If you have not read Jodi Picoult’s “The Storyteller” stop reading and go read the book. I don’t want to ruin anyone’s experience.
I am going to touch on what I think Jodi Picoult did right in “The Storyteller”. In my opinion I felt she used descriptive words well. I
could see Mary’s garden and the way Mary rigged herself up to paint her murals. I could see Hauptscharfuhrer’s office that Minka worked in at Auschwitz, and I felt like I had stopped for a coffee at Our Daily Bread. The one part she nailed, which is my favorite part of the book, is the scene where the little girl is instructed by her mother to close her eyes and sing without stopping. The girl sings and doesn’t quit. Everyone around her is shot and piled around her and she is still singing. This scene is written so vividly it’s haunting. Yes, I know it’s horrible that this part is my favorite, but it’s my favorite because it’s written well. I can hear it and see it play out in my mind and I wasn’t there. Perhaps I can hear this better than other readers because I’ve stood in among the redwoods where this happened. If you only take one thing away from this four-part series let it be to describe the scenes in your manuscript so the reader experiences it, not just reads it. Even though I saw it coming, I liked when Sage found Minka’s story written on the backs of the pictures in Josef’s bedside table and I’m glad she took them.
The other area Jodi Picoult did right was to get people talking. This story spurs discussion about right vs. wrong, guilt vs. remorse, and even revenge with everyone that reads it.
A sign of a good book is that it creates a stir and starts discussions. This book has definately started discussions and earned some stares from eavesdroppers around those discussions. If you have read “The Storyteller”, what do you think was done well and why?
In the fourth and last part of this series I will outline what I think could be done differently to make this story better.