The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult – A Book Review

This is hard for me because as much as I loathed certain aspects of this book, I couldn’t put it down.  Despite my best efforts, I got sucked in and had to know what happened next.  That says something, doesn’t it?

Okay, the premise … turn on Lifetime or an after school special and you’ll get the same kind of story.  I won’t spoil anything about the book, but Picoult managed to throw in every possible trauma a family could go through in an amazingly short span and then make sure we learned our lessons by practically beating us over the head.  But, perhaps such escalation of eccentric plot devices was the point.  The mother of her main character is a specialist in Dante’s Inferno, and so part of me wonders if this story is supposed to mirror the nine levels of hell, but if so, I think it was done rather melodramatically.

One interesting tool used in this book, however, is actual comic book pages “drawn” by the main character’s father who is a renowned comic book artist.  Shocker, the comic book is called The Tenth Circle as well.  At the end of each chapter are components that make up a larger comic book, which parallel the actual story and play off of Dante’s Inferno.  I’ll admit, Picoult had some impressive concepts going in this book; I simply didn’t care for her style of execution.

Listen, I know a lot of people really like this book and love Jodi Picoult, and I can’t deny the fact that I could not stop reading.  I slapped my forehead the whole way through as the plot got more and more outlandish, but I couldn’t stop reading.  If an author can keep you going even when you don’t want to, they’re obviously doing something right. 

If you’re into Picoult, you’ll probably dig this.  As for me, as good as she was at hooking me, this’ll probably be the last book of hers I read.  Just a tad too heavy on the family drama and forced “life lessons” for my tastes.

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