Sunday, October 15, 2006

Plain Truth by Jodi Picault

Plain Truth

I had this on my list of recent new favourites to review before the recent tragedy in the Amish community, made it suddenly sadly topical. If anyone wants to gain understanding of the Amish culture and way of life this novel is an excellent introduction.

Hardened city attorney, Ellie Hathaway, who never loses a case even when her clients might well be guilty, is reaching breakdown point with her life and relationship. She retreats to her aunt in a small town on the fringes of the Amish community. Before she knows what has hit her, she has become drawn in to the unprecedented case of an Amish girl, Katie Fisher, accused of smothering her new born baby to conceal its existence. To keep her unwilling client from awaiting her trial in jail, Ellie agrees to act as her warden, which means she has to spend the next few months living the Amish life with her client’s family.

Jodi Picault uses the legal processes as a mere framework to the human drama . The gradual unfolding of the characters and the secrets of Katie’s past, intertwined with her dissociative state around the birth of her baby, accompanies Ellie’s quest for the truth, which constantly eludes her and keeps a tantalising element of uncertainty right till the end of the story. Through observing the simple Amish way of life and their philosophy of forgiveness, Ellie gradually comes to terms with the unresolved issues that caused her near breakdown and reshapes her life.

I was totally absorbed by this book. Knowing nothing of the Amish culture previously I was able to see it as a real, meaningful way of living rather than an anachronism. The simplicity of the Amish way of life contrasts dramatically with the complexities of the individuals living it. The feeling with which the characters were portrayed inexorably drew me in to become involved with the resolution of the case. I can’t wait to get my hands on another of Jodi Picault’s books, but the only other one we have here, My Sister's Keeper, my sister-in-law refuses to let me read, as it portrays quite a heart-wrenching dilemma, regarding a child with leukemia, which as a parent might be too traumatic for comfortable reading.

To see what Amazon.com says about Plain Truth click on the title here.

To see Amazon.co.uk details on Plain Truth click on this link.

1 comment:

Rose&Thorn said...

Two of my favourite books. I love the moral questions which make you as the reader think, while still enjoying the story.