary to be a part of the book. This is because there is switching between characters, where we find out Daniel's background and snippets of Laura's seminars, which pretty much explain the comic strips in writing anyway.
Again, from the beginning, we were introduced to Daniel and throughout the book we are told information, in great depth, about his background growing up and how he used to live in Alaska with the Yupiit. I didn't know the relevance of this either until about three quarters of the way into the book, but again, Picoult could have cut most of these bits out and it would still be a good read. In my opinion, the comic strips and the revelations of Daniel's past are not useful to us as readers, and was just deviating from a good storyline. I even started to get a bit frustrated when I saw a comic strip, or Daniel's background was coming up, which has never happened to me with Picoult's books before.
Even though there were parts of the book that I think Picoult could have cut out, it was still a good read. In my opinion though, we should not have deviated from the storyline, as it would have made a much better book that was easier to read and get into.
The storyline itself was amazing which is what I have now come to expect from Jodi Picoult's books, and this book would not make me stop reading her books. If you have never read her books before, then I would advise that this wouldn't be your first experience of Picoult as a writer as it may let you down, but if you have read her books before and are used to the way she writes, then try this one as it is something completely different from her other books.
I have given this book 4 out of 5 dooyoo stars. It lost a star for me because of the comic strips and the unnecessary information about Daniel. If this wasn't in there, then the book would definitely be 5 out of 5. Overall, minus my few whinges, the storyline was great, and I am glad that I read it.
I personally really enjoy reading Jodi Picoult's books because she always talks about difficult family issues. Recently I have read 'The Tenth Circle' and even though the book is not my favourite one, I still think is quite good.
Daniel Stone, a comic book artist from a harsh background, seems to be a pretty family guy. He has sacrificied his career so that he can be with his daughter Trixie when she needs him and his wife Laura can pursue her career as university professor (she teaches Dante's Inferno at a local college).
Even though he comes from a difficult background - he grew up as the only white boy in an Eskimo village where he felt like an outsider and in order to survive he learnt to steal, rob and drink he re-invented himself before his daughter was born and now you would never think he was what he was. Throughout the whole book we learn more about his upbringing and I think it really helps to understand his motives.
As he sees Trixie grow up and start to become an adult, Daniel realises that they are not as close as they use to be. It does upset him a bit which I think is the normal thing for each dad at some point.
And then one day Trixie comes home accusing her boyfriend Jason of raping her. However, Trixie, so far a straight-A student, pretty and popular, does not seem to be that honest and fair. As Daniel finds out, his wife Laura has also had an affair with one of her students... That turns the life of the whole family upside down and questions their values.
As usual, Jodi Picoult makes you think - this time she questions how far a parent can go to protect his or her own child. The police is trying to investigate the rape but it is not a straightforward case - there are many events coming in the way that are absolutely surprising and make everything go in a completely new direction. I already got used to the fact that Picould always serves a surprising and unusual ending which is not different in case of 'The Tenth Circle'.
If you are wondering where the title comes from is because as I have said before Laura is teaching Dante's Inferno which is about nine circles of hell.
'The Tenth Circle' was first published in 2006 and one hard copy costs £12.99.
I've been reading Jodi Picoult novels for quite some time now after reading The Pact a few years ago. Featuring topics which other authors might avoid it always appears that a good deal of research goes into each story, providing in depth details which could easily spoil the book if missed out on. You can usually expect something which will make you think about what you might do if put in the characters situation. First published in 2006 The Tenth Circle is Jodi Picoult's 13th novel and is just as thought provoking as her earlier books like Picture Perfect and Keeping Faith.
Jason Underhill is the towns local sporting hero, so when he is accused of rape all eyes are set on his victim being the one in the wrong. Whilst Trixie is clearly distraught very little people are willing to believe her especially as they have only recently broke up. Even her closest friend is doubtful making her feel isolated from everyone aside from her family. When things take a turn for the worst concerning Jason it causes terrible consequences for her parents when they already have enough to deal with after her Mothers infidelities come to light.
This book concerns a lot of different emotions and events. The main being jealousy, lies and deceit. Whilst everything seems to be going well and the investigation is making progress another piece of evidence gets thrown into the mix. Making all of your original ideas become seemingly nonsense. Trixie comes across as your usual novel victim however there is definitely something which is clearly not right about her actions. Because of this I struggled to feel anything towards her, as if I couldn't get it out of my mind that there was something amiss.
Whilst I enjoyed the fact that it delved into the past life of her Dad who grew up in a community where he was the only white boy I thought that it distracted a lot of the story. I wanted to know about what events were happening concerning Trixie and not having to look at mini comic strips which didn't really have much relevance in my opinion. I understood the fact that he is a graphic artist but it didn't mean that his drawings needed to be included.
Another set back I felt included Trixies Mother. A sub plot which I felt made more of a connection with the occurances especially when it involves somebody who could of stopped all of this from happening. In some places however I thought that there was large chunks of un necessary information which spoilt it in places.
Despite everything which I saw as weakening the storyline I still found it compelling to read. There was a lot of different opinions included, each one unique and in some cases not what you might expect. Unlike other Picoult novels it didn't feature too much into the lawyers life which I figured was a plus. Having three storylines was plenty and one more would of just confused things. It is by no means a poor novel. It was easy to read and as the chapters were quite small it didn't take much to get back into it if you had to stop and do something else.
Overall I don't think it's her strongest of books. Even though there was something always happening it was just a bit hectic and in places hard to follow. Not one that I would go out and buy or pick up again from the library but it wouldn't stop me from being put off by other Jodi Picoult novels.
You can buy this on Amazon for £5.01 but a lot of book shops I've seen still sell it and will cost you £7.99
After reading a couple of Jodi Picoult's other books including My Sister's Keeper, I tend to have high expectations for all the other books of hers that I read, but this one didn't quite live up to it.
The Tenth Circle is about the Stone family who already have plenty of issues that none of the family openly discuss with each other including a rift between the parents, Daniel and Laura, and Laura's affair. But when 14 year old Trixie comes home to tell Daniel that she's been raped, the family's entire universe collapses.
The story was a good one and leads you through a very emotional ordeal in the family's lives incuding Trixie's rape, the rift between Daniel and Laura and Laura's affair. It's mainly about the strength of the family and how they pull together through tough times. The book is written from each of the character's perspectives but mainly from Daniel and Laura's and it's refreshing to see the father being the main parent for a change rather than the mother.
There are random comic strips at the end of every page which are supposedly created by Daniel, who is a comic strip producer. The comic story represents his own life and own feelings but I don't really think that it went very well with the whole theme of the book and it just seemed a bit odd in the middle of such an emotional story.
I didn't find this as good a read as some of her other books, but the story is very emotional and gripping one and it's quite moving in that way that Trixie depends on her father and Daniel in turn tries to protect his daughter who is the most important person in his life. The family connection is wonderful in this and it shows how far you will go for someone you love.
Jodi Picoult has written a number of novels - and I am ploughing through them, due to the fact that my library always seems to have a different one available when I go in.
The Tenth Circle has a slightly unusual format to other Picoult novels I have read as it also has a comic strip story interrupting the narrative at intervals. This comic is written by the dad character of the story and mirrors his endeavours and emotions in the narrative. The Tenth Circle also has no courtroom ending (as many of Picoult's novels have). All of the action leads the reader to believe this will happen but then events curtail it.
The book also had a liitle riddle for the reader to solve at the end. This involved finding hidden letters in the comic-strip to reveal an important theme in the book. I can't say that I was compelled to complete the riddle; I found two letters easily - and then I took the book back to the library. I like to think about themes instead.
Trixie is a 15 year old girl who comes home from a teenage party and claims to have been raped by her ex boyfriend. She is clearly distraught - and her protective father is enraged. Trixie's mother is involved in the ending of an affair at the time of the rape. The narrative follows the consequences of the rape for all of the characters and Trixie's father's demands for justice.
Daniel Stone is Trixie's father who is a man with secrets in his past relating to his childhood when he was brought up the only white child in an Inuit community. His rage is a huge part of his personality and this is reflected in his comic book story. He is a fiercely loving and protective father.
Laura Stone (Trixie's mother) is a uni lecturer who has a specialist subject of Dante's 'Inferno'. She has been preoccupied with an affair she has hadwith a student. At the beginning of the book, she is ending the affair and trying to reconnect with her husband.
Trixie Stone is a teenager who is struggling with the after effects of being dumped by her popular, attractive, team-sports boyfriend, Jason. She tries to win him back at a party with some provocative behaviour, advised by her best friend. At the end of the party, when she is alone with Jason is the time when she claims he raped her.
Jason is a typical all-American successful teenage boy. He has a bright future and many friends. He is just the sort of boy that no one would believe would commit the crime of rape. He claims to be the vicim of false allegations.
The love of a parent for a child is a main theme of this book. The question is posed - just how far would a parent go to rescue their child? This question is expored through the comic-book interruptions that appear at strategic point in the novel and show the comic's protagonist travelling through the nine levels of Hell to rescue his young daughter. He is accompanied through Hell by Virgil, the only man to have come out of Hell alive. He describes the different levels and dangers of Hell as they arrive at each level - with al the different types of sinners.
Sin is obviously another theme of this book. Rape, adultery, deceit, murder - are all examined in this novel. Daniel Stone is a man with secrets in his past - but as the novel unfolds, it appears that he is not the only one. Sin is everywhere - and it seems that only the truth will release everyone from the grip that holds them. At the end of the novel, the truth is held by an unlikely character and offers a suitable twist to one of the themes.
Teenage Promiscuity is an important theme of this book. The narrative describes how Trixie and her friend behave at a teen party. This behaviour is not entirely comfortable with the teens themselves - but it is powered forward by peer pressure, expectations and naivety. This is the sort of teen behaviour that has become the normal for many young teenagers - and it is behaviour that is clearly well out of the view of adults - and covered with a veil of lies to hide the tracks. Picoult does not offer an overly judgemental opinion on this subject - but by the aftermath of the party - shows the consequences to become a 'hellish' experience. The implication is that these youthful, uncomfortable sexual experiences can lead to terrible physical and mental states; damage is caused. A healthy teen interaction is shown in the novel as a contrast to the bad stuff -- but this remains undeveloped and a little unsatisfying.
The tenth circle of Hell does not exist - but as readers, we wonder at what this might be. The final comic strip offers an idea of this.
I found this book rather slow. At one point, the action moves to Alaska - and this is the bit that actually caught my attention and had me reading much more speedily than I previously had been doing. I Also found the chapter's rather long. I kept trying to read to the end of a chapter and then giving up because it was too far away and I was a bit bored.
I like the fact that rape and the supposed grey areas is a topic that has been developed in this novel. Picoult is an author who exploits controversial subject matter - and this is no exception. I did, however, find it somewhat lacking and empty; I didn't feel the empathy that I thought I would. Maybe this is because I was subconsciouly judgemental of the unwise overtly sexual behaviour of the teens. Maybe this was a device to make a reader question his or her own preconceptions. I'm not sure about this as I am quite clear on my own definition of 'rape' and it is seperate from the thoughts I have on teen promiscuity.
Would I recommend this book? If you have some tenacity as a reader, yes. Otherwise -give it a wide berth.
Having read 5 of Picoult's other novels - My Sisters Keeper, Keeping Faith, Nineteen Minutes, The Pact, Second Glance - I have to say that this is one of my favourites. I see it has mixed reviews, people who have read The Pact and My Sisters Keeper have a certain expectation and appear to be slightly disapointed by this one. However I feel having a teenage daughter myself and indeed teenage boys I could relate to alot of the chararcters and found myself really questioning certain issues. It is centered around a questionable rape incident and maybe that is off putting to some and I was a little dubious as I first read the storyline but I found Picoult handled the whole issue very well. I think it is the different relationships between the parents and their children that makes this book what it is and it helps I think to be able to relate to that on some level. It is somewhat of a take on Dantes 'Inferno', the different circles travelled by a father on his way to inner most hell.
This is certainly one of Picoult's novels I would recommend and I am contemplating reading it again. Quite frankly I couldn't put it down, couldn't wait to hear what was going to happen. As ever you are left with several questions to ponder over.
I first read a Jodi Picoult book a few years ago, it was My Sister's Keeper and it was really good. So why has it taken me so long to get round to reading another of her books? I can only guess that I felt that there was no way she could keep producing books of the same level, but I was very wrong.
During a recent trip to my local library (actually it wasn't my local library but one fairly close I just happened to be passing) and I couldn't decide what sort of book I wanted to read. Scanning the shelves my eyes fell across The Tenth Circle, I read the blurb on the back of the book about how there was more than 1 way to lose your daughter and thought I would give it a go.
This book is laid out in a different way to the previous book that I had read. The story starts with a prologue, and at the end of that is a cartoon of 5 pages, I thought this was a little odd at first and that maybe my first thoughts about not having any more good books was right. Anyway chapter 1 starts and you learn about the main characters. There is a main family, the Stone's; Mum Laura, Dad Daniel and daughter Trixie. You learn that Daniel Stone is a comic book creator and that the comic that runs through the whole book after each few chapters is a comic book that he is creating, partly from his imagination and partly from the life of his family.
Trixie is raped by her ex-boyfriend at the start of the book, the book then goes on to tell you what happened the night of the rape as seen through a few different perspectives and what happens after.
I won't say anymore about the plot as I don't want to ruin the story for anyone who wants to read it but I can tell you that the book will keep you guessing until the end as to what really happened, and you realise that not every thing is quite as it seems.
The comic runs through the whole book and is quite interesting as you feel like you are feeling what the dad really feels about his daughter and himself, as it is only a few pages after every couple of chapters it doesn't take you away from the main story, and if you're really not a fan of comic books you could skip over these pages and not lose sense of what the book is about.
The chapters are quite short so you can read just a chapter or two per sitting without too much hassle, although to be honest if you manage that I would be surprised as it gets quite hard to put down in places because you think at any moment it will be revealed what happened, but you really don't get the whole story until the end of the book.
The ending of the story is quite sudden, as I turned the last page I was expecting a new chapter, but it just ended. I guess that is the sign of a good book, tie up all the loose ends but leave them wanting more.
I really enjoyed this book and felt quite a connection with all of the family, the way Picoult writes really makes you feel like you are almost sat in the corner watching rather than just reading a book, I was wrong to think that nothing could be as good as My Sister's Keeper, she certainly knows how to look at a difficult topic and get you thinking about it!
I will certainly be looking for more of her books the next time I am at the library!
I have been an avid fan of Jodi Picoult ever since I read her first book, and look forward immensely to reading them expecting to be totally immersed and absorbed from the first few pages. Therefore when I started to read 'The Tenth Circle' I was full of expectation. Sadly, as far as I am concerned as a reader, it did not live up to all the others I have read. I'm not quite sure why this was, as the storyline is a very good one, but perhaps the whole story meandered a little too much for my liking. I will attempt to explain...
First, a little about the story. It is actually very harrowing as it deals with what happens when a teenaged girl, Trixie Stone, comes home from a party and tells her parents she has been raped. Her parents, Daniel and Laura, are obviously extremely shocked, and vow to support Trixie, as she goes through the ordeal of being medically examined and then interrogated by the police.
The accused boy is a leading light in the high school hockey team, and rather than turning against him, the community stands by him and it is Trixie and her family who are made to feel like the accused. This part of the book is quite compelling reading as it makes you think a lot of 'what ifs' if you were faced with the same situation. There is a lot in the book where relationships are examined - between Trixie and her parents, but also between Daniel and Laura as well. I did enjoy this aspect of the book as I think Jodi Picoult is a very sharp observer of human relationships. Daniel in particular had been feeling for a while that his daughter had been growing away from him and that he was losing her. After the rape, when many things are revealed he discovers just how far apart they really have grown.
The story starts off in New England but eventually moves to Alaska after a very pivotal moment which causes Trixie to leave home and her parents to go after her. At the end of the book there are a few surprises, but also you feel that all the characters have grown and they are likely to be much more honest with each other in the future.
So reflecting on what I have just written, it would appear that I enjoyed the story very much but I didn't. One of the things that really frustrated me was the fact that Jodi Picoult kept deviating from the main plot. We learn very early on that Daniel spent his early years in Alska and was brought up amongst the Yupiit community. This is interesting as part of his background, but there are too many flashbacks and explanations about why the yupiit behave in certain ways and about their beliefs. Now to a certain extent this was interesting, but I just wanted to get on with the story.
We kept on having another diversion as well which was part of Laura's story. She was a professor at the local university and one of her major courses was on Dante's 'Inferno'. There was too much going into this book at times and explaining about Dante's various circles of hell and what these all meant. I appreciate that this is where the title 'The Tenth Circle' comes from but again I felt this was unnecessary sidetracking.
Also, very strangely I thought, all the chapters are punctuated by three or four pages of comic strip drawings. Daniel draws these for a living and I guess these were meant to be showing what he was working on at the time, or maybe there was some parallel between this and the actual story. I couldn't find it though, and particularly as it was all very small and difficult to read, I pretty much gave up on all that after about the third chapter and just skipped those pages. If someone were to tell me they were really relevant I might be tempted to go back and read them but I don't think so!
So for me, this book was a bit too slow and meandered far too much from the main story. As a consequence it probably took me twice as long to read as other books. I was actually quite relieved when I had finished it - I could consign it to the book case, and look forward to choosing my next book which hopefully I will enjoy a little more.
Having said all that though, it has not put me off Jodi Picoult too much, and I will still read the books which I've not yet read. And when you get down to it it's not a bad story - it's probably just about 100 pages too long! It comes in at just under 400 pages and I probably enjoyed about 300 of them!
If I havent totally put you off, you will want to know that it is published by Hodder and the full RRP is £6.99.
I have been a fan of Jodi Picoult's work ever since I read My Sister's Keeper a few years ago, so I had my name down on a pre-order for this. It has taken me absolutely ages to read this one because of my son not giving a minute to myself, but I have finally turned the last page and finished the book, so I thought I might as well review it!
Jodi Picoult has written many bestsellers, including the above mentioned My Sister's Keeper, Keeping Faith, Plain Truth, The Pact, Nineteen Minutes and Perfect Match. Her latest book Nineteen Minutes, debuted at Number 1 on the New York Times Bestseller list. She has a masters degree in education and is currently working on her next novel 'Change of Heart'.
The basic story of the novel is the love between Daniel Stone, and his daughter Trixie, and just how far a parent will go in order to protect their child from the unthinkable happening to them.
Trixie one day comes home in tears and tells her father that she has been raped by her boyfriend, Jason. When she reports it to the police, it seems nothing is what it seems to be. Things take a further twist when Jason makes the whole case more complicated, and implicates Trixie in another crime...but is it as it seems?
The book is full of twists and turns, mystery and intrigue. Some of the twists in the plot are unexpected, and I certainly didn't see them coming. This does not have the normal format of a Picoult novel, which is crime, family story then a court case. There is of course a crime, and an underlying family story but there is no court case at the end to finish things off, which to be honest I didn't like.
Daniel Stone - He is the father of Trixie Stone who the main story of the book focuses on, although Daniel plays a major part in the book. He draws comic strips for a living, and was the only white boy bought up in an Eskimo village, where he felt like an outsider. He doesn't face any of his own demons about his childhood until Trixie is faced with a life changing dilemma, and he has to support his child.
Trixie Stone - A typical 14 year old teenage girl, whose life takes a bit turn when she is raped by her then boyfriend Jason Underhill at a party. We take a big journey with Trixie, from being an insecure young girl to one who has had to grow up too fast, and tries to spare her parents from any more grief and upset...
Laura Stone - Daniel's wife and Trixie's mother. She is a University Professor. She is having an affair with one of her pupils, and when she decides to end it, her world is shattered in a new way when she hears of her daughter's rape. She struggles with this, and also trying to hide her affair from her husband and daughter...
Jason is the star of the football team, and the one who is accused of raping Trixie. Jason is visibly upset by the claim of rape, and is adamant that it was not rape, but consensual sex, yet his friends and family eventually start to turn on him, leaving him feeling alone and that this young woman has ruined his life.
Right from the start of this book, I wasn't completely convinced. Usually after the first few chapters, I find I struggle to put down a Jodi Picoult book, but it really wasn't the case with this book. Perhaps this is why it took me so long to read it, I felt no real desire to hurry to the end and find out what happened, but I really cannot put my finger on why that is!
Trixie's mother Laura is an expert of Dante's Inferno, and it is clear that the thread of this runs throughout the book. The inferno is explained in the book by way of lessons by Laura, but the main idea is that there are 9 circles of hell, and I suppose Picoult is hinting that there is a Tenth Circle, which is in the book. This is also reflected in the comic strip drawings which appear throughout the book and are meant to be Daniel Stone's own drawings.
The idea of the story is a good idea by Picoult, not something often covered in novels. She really goes into detail with the parties that the teenagers have, and details some of the sexual exploits that go on...even I had not heard of some of them, so they were a bit shocking to me!! To be honest I was quite horrified as I would not do some of those things now at 21, let alone at 14 years old, but I guess it does reflect reality as children do grow up too fast these days.
I did enjoy the story, but was left someone dissatisfied with the ending. Usually with a Picoult novel, most things are tied up at the end through way of a court case so you know how everything is wrapped up, but I didn't feel this was the case in this one. Things are kind of wrapped up, but not in the definite way I have grown to like from Jodi Picoult's books.
You do develop strong opinions on all of the characters, particularly Trixie since it is her that the rape has happened to. I felt sorry for her through the party, rape and exam at the hospital, but I began to lose sympathy as the novel went on, but I don't know why. Picoult has not made her particularly unlikeable yet there was something which made me feel unsympathetic towards her. The controversial topic leaves you thinking about justice for this crime, the effect it has not only on the victim but on the victim's family and the accused's family.
Well written as usual, but didn't have the usual spark of a Picoult novel. Slightly disappointing. I hope Nineteen Minutes, the next Picoult book on my "to-read" shelf is a lot better than this one!
Thank you for reading.
I have gone through all of Jodi Picoult's books in a complete craze of insanity, I read one and I loved it, I read two and I've been hooked ever since. Personally I believe that this is one of Picoult's better works, but equally I love (nearly) all her books and it's difficult to choose. I did however think that this one was very clever for reasons I will explain below.
Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: Washington Square Press (October 24, 2006)
Price: The recommended retail price at the shops is £6.99 although you can get it cheaper at WHS with their offers...having just checked it is available for £3.98.
The plot of the Tenth circle twists and turns a lot flicking between characters so that you get a different viewpoint on the events at hand, but you also go back into the past of the characters and see what it is they are hiding from others and from themselves.
The plot owes alot to Dante's epic masterpiece 'The Divine Comedy: The Inferno' which is where the title and much of the discussion in the book comes from which I shall go into more detail below...
In basic, Trixie is a 14 year old girl who has just been dumped by her boyfriend and is finding it very difficult to get it together, going out with her friend Zephyr to try to make Jason jealous they end up at a very rebellious party, at the end of this party Trixie is claiming that her ex, jason, raped her. This then leads into the complex discussions of what constitutes rape and whether Jason is truly guilty.
At the same time you have the story lines of her mother and father. And all these link in with sins and hell. Trixie's mother Laura is a top lecturer at the university - on Dante's inferno who is having an affair with one of her students and Trixie's father, Daniel, has a lot of ghosts in his path that he can't get rid of. With family life falling apart around them, and none of them truly ready to face up to the difficulties it's a novel of a family torn apart by sin and circumstances as well as a crime novel. When the rape suspect however turns up dead the novel takes on a more sinister turn and the reader is left guessing - Suicide or Murder? And then as Trixie does a runner there is a definite question of Who Did It?
This isn't a book quite like many of Jodi Picoult's...I was suprised for a start to find it had no court case scene which seems to be a standard in all of Jodi Picoult's books...but by far this one had more suspense. In all of her other books you know whose in the court and you have a fair inkling of what the end result is going to be - if purely for the sake of storytelling and keeping the reader happy! But this one was different, until I hit the page where it told me I had no idea how it was going to turn out, and I was suprised at the way it did...
Trixie Stone: A 14 year old girl going out with one of the most popular guys in the school, when he dumps her she goes through a very bad phase and starts cutting herself. Her friend in an effort to cheer her up invited her out to a party...after getting thoroughly drunk and playing some very sexual games everything gets slightly more nasty, as Trixie calls rape. The difference in character before and after she calls rape is drastic:
'The old Trixie Stone used to be a person who dreamed of flying and wanted, when she got old enough, to jump out of a plane and try it. The new Trixie couldn't even sleep with the light off.'
She is constantly victimised at her school as Jason is a highly popular sportsman and no one - not even her best friend believes her.
She is very well portrayed by Jodi Picoult, as a confused and scared teenage girl who maybe didn't say no, but definitely didn't say yes, and the events that follow in the book show a deeply scarred teenager but also someone with a heart of gold.
Laura Stone: Trixie's mother. A professor at a top university for a course of Dante and his 9 circles of hell. A fair amount of the book, including some of the most interesting debates are played out in her classroom. Much of the debates around the 9 circles of hell can be linked back to her and their prominance in the book is no accident. Laura is having an affair with a student of hers and avoiding her broken family...which links in directly with Dante:
'I don't get why being unfaithful to your king is worse than being unfaithful to your husband. If you have an affair you only end up in the second level of hell. That's like, getting off easy.'
Laura's role in the novel leads to questions about the roles and duties of parents and how far will a parent go to try to save their child from getting hurt...and how far SHOULD they go.
Daniel Stone: Trixie's father originally from Akiask, a cold and very much slower technology wise than America. Growing up he was the only white child in an Alaskan village and was taunted mercilessly for that. So he becomes the baddest of the bad boys...cheat, steal, and drinking, it is only when he gets married that he re-fashions himself into a devoted family man.
He is a deeply protective man who is desperate to keep his only daughter from harm and is devestated when this fails. At the beginning of the book you get the idea of an almost perfect family man, but it doesn't take long to realise that there is a hidden past to him, a past he keeps lcoked away very carefully. His job is a graphic artist and Jodie Picoult has added an inovative twist to this novel by including pages of graphic novel in the text, and an even more clever twist by hiding 2 or 3 letters in each page that when you find them all will make a quote summing up the nature of the book...what this is I'm not going to tell you - figuring it out is half of the fun...Dabbiel's fathers past however is shown on the pages of his sketchwork, it shows his desperate and fractured heart and how much his past has influenced him.
'The last man Daniel had beaten had already been dead. In the high school gym in Akiask, Daniel had slammed Cane across the floor, though his head already had a bullet in it. He'd done it because he wanted Cane to tell him to stop. He'd wanted Cane to sit up and take a swing back at him.'
Jason: Trixie's ex boyfriend. A highly popular sports jock, the question which is brought up by him is would the boy who used to make trixie's eyes light up for joy do that to her? And who's fault is it truly. He admits to consensual sex, but not rape. He stands to lose everything from this and you can't help feeling sorry for him, as to my eyes there's every chance that he at least believed that Trixie was willing...
Mike Bartholemew: A minor character in a sense but a highly interesting one in his own right. He is the police officer who is dealing with the case, and it was a neat touch by Jodi Picoult that he also knows the pain of losing a daughter.
As I have said before there are very close links and some very interesting discussion points raised in the book in relation to Dante's version of hell. His version of hell is mimicked everywhere in the book from Laura's classes, to Daniel's comics in which the lead character is on a hunt through hell to find his daughter. One of the most interesting points however is the title - The Tenth Circle. For anyone who doesn't know Dante, Dante only created 9 circles and that final 9th circle was for the betrayors to mentors - Judus who betrayed Jesus, Cassius and Brutus who betrayed Ceaser and Lucifer who betrayed God. Except Jodi Picoult toys with the idea of adding a tenth circle:
'If the worst sin of all was betraying others, then what about people who lied to themselves?
There should be a tenth circle, a tiny spot the size of the head of a Pin, with room for inifinite masses. It would be crowded with professors who hid away in ivy covered towers instead of facing their broken families...'
It's an interesting question and one that could make for much debate over whether Dante did miss out a sin in the modern world.
The graphic novels throughout the book add a spice to the novel and was an idea I hfor one ahd never seen before...the comic marks its lead character - Duncan - going down through the levels of hell to rescue his daughter who has been kidnapped by Lucifer - the idea of a tenth circle is also used in this. The idea of humanity however is the theme that recurs in this, as Duncan can change into a wild animal whenever he is angry or afraid, except each time he changes he loses something of himself and keeps something of the animal instead. This shows Daniel's own fear about losing control, and about becoming what he once was, he is desperate to maintain his facade of perfect family man.
The way the rape is portrayed is clever, as at no point are you utterly sure who is telling the truth. It also brings to the fore the trauma of the collecting of evidence for a rape trail, which is absolute hell to go through and most people don't quite realise that. The aftereffects of rape are also well described as are those of losing a child:
'The absolute worst job, if you asked Mike Bartholemew, was having to go tell a parent that his or her kid had been in a fatal car crash or had committed suicide...there just weren't words for that kind of pain...The second absolute worst job in his opinion was dealing with rape victimes...And even if he could collect enough evidence to merit a trial, and even if there was a conviction, you could bet it wouldn't be for a very long time. In most cases, the victim was still in therepy when the rapist got done serving his time.'
And then the bit that really sums it up:
'The thing most people didn't understand, if they weren't in his line of work, was that a rape victim and a victim of a fatal accident were both gone forever. The difference was that the rape victim still had to go through the motions of being alive.'
I really enjoyed this book like I have all the rest of hers, but some people have found it slow going...the characters are realistic and this means that they can get more annoying...but equally realistic characters is always a plus...I can see that it isn't the best of her books...but it is still a very good read...
Would you read it again? Absolutely
Readability: Once you start it, you won't be able to put it down
How does it compare to similar works? Excellent
How does it compare to works by the same author? Very good
Prolific American writer Jodi Picoult had this book published in 2006. Since 1998 she has written one book each year.
In this book she writes a story about small family in Maine. Trixie Stone is a 14 years old girl. She is having teenage problems. Mum and dad ignore her until one day she tells them that she was raped at a party. Daniel her father, had a troubled past which he left behind to become a family man. Laura was having an affair and she blames herself for what has happened while Daniel reflects on his past, childhood in an Eskimo village where he was bullied and became a bully as a consequence.
While this book should be interesting to read. I for one didnt like it, too much symbolism and the plot is difficult to follow, she leaves clues to make the plot easy to understand, this in turn makes everything predictable. The topic is interesting, human dilemmas and experiences in the past however this has to be her worse book to date. Eskimo culture is not researched out properly and the ending is abrupt. The comic strip is not a good idea either.
I bought it from Amazon for £3.73 (paperback)
The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult
After reading so many good reviews on Jodi Picoult I thought I would invest in one of her most recent books and see how it went. They are not the sorts of books I would usually read as I am a big fan of chick lit and the simple ease and enjoyment that reading these books bring. However I thought I would try and see if I got into it and after reading the first few pages in Morrisons I knew this book was going to be easy to get into.
I paid £4 for this book even though the RRP price on the back is set at £6.99 pence and I could of probably got it for cheaper as since I have read it I have checked eBay and seen it second hand for a mere fraction of the new price.
The subject of the book is a rather dark one as most of Picoults books seem to be and this one is that of two parents going through the trauma brought about by their only daughter being the victim of a rape. Both Daniel and Laura Stone are at a loss as to how to deal with the emotions that there 14 year old is going through and what with their own relationship being torn apart by Laura having an affair family life is seemingly tough for the Stone family.
Trixie, the daughter and victim in this story is like most 14 year old girls of today. Getting up to all sorts behind her parents back and recently coming out of a relatively short relationship with the local 17-year-old sporty town hero that is Jason Underhill, it is hardly surprising that few people believe her story. Trixie had seen Jason as being too harsh and unfair in breaking off their relationship and when they are left alone at a party she felt he would be the one to look after her and not the one to cause her such emotional pain and heartache by raping her.
As there as so many discrepancies with Trixie and her story both the authorities and the local people find it hard to believe that such an up and coming star like Jason would do something so despicable. Trixie faces weeks of feeling alone and being not understood by anyone. Her father sticks by her as best he can and does anything that most fathers would do in the same situation.
I dont want to give too much of the plot away so I wont say anymore about the storyline itself other than how good it actually was. Even though the plot is that of dealing with a rather tricky subject Picoult manages to handle it very well in a very tactile way.
I was instantly drawn into this book and found both the plot and the characters easy to get to grips with. Picoult manages to reveal just the right amount of story at the right time to keep you wanting to turn more and more pages before putting down the book to rest.
The way Jodi Picoult seems to write is very easy to understand even though there is a lot of facts and it is put in a way that everyone would be able to get to grips with. She appears to have really done her homework when it comes to finding out the correct terminology and statistics along with so much believable background information.
I seemed to read the whole book within days and it really was one of those books you just dont want to put down. I enjoyed reading this book till the end and considering this was the first Picoult book I have read I was very pleased with her work. I will buy more of her books I think and work my way through the rest of them; hopefully they will be just as good.
I would suggest those who havent read any of this authors work to read this book, as they will be pleasantly surprised. For those who have already read her books I am sure you will enjoy this book as much as her other novels.
I was already a fan of Jodi Picoult's novels, having already read three of them including one which won the Richard & Judy Best Read of 2005. That was of course My Sister's Keeper. When I started reading this one I was expecting a courtroom drama that would surprise me at the end, but although a crime might or might not have taken place in this story, the format is a little bit different from her other books that I have read.
The Tenth Circle is a very clever book that tells the story of the love that a father has for his daughter and the lengths that he will go to protect her from harm.
The story centres round what appears on the outside to be a normal, successful family of three, who are torn apart when Trixie, the fourteen year old daughter, comes home in tears one night and claims she has been raped by her boyfriend. What happens next is a whirlwind of events, as Trixie attempts to hide certain facts about the evening that the alleged rape has taken place. After all, what fourteen-year-old girl wouldn't lie in front of her father about intimate details such as her virginity and what was going on at a party?
We are taken on a journey that not only has Trixie attempting to come to terms with what has happened, but also one that sees her father coming to terms with his past and her mother trying to cope with the hurt that her recent affair has caused her family.
This story has it all, suspense, intrigue, murder and a web of lies and deceit to battle through.
Daniel Stone is a comic strip writer and has come along way from the Eskimo village from where he was brought up as an outcast for being the only white kid around. He has many demons from his past that have been kept a secret for far too long and he starts to share certain aspects as he comes to terms with the fact that his own child is growing up fast and needs his support.
Laura Stone is a specialist on Dante's work, The Inferno and it is through her work as a lecturer that a relationship is formed with one of her students. It seems ironic that just as she is ending the affair, her home life becomes a hurricane of destruction as she struggles to come to terms with the fact that her daughter has been raped at the same time as her own indiscretions.
Trixie is a normal fourteen-year-old girl on the outside, but on the inside she is a very unhappy and insecure young woman. Dealing with the recent break up with her boyfriend, Jason was bad enough, but then to have him rape her too is just unbearable. We see her go through every emotion possible in this book.
Jason is the local hero of the ice hockey team and someone all the girls want to go out with. A few years older than Trixie he feels that he is doing her a favour by dropping her to go out with other girls - after all it's not as though he loves her. He appears to be devastated though by the rape claims and has his own personal struggles as one by one, everyone turns against him, including his own father.
I have to say straight off that I didn't think that this book was as good as the other Jodi Picoult books that I have read. That being said, it is still a good story with lots of twists and controversy along the way. Just when you think you know what has happened, a new piece of evidence with appear and it spirals off on another course.
The book is centred round Dante's Inferno, which, for those of you who aren't aware of the epic work, is about the nine circles of hell. Each level contains a different type of sinner and each level gets more and more brutal as it goes on. What makes this book different is that we get to see and read the comic strip, that shares the same title as this book, that Daniel Stone is writing throughout the story and this helps him deal with his emotions and come to terms with the sinners that he encounters along the way. It also toys with the theory that there should be a tenth circle, but I won't give it away by saying what you might find here. I really enjoyed this addition to the book as it gave a special insight into Daniel's character and the pain and suffering he was dealing with.
One thing that may shock some parents out there, are the things that apparently innocent young teenagers actually get up to. Some of the games that take place at Trixie's friend's party where the alleged rape takes place, really took me by surprise and I thought I was quite broad minded. It reminded me that girls really are growing up faster these days and that it's becoming more and more difficult to protect their innocence. The worst I ever got up to at fourteen was sneaking the odd cigarette or having a sneaky sip of alcohol at New Year. This book brings to light a completely different generation of sexually aware teenagers where is seems to be acceptable to sleep around.
It is difficult at times whether to sympathise with Trixie or not, as she does seem to have brought a lot of trouble on herself between lying to her parents and the police at times and the question of whether or not she has been raped is one which isn't really answered until near the end of the book. When it then emerges that she may be guilty of murder, we are then asked as to what may have driven her to it. Of course there are other suspects too and the reader is kept guessing as to who actually committed the offence. I have to say that I actually worked it out, but my daughter, who read this book before I did, hadn't a clue and the ending took her by surprise. Maybe this is why she enjoyed it better than I did, as I love a surprise ending to a good story.
Whether you agree or not with some of the subjects that Jodi Picoult writes about, there is one thing that is certain - her stories leave you debating controversial issues. Despite the fact that I wasn't so enthralled by this one as some of her others, I have to admire her for bringing yet another difficult subject to the table. She seems to excel in writing about difficult subjects and it's obvious by the quality of the writing that she does extensive research into these matters.
One final thing to add is the bonus puzzle of the hidden letters to find within the comic strips. If you find them all, you can read a quotation and also hidden is the quotation's author.
I'm off on the lookout for more of her books to read.
***Price and Availability***
This hardback copy that we got from the library retails at £12.99, however it is available from WH Smith for only £7.79 at the moment. It is also available in large paperback format for £7.25 from Amazon, which is slightly cheaper than the recommended price of £10.99.
Hardback ISBN No. 0340835516
Paperback ISBN No. 0340839279
Jodi Picoult's new novel is as involving and intriguing as her others, and makes us consider more than one difficult question. It makes us think about that moment when your child is growing up, and you see them falling, and have to let them get up by themselves. Can you do it? And it makes us wonder what we, like Daniel, would actually do to keep our child safe. It also has a tremendously atmospheric setting, among the Inuit in Alaska. And there's another dimension to it: the graphic novel that Daniel is writing interleaves the chapters of the novel. You can ignore it if you like and read only the conventional novel - or you can read the graphic novel too and have it illuminate what's going on in the main book.