Saturday, March 14, 2009

Plain Truth

Plain Truth
by Jodi Picoult
432 pages
Washington Square Press (2001)

Katie, an eighteen-year-old Amish girl sneaks out at 2 am to give birth in her family's barn. After the newborn is found dead, there are many questions that need answering and Katie and the rest of her Plain people don't seem to do any answering. Ellie Hathaway, a cousin of Katie is disappointed by the superficiality of her life in the city and she moves to Paradise, Pennsylvania to live with their common aunt. She has no idea that the two cultures that she is a part of, city living and the Plain Paradise of the Amish will collide with such force, pinning her in the middle. What is the truth? Who is telling it? It will be Ellie's responsibility to find the answers, the answers that no one is giving.

I read this with my book club, and we all seemed to agree, it was an entertaining read, but not much more than that. The writing was not amazing. To me it felt more like a movie than a book, probably just because of the different twists in the plot, it felt like it was set up for film. I have to say that because I am fascinated by the Amish customs and mindset, that aspect of the book really did make me think. I am interested in why they do what they do, and how it works for them. I know this was fiction, but when it came to the culture Picoult tried to stay factual as far as the Plain people go.

Final analysis of my first Picoult experience: it was entertaining and interesting to learn more about the Plain people, but beyond that it wasn't something any of us will wave around in the air telling our friends and family to read it. It was okay, and I don't see the need to seek out any of her others at this point.

Have you read Plain Truth? Which is your favourite book by Jodi Picoult? How many of hers have you read? What did you think?


mee said...

I've read 3 Jodi Picoult's books and after the last one I decided not to ever read her books again :P. All the topics of her books are quite interesting, but I just don't like her way of writing them. Though if I ever read her book again, Plain Truth will probably be the one. Anyway, I'm interested in reading some fiction with Amish people too, I wonder if there are other novels with it other than Plain Truth.


Alyce said...

I still haven't read any of her books. I thought it was funny that the movie version of Plain Truth was on tv today. I didn't watch it, but I saw that it was on the schedule.

Anonymous said...

I've read quite a few of Picoult's books, and the first one that I read is still my favorite: My Sister's Keeper. I haven't read it in a while, so it's possible it might not be as great now that I know Picoult's M.O. (controversy plus plot twists galore plus unnecessary romance), but everyone I know who has read it has at least been entertained by it.

Of the Picoult novels I've read (which is most of them), only a couple fall below the "That was pretty okay" standard that I associate with her writing. I would not recommend Change of Heart or The Tenth Circle as your next read. :)

claire said...

Haven't read Picoult as I've a feeling I won't like her. I just avoid it.

Anonymous said...

i've read several of her books and actually had a chance to meet her at a reading in my local library. she was very engaging and quite entertaining. i've mentioned before on another blog that her books are a bit formulaic...but she does know how to write some terrific metaphors. one thing that may help is that the books i've 'read' by her have all been audio books. i feel it adds another dimension to actually hear a book being performed. :)

Ti said...

I am reading my first Picoult book this month for my book club (Nineteen Minutes). I had no idea she had written so many books. She has like 12 out. Maybe more.

Trish said...

Out of the 6 or 7 that I've read this is my absolute least favorite. My Sister's Keeper is my favorite. My stepmom invited me to go to a Picoult book signing next Thursday--should be interesting!!

S. Krishna said...

I haven't read any Picoult, but I;m going to read My Sister's Keeper at some point.

Stephanie said...

I read this. I liked the glimpse into the Amish society- it fascinates me, too. I have to say, I really wasn't expecting the twist at the end. I think this one was one of the first Picoult novels I've read- some of them I've enjoyed, others I didn't really care for.

She seems a little polarizing- either people LOVE her, or won't touch her novels with a ten foot pole. I'm right in the middle, if the story interests me, sure, I'll read it. :)

Jeane said...

She picks fascinating subjects, but her writing style just does not work for me. It feels so - dull. I did like learning a little about the Amish people in Plain Truth, but the characters didn't really come alive for me.

JoAnn said...

I agree with you...Plain Truth was a page turner, but not much more.
I read Change of Heart last month and felt the same way. The audio of My Sister's Keeper was absolutely riveting, but I won't be reading any more of her novels.

bermudaonion said...

I haven't read this one. I do enjoy Picoult's book, but know they're not great fiction even as I'm reading them.

Kim said...

I'm a fan of Jodi Picoult. I very much enjoyed My Sister's Keeper and so has everyone I've recommended it to. I also loved Change of Heart. The Tenth Circle was probably my least favorite. Yes, she does have a similar formula to all her books, but at the same time she tackles subject matter that most authors wouldn't dare address and I do love that about her.

Anna said...

I read Plain Truth a while ago, mainly because I'm interested in the Amish. (If you're looking for some good fiction about the Amish, check out Beverly Lewis...I love her books.)

I agree that Picoult isn't the greatest writer, but her books are entertaining. I've also read Vanishing Acts, The Tenth Circle, Change of Heart, and My Sister's Keeper. They were okay. I still haven't decided if I want to read her latest.

Diary of an Eccentric

Anna said...

I forgot about Nineteen Minutes. That has to be my favorite Picoult book.

Diary of an Eccentric