Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult

Published in 2006. 387 pages.

Reading a Jodi Picoult novel is not easy. She always deals with difficult topics - and sometimes as a wife and mother, they are topics I'd rather not face. The Tenth Circle - with date rape, and adultery, and suicide - was, obviously, no exception.

To date I've not found anyone who particularly liked this novel. In fact, several people have commented to me that they've liked all the Picoult novels they'd read except this one. I thoroughly planned, therefore, to not like it. Because the time remaining in the Summer Reading Challenge is nearly over and I had two Picoult novels left on my list, I even contemplated reading Plain Truth, which lots of people have said they liked, and skipping The Tenth Circle all together. Last night, however, after I finished Vanishing Acts, I decided to start The Tenth Circle because Plain Truth hasn't yet come in at the library (there are lots of holds on it) and I own a copy of The Tenth Circle (I bought it at a fundraising auction at Jelly Bean's school last fall). Then today, because it's a state holiday here in Utah and Jelly Bean and Sugar Plum have been spending the day reading Harry Potter, I read the rest of The Tenth Circle.

I was pleasantly surprised by the book. The topics were difficult, of course, but I found the novel to be extremely well crafted, except for the somewhat slow and predictable ending. I loved the use of Dante's circles of hell and comic book superheroes - which were the basis of the careers of the parents in the story - for the numerous metaphors they suggest. I also enjoyed the insights into the Eskimo culture in which the father was raised. Despite the ending, I would recommend The Tenth Circle - but it is not comfortable reading.



  1. I'm glad you did like it. Maybe I just had too high of expectations for it. (and maybe yours were low!)

    Plain Truth is one of my favorites! If you get the chance to read it, you definitely should!

  2. So many Picoult books on my wishlist!

    I came by to tell you that a while back, you commented on one of my posts, and today the author of the book stopped by and left me a comment! And it was partially in response to your comment. So I though I would let you know so you could see what she has to say.

  3. I've already commented about this on the Plain Truth post, so I'll keep this short. Another thing that threw me for a loop was the trip at the end of the book. I found it unbelievable and a little far out there. Oh well!