If you have not read Jodi Picoult’s “The Storyteller” stop reading now and go read the book first.
This is the second part in a four-part series based on my opinion in where “The Storyteller” went wrong. Yes, I know this is a work of fiction, but it’s based on a historical event. Jodi Picoult admits the idea for this book came from Simon Wiesenthal’s “The Sunflower”; where a Nazi soldier is dying in a camp and asks for forgiveness from a Jew for his acts against Jews. The similarities to other works didn’t stop there. In “The Storyteller”, the employer of children from the ghetto locks the children in the office for the night on the night that the children in the ghetto were to be murdered. This act saves several children including Minka. This scene is strangely similar to “Schindler’s List”. In “The Storyteller”, Minka and her best friend Darija are dancing and a Nazi comes along, pauses and offers Darija his business card for dance lessons. This scene has “The Pianist” written all over it. The Lodz Ghetto seems like a cakewalk and it certainly wasn’t. The barracks within Auschwitz were not an all for one, one for all atmosphere and if you stole something while sorting belongings there wasn’t a second chance, you were shot. The Jewish customs weren’t completely correct either. Through much of the book we are left to wonder about how Sage got her scar. We don’t find this out until the end. Too much was left to be resolved at the end.
I know fiction doesn’t need to be factual. However, I believe if you are going to write a story based on an actual event in history, the facts should be portrayed correctly. Jodi Picoult borrowed, I’m using that turn loosely, themes from other books on the same topic. In my opinion that compromises her credibility for this story. This is the first book I’ve read from this author and I’m disappointed. I have nothing against Jodi Picoult, I just wish this book was more thought out and presented differently and better than it is. I know I missed other parts that didn’t work well, but I chose to focus on the parts that irritated me the most. If you’ve read “The Storyteller” what part bothered you and why?
The next part in this series will be about what I think went right.