Tuesday, April 19, 2005

The Pact - Jodi Picoult

Can you judge a cover by its book? We did. A close-up of a devoted teenage boyfriend, eyes closed, kissing the blue-eyed cheek of his, blond-haired picture-of-innocence girlfriend, who is looking at us like we have caught them. Is it a picture of innocence – a saccharine American dream of neighbouring families, weekly bi-family get-togethers at the local Chinese, a son, a daughter, high school sweethearts, prom night, college ahead, then marriage, babies – or is it more sinister?
Her eyes have the answer – if you can read them. Innocent? Duplicitous? Manipulative? Victim or aggressor? Does it worth discussing when she is dead by the second paragraph?
Yes. Her boyfriend is in the frame for her murder, but he says it was suicide. Was she a victim of pleasing everybody except herself, or was she a suicidal manipulator who wanted things her way at everybody’s cost? Does it matter when the real qualities of this book are Jodi Picoult’s ability to explore the dynamics between and inside the two families with excruciating intimacy?
This book has it all: a courtroom drama, family dynamics, shifting alliances, some difficult detective work and a lonely boy learning how to survive in prison. The cover? The book deserves better.

Who: Jodi Picoult
What: The Pact
Who by: Hodder & Stoughton
When: April 2005
Where: London
Why: It's surprising, energetic, scary and fascinating
Why not: It will tear at your heart strings and make you question your relationships
How much: £18.99 (hard cover)