Taken on a breezy evening walk by the seaside sigh…
There’s just something about the sea that leaves me feeling contented…
She missed him so much. Why did he have to go take up that job in a different city?
She would dream about him every night. That he would be there when she opened the door in the morning. That he would take her into his hug and never let her go. That he would spend the day with her, take her out to the park, to the movies, for a drive, and then for dinner at the end of a long day. That he would put her to bed with a gentle kiss.
And then suddenly she would awaken to a bright morning and realise it was all a dream.
The days passed. She spoke to him on weekends but that never seemed enough. She conspired all sorts of tricks to make him travel back. But nothing worked.
And then one morning dawned bright and clear. She opened the door. He was standing at the door step with a huge smile. “Come here, darling! I’ve missed you so much,” he put down his suitcase and extended his arms to her.
“Dadddyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!” She shrieked and jumped into his arms with a contented sigh…………
Inspired from pixie’s post. I wanted to give it a different ending.
That’s right, this is possibly my first proper full-fledged book review.
Following Smitha’s recommendation I got my hands on my first Jodi Picoult book.
Pic courtesy: http://www.jodipicoult.com
The story goes as such.Eighteen year old Katie Fisher is Amish. The Amish are a close-knit community set apart completely from the modern world, by their lifestyle, faith, and conservative approach to life. So when the baby arrives in the middle of the night, a terrified Katie does not know what to do except pray. Exhausted she falls asleep, only to wake up to the fact that the baby is gone. Her relief is short-lived; her nightmare is just beginning. For the body of the infant is found the following morning. And the police have a lot of questions that need answering.
What made me grab onto this as my first book is mainly the story. Katie’s dilemma does not sound too difficult to identify with even if one is not Amish… being an average, middle-class Indian is enough. The conservative nature of a lot of Indian parents are not very different. Having a premarital relationship is bad enough, having a baby out of wedlock is terrifying. The suspense angle – infanticide, and the “who-dunnit” bit – only added to the plot. From the initial chapter, I wasn’t even sure if Katie was the one who actually had the baby or was she assisting someone else…or even hallucinating! :) The suspense unfolds layer by layer as one reads each chapter and that was great.
I cannot go much more into the dissection of the story since that would reveal too much. The writing is comprehensive, suspenseful and engaging. The book is fairly even paced. The court room sequences deserve special mention because that is the highlight. I also looked up on Google about the Amish in particular, hitherto unheard of (by me atleast). The author must have researched a lot, for she painstakingly describes in great detail about their everyday life. Being in a farm, raised next to a lot of animals, manually doing a lot of chores without the use of electricity and a slow approach to life are typical characteristics of the Amish. Having had a childhood with my grandparents in my ancestral town (cows and barns in tact) did not make it very difficult for me to identify with and understand the same.
Picoult creates some memorable characters. The lawyer Ellie Hathway makes a compelling protagonist as well as Katie Fisher, whose contradicting emotions leave you wondering where her loyalties lie. Ellie’s counterpart in the case George Callahan makes a worthy opponent in the courtroom. The dry humour is present intermittently in the chapters without being prominent. Katie Fisher’s character is absorbing since she represents a lot of conflicting qualities and emotions all juxtaposed into a single person. Most of the other Amish characters are believable – be it Aaron the strict father, Sarah the obedient wife in a dilemma whether to stand up for her husband or children, or Jacob.
I also loved how the author managed to maintain contrasting perspective between urban and rural life without judging either as positive or negative. At no point does it leave the reader bored.
What I didn’t like about the book?
The romances seemed too convenient. It is always the women who are afraid of committing and the men can’t wait to do the same. The men are relentless, head-over-heels in love, gentle and persuasive. The book is too kind to both Ellie and Katie, from that perspective. Oh come on already, I felt like saying! Where are the real men, who would ideally be just as confused with emotions as the women are, simply because they are human too?
I also didn’t like the melodrama that suddenly burst into the book in the form of relationships and pregnancy. At times the book seemed to give more of female perspective than male and that kind of made it one-sided in places – or so I felt.
But now that I am reading the second Jodi Picoult book, I realise that it is a pattern in her books, since it seems to be primarily aimed at women readers.
Other than that, I loved the book. A compelling read.