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Book Reviews of The Storyteller

The Storyteller
The Storyteller
Author: Jodi Picoult
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ISBN-13: 9781439102770
ISBN-10: 1439102775
Publication Date: 11/5/2013
Pages: 480
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.

4 stars, based on 103 ratings
Publisher: Emily Bestler Books
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

31 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

TarynC avatar reviewed The Storyteller on + 213 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 11
Jodi needed a better editor with this book. Her holocaust story was gripping and well done. The modern day story was filled with unnecessary characters that detracted from the main theme. The fable was really silly and unnecessary as well. All in all an interesting read, well researched and written, but not well edited. I believe that when authors become really famous and prolific they start to sacrifice quality for quantity and perhaps their editors have less influence. I think in Jodi's case she fits this bill. She still writes well and tackles interesting subjects, but many of her books seem to have storylines "borrowed" from other books. I truly wish she would slow down and put more effort into each book rather than just churning them out.
reviewed The Storyteller on + 329 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 7
Oh my goodness, did I ever enjoy this book. Jodi Picoult can really tell a story. I read this book until all hours of the night. It is powerful, riveting, sad, but a great great read. Of Course the Holocaust was a very very sad time in our countries history but this story portrayed it especially well. I can't say enough about it. I thought about it for days afterwards and am finding my next book hard to get into to.
bulldoglover22 avatar reviewed The Storyteller on + 105 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Jodi Picoult is an extraordinary author who I feel is in a class of her very own. Her thought provoking topics are thoroughly researched - The Storyteller is no exception. I have read many books which incorporate the tragedy of the Holocaust - the details of this horrific period of time are nothing but devastating and disturbing. In my opinion, it will always be difficult to grasp just how inhumane the Jews were treated. On the other hand, it is amazing to read about the strong will of those who endured the wrath of the Germans and the things they did in order to get through each and every unbearable day. This story is not only about the Holocaust but the power of love, forgiveness, friendships and so much more. Amazing book. Very difficult to put down.
pandagirl avatar reviewed The Storyteller on + 27 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
I was really impressed with the way that Jodi Picoult is able to connect stories from World War II/Holocaust with the present day. She explores topics in this novel like justice, faith forgiveness, peer pressure, and family loyalty.
starvinArtist avatar reviewed The Storyteller on + 57 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I run hot and cold with Picoult, but this book is excellent. Reading about this atrocious event makes me wonder even more how anyone could have survived it. My inlaws lost most of their respective families during the Halocaust and like Minka, rarely spoke of it. It was just too painful. A must read.
megt avatar reviewed The Storyteller on + 178 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I hated the first half of this book but I did stick it out. It got a little better, I guessed the ending half way but I enjoyed Minka's story, while it was hard to hear at times. NOT the best Holocaust fiction book ever, and I don't know if I would recommend this book to friends. Picoult is over rated if you ask me.
smith-jones avatar reviewed The Storyteller on + 47 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I didn't want to give it a 3 because it was more like a 3.5. I did enjoy it in most parts and it was definitely not boring, but my expectations were higher.

To put it bluntly, I have read better stories about the holocaust that didn't feel like a police investigation show. The elements I enjoyed the most involved the bakery theme; however, I didn't find the use of the Scheherazade background original at all.

I gave it a 4 because I'm a fan of Jodi's otherwise she would have fared less favorably.

The Seventh Well by Fred Wander is a much better story if anybody would like to learn from the mouth/pen of a man who survived 7 concentration camps.
debs avatar reviewed The Storyteller on + 637 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Holocaust stores have always been torture for me to read, and this one was no different. But from page one, I could not put this down. Gripping, intense, horrific, all these at once. From other reviews, I ignored the "fable" written in the italicized section, and I don't feel that it lessened my enjoyment of the story at all.
casey-sue avatar reviewed The Storyteller on + 53 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Jodi Picoult is an author you will never become bored with. By far, the Storyteller is my favorite book by her. When you finish this book, I guarantee it will stay on your mind, mulling it over. The Storyteller makes you laugh and cry, makes you wonder who the bad guy really is, and makes you question your emotions.
reviewed The Storyteller on + 7 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This was only my second Jodi Picoult story I've read, the other being My Sister's Keeper, which I thought was very good.

The first part of this book is typical of the way books are written today. With one character telling his side of the story then flipping to another character in another chapter with his/her story. This part of the book is not very good. The story is building, but very slow. The storyteller (Jodi Picoult) doesn't do a good job with this section of telling the story.

Once you get to the second part of the book, the Storyteller (both Picoult and the character storyteller) does a very good job interacting all the players and writing the old fashioned way - seeing different points of view from different sides all the while keeping the reader in suspense. Once into this part of the book, it is difficult to put the book down.

Also, the story of the girl, the soldier, the grandaughter and her friends are all very interesting. the story-in-the-story, I sometimes skipped over as that was not very interesting.
flyinggems avatar reviewed The Storyteller on + 425 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I really enjoy Picoults writing but I found this book hard to get into. By section 2, I wanted to read it. By section 3, I just wanted to finish it. I did like the story, just felt there was some parts that were not needed.

If you would to read her books in order:
Songs of the Humpback Whale: A Novel in Five Voices (1992)
Harvesting the Heart (1993)
Picture Perfect (1995)
Mercy (1996)
The Pact (1998)
Keeping Faith (1999)
Plain Truth (2000)
Salem Falls (2001)
Perfect Match (2002)
Second Glance (2003)
My Sister's Keeper (2004)
Vanishing Acts (2005)
The Tenth Circle (2006)
Nineteen Minutes (2007)
Change of Heart (2008)
Handle with Care (2009)
House Rules (2010)
Sing You Home (2011)
Lone Wolf (2012)
Between the Lines (2012) (Young Adult)
The Storyteller (2013)
reviewed The Storyteller on + 11 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Another review pug it perfectly. The fable in the book is unnecessary and there are more characters than needed. The portion of Minka's story is excellent, and much like the Holocaust books I've read from actual survivors and my tour of Auschwitz. I don't much care for Picoult books, this was highly recommend. I'd say it was average.
njmom3 avatar reviewed The Storyteller on + 1354 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Review first published on my blog:

The Storyteller is a story of the Holocaust told from many different perspectives. Minka is the survivor. Sage is her granddaughter who feels removed from the history until she learns the reality of how it affected those she loves. Leo is one who studies the history and searches to bring the perpetrators to justice. Josef is.....Well, who Josef is becomes the crux of this story.

I have read several Jodi Picoult books. Unequivocally, the books all tackle difficult issues, and all of them have made me think and have elicited a strong emotional response. This book confronts the issue of forgiveness - our ability to forgive others and to forgive ourselves and what forgiveness does for the giver and the receiver. It tackles it on an enormous scale - the horror of the Holocaust, but at the same time, on a very personal level - forgiveness at an individual level.

The story is an emotional and powerful one from each perspective. Interestingly, the least developed is the story of Sage, who begins as the main character. She is dealing with guilt and forgiveness in her own life; yet that by the end seems tangential and extraneous to the main story. Leo's story is the pragmatic one of bringing people to justice, of ensuring that legal boundaries are met. Minka's story along with Josef's is, by its very nature, the most intense and the most emotional. Mingled with Minka's story is a tale she writes - one that to some extent mirrors the world around her but at the same time is able to take her away from the horrors she faces.

I have to say that I did guess the ending - the twist that so often comes in Jodi Picoult stories. In this case, seeing it coming added to powerful message of forgiveness that the book is all about.

On her website, Jodi Picoult states, "If we have a moral responsibility to the past, it's to make sure that history like this doesn't repeat. ... That's why I wrote this book. Because stories matter, and there are six million people who did not have the opportunity to tell theirs." A powerful book to read and to be left thinking about for a long while.
aladdin avatar reviewed The Storyteller on + 154 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
An excellent read, peeling layers away of history and people/personalities like a giant tantalizing onion. Picoult has that special talent where in each story sh writes, the subject and people are unique. her writing is NOT formulaic as are many others who get bogged down in series. This one deals with bakery,holocaust survivors, baffling relationships and insights into the human soul and heart. I got swept up in the book. Sometimes I hesitate to start a J.P. book for that reason, and sho' 'nuff, it happened again. You will enjoy!!! learn and reflect. A few solves, where the characters survived and escaped from permanent harm in order to continue with the action, seemed a bit contrived, but then, we don't want the story/ people to end midsentence. EARNED 5 stars nonetheless. Unique, original, absorbing.
reviewed The Storyteller on + 1430 more book reviews
Started to give this book four stars until I read some of the other reviews. Yes, I liked it but like other reviewers I thought the author attempted too much in this novel. It just took a long time for the reader to understand why Sage carried her scars, both emotional and physical. Once that was revealed the reader could understand the key character a little better. I felt it took too long also to figure out that Minka, Sage's grandmother, was writing a story that the author included almost as a sidebar. It just seemed to pop into the novel without much thought. Once that, too, was revealed it made sense. Finally, the book was just too long.

I did notice errors but glossed over them. Authors writing such a lengthy and complex book may perhaps be forgiven for minor errors. Sometimes I can and sometimes I can't. This is the first book I've read by this author although I have others on my shelf. At this point I am undecided whether to read them or move on to other reads. As I think about it I will probably check out reviews before I decide to tackle them. My advice is to look at this book for yourself. Check out the reviews, too, to see if any of the concerns bother you. If so, find a different story. As for me, I may be in the minority but I liked Sage. She was a victim but I found the ending inappropriate for the character she seemed to be. In short, it's a good read, just not outstanding.
reviewed The Storyteller on
Sage is a baker who hides her face and works only at night. She keeps people at bay including her coworkers, her family and her married boyfriend. She feels responsible for the death of her mother as a result of an auto accident in which Sage was driving. She meets a widower at her grief counseling group who becomes her friend, until he asks her to kill him because of his past as a Nazi SS officer. Her grandmother is a survivor of a death camp who never told her story of her life to anyone. Before Sage agrees to kill the old man, she must hear both his story and her grandmother's. She also learns her grandmother wrote an unpublished story in her youth about vampires that is important to everyone's story. In the fashion that is Jodi Picoult, this book kept me riveted and turning pages well into the night.
reading-galore avatar reviewed The Storyteller on + 115 more book reviews
This Jodi Picoult novel flips back and forth between World War II and modern times. Sage, a baker, is the granddaughter of Minka (the storyteller) previously imprisoned at Auschwitz. Sage meets a man who confesses to having been a Nazi at Auschwitz, asks her to forgive him for his crimes and to kill him. She is conflicted about doing either and instead turns to the FBI for help. There is a lot of content about Auschwitz and what it was like to be Jewish at that time. I was caught up in the twists and turns of this story and enjoyed thinking about all the ethical decisions that Sage had to make along the way.
reviewed The Storyteller on
I've only picked up two books in my life that I haven't been able to finish. The first was Amos, and the second is The Storyteller.

The book had me a little lost from the beginning as I was trying to figure out who was writing their voice in the different parts, but once I figured that out it was easy to follow.

But the bottom line for me with this book is that the details of the Holocaust are awful enough reading about them in history books. I couldn't bring myself to read the specifics as being told by the novel's character.
Grazona avatar reviewed The Storyteller on + 119 more book reviews
Jodi Picoult's books are always hit or miss for me. This one was a big miss. The story was well written and I liked the different narrators and how their stories wove together. What I didn't like was the fictitious Holocaust story. It felt to be in poor taste and I don't believe it was accurate. It seems to me like an issue that you can't say "Oh I could imagine what that was like and write about it." I also didn't like the way everything seemed to wrap up at the end. It wasn't believable at all.
reviewed The Storyteller on + 317 more book reviews
This is a very powerful book with reflections about the Holocaust. Sometimes I could not read it before bed because it gave me nightmares. It was worth reading though.
reviewed The Storyteller on + 192 more book reviews
I loved this book!!
dillepickle avatar reviewed The Storyteller on + 12 more book reviews
Her best book yet, Jodi Picoult. Makes you look at how & why, from the other side w/greater understanding of the holocaust sad story.
berries674 avatar reviewed The Storyteller on + 92 more book reviews
Enjoyed it, but felt it had so much more potential...could have held much more poignancy (that I expected once I realized where the story was going). Sort or anti climatic to me, but the 150 or so pages of Holocaust recount were very well written.
reviewed The Storyteller on + 11 more book reviews
Interesting and different book for Jodi Picoult. Excellent story but a very difficult subject matter. While I do feel everyone should read this book, I did find parts hard to read due to the emotional impact. Well written and interesting twist on this subject.
reviewed The Storyteller on + 114 more book reviews
Jodi Picoult is by far my favorite author. I'm never disappointed when I pick one of her books up. This book was very good and so heartbreaking. I love that Picoult takes subjects that most people wouldn't touch and writes such amazing stories about. The Storyteller was fantastic.
reviewed The Storyteller on + 182 more book reviews
okay lots of spoilers here. I just can't help talking about it as if I were sitting in book club:

~I really didn't like the side story for a very long time, but absolutely came to appreciate (most of it) at the end. I hated that it didn't have an ending.
~I had no idea what the subject matter was going to be, and I am pretty tenderhearted and would have skipped this one had I known in advance that it was about the halacaust.
~I totally loved the parts about Minka and that's it. I hated the ending, (which tends to be the way it is with Picoult, You love it or you hate it.)Really?? Minka dies in her sleep??? And Sage decides to fulfil that ridiculous and totally unbelievable and unrealistic request??? What the heck??? And I hated Sage's weirdo issues. They seemed SO trivial and lame after reading about Minka for 300 pages. I liked it at first, but at the end... no.

I'm glad I read it. It was so engaging, I could not put it down, I loved the realness of Darija, and their friendship, I cried actual tears when the nephew died, and grieved with the father as he died right along, day by day after realizing what happened to his wife. I loved the innocense of Sage after going with her sister to try to get her husband released. And I loved that the sister took her death into her own hands.

It definitely got my emotions high.
pcphibbs avatar reviewed The Storyteller on + 82 more book reviews
Excellent story. One of Jodi Picoult's best. Story is about survivors of the Holocaust.
reviewed The Storyteller on + 272 more book reviews
Another great riveting, heart wrenching story from Jodi Picoult!
reviewed The Storyteller on + 23 more book reviews
Although, I have not read all of Jodi Picoult's books, I have loved every one that I have read. For me, this one was probably the best and most absorbing one of hers yet. She writes books on very difficult (and sometimes controversial) topics and with a wealth of research paired with her incredible writing talent, weaves together stories that have such a sensitivity and do so much justice for whatever subject she has chosen. I always walk away from her books feeling richer and more enlightened. This one on the Holocaust is no exception and is one of the best I've read on The Holocaust. And while, I won't read all of her books, because I am not always interested in whatever topic she is tackling, I will say she is one of my favorite authors and one of the best "Storytellers" in my opinion. Highly recommend.
reviewed The Storyteller on + 2 more book reviews
I loved this story. I never expected the story to end the way it did. It is a very touching story.
reviewed The Storyteller on + 234 more book reviews
Because Jodi tends to write in the same manner for each of her books, I started getting bored with her novels; not this one though! I found the book at an exchange library at our resort this summer and once I started reading it, I had difficulty putting it down. Her words were so powerful and the storytelling so riveting. I can't recommend this book enough!