The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult
The Storyteller seems at first a an easy read, with realistic characters, if a little flawed, and at times a little annoying. We meet Sage who tries to hide herself from everyone due to a horrific scar that covers almost half her face. One afternoon she finds herself drawn to an older gentleman that comes in to have an snack in the bakery/cafe' where she works. Sage and Josef begin talking then out of no where, Josef drops his bombshell. He wants Sage to help him to die. He confesses to having been an SS Officer during the World War II, and claims that he has murdered many Jews whilst working in the concentration camps. Sage's family is Jewish, her Grandmother Minka is an Auschwitz survivor, although she has never spoken about her time there.
Part One of The Storyteller goes through part of Sage's struggle to decide what to do with this information presented to her by Josef. Part Two we learn of Minka's struggle before and during the war. Reading what she went through can at times be emotionally draining. I found myself fighting back tears while on my bus commute to work.
Threaded through the novel is another story - one of beasts and creatures that can tear a human from limb to limb and features a young girl who works in a bakery. This story was written by Minka and at first it seems to be just a fairy-story, not until later, does the reader realize that in fact, this too is Minka's story and how she dealt with the horrors that were around her on a daily basis.
Josef's story is also told through Minka's part and also a lot towards the end. You will find yourself asking "what would I do in Sage's shoes?" Sage sits through Josef's horrifying stories and sits through listening to Minka finally disclose what she went through.
This is a fast paced story, great dialogue, and an ending that has a twist that you won’t see coming.
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