Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘moral dilemma’

0340838035-01-_sx142_sy224_sclzzzzzzz_

The Hartes and The Golds have lived next door to each other for years. The two couples are best friends, and their children – Christopher and Emily – grew up together, and eventually fell in love. Life is seemingly idyllic for the families, until the night where Emily is killed from a gunshot to the head, and Chris tells his parents that it was a suicide pact gone wrong. Neither family wants to believe this could have happened and both want to know the truth. But as the police investigation begins, both sets of parents have to question how well they really knew their children at all.

As is almost always the case with Jodi Picoult, this book is compelling reading, and held my interest throughout. There are two timelines – the one in the past which builds up the history of Chris and Emily’s relationship, and the one in the present day, which focuses on the police investigation and the discovery of what really happened that fateful night.

As it transpired, I actually found myself disliking both sets of parents and feeling more sympathy towards the Chris and Emily – Emily in particular, not only because she dies at the very start of the story, but also because she actually seemed the most likeable character of all. I did enjoy the character of Jordan McAfee, Chris’s attorney and his assistant Selena. I was not particularly able to warm to Chris but I had to remind myself that he was a privileged (read, spoiled) teenager, going through an incredibly tough process. There were a few things that jarred with me – Emily’s mother Melanie mistakenly believes at one point that her new neighbours are a gay couple and wonders what kind of neighbourhood she and her family have moved to. I’m not sure if this was meant to be a reflection upon the character of Melanie herself however, I also felt that Emily and Chris were almost pushed together because it was what their parents’ wanted, not necessarily what they themselves might have wanted.

Nonetheless, if you want a story that moves along at a good pace, despite alternate chapters set in different timelines, and one that that will keep you guessing as well as presenting the reader with a moral dilemma, then I would probably recommend this book. It’s not Picoult’s best (my own lowly opinion would rate that as the excellent Nineteen Minutes) but it’s still an absorbing story.

Read Full Post »

Paul and Claire Lohman are meeting Paul’s brother Serge and Serge’s wife Babette at an expensive restaurant.  The evening starts off normally enough, but it becomes clear that the meeting is more than just a social engagement.  The teenage sons of the two couples have been caught on CCTV, committing a horrific offence, and while they have not yet been publicly identified, their parents have recognised their children as the perpetrators, and have met to decide what to do.  Serge is concerned about the effect it will have on his own future, as he is a popular candidate to be the next Prime Minister, and all four are concerned about the futures of their sons.

The premise of this book fascinated me, and I thoroughly enjoyed it, although I felt that some parts were somewhat unrealistic.  The story is narrated by Paul, who, it becomes clear, has significant anger management problems, which may be genetic, and which he may have passed on to their son Michel.  As he described the restaurant with disdain (understandable at times), he also described the events that had led up to the discovery of his son’s crime, and talks about things in the family’s past.

All four characters, with the possible exception of Babette, were to me, extremely unlikeable.  Initially I liked Claire a lot, but towards the end of the book her actions become perhaps unbelievable, and certainly inexcusable.  Neither she nor Paul seems particularly horrified by their son’s actions, and in fact seem determined to cover them up and excuse them by any means necessary.

The over-riding thing that I noticed about the story was how many secrets the characters kept from each other, and even from the reader.  This became clearer the further I read.  The writing was insidious – it got under my skin and I genuinely found this book hard to put down; there is a kind of sinister undertone running through it.  At first, the narration is innocuous – you might even say banal – with Paul talking about the things that irritated him about the pretentious restaurant they are eating in, but then things take a turn, and we are plunged into something much more shocking.

I’m not sure that the ending was one I liked, but it was certainly one that I didn’t expect, and it is a book which I continue to think about.  I can imagine that it may polarise readers, but I would certainly recommend it.

Read Full Post »