Review–The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult

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The Tenth Circle

by Jodi Picoult



Summary: Fourteen-year-old Trixie Stone is in love for the first time. She's also the light of her father, Daniel's life -- a straight-A student; a pretty, popular freshman in high school; a girl who's always seen her father as a hero. That is, until her world is turned upside down with a single act of violence. Suddenly everything Trixie has believed about her family -- and herself -- seems to be a lie. Could the boyfriend who once made Trixie wild with happiness have been the one to end her childhood forever? She says that he is, and that is all it takes to make Daniel, a seemingly mild-mannered comic book artist with a secret tumultuous past he has hidden even from his family, venture to hell and back to protect his daughter.
With The Tenth Circle, Jodi Picoult offers her most powerful chronicle yet as she explores the unbreakable bond between parent and child, and questions whether you can reinvent yourself in the course of a lifetime -- or if your mistakes are carried forever.


Source: I purchased a paperback from a used bookstore

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Review:

The Tenth Circle had such an interesting plot. Daniel Stone was a comic book author. Laura Stone was a college professor who specialized in teaching Dante's Inferno. Their daughter, Trixie, was a confused adolescent that was somehow between being a kid and being a woman and struggled with her identity and place in the world. The book even had some sections of Daniel's graphic novel which featured a man with the ability/curse to shape shift into a beast and going into the depths of Dante's hell with Virgil to find his missing daughter. Obviously, there were some pretty major parallels there.

I'm amazed by Jodi Picoult's ability to tell a complex story with so many facets and layers of humanity. I was captivated by each character's story and the connections they had to each other. I highly enjoyed the majority of the novel and couldn't wait to see how it all ended. I love the author's ability to write, her plots, and the way she layers a plot on top of a legend or story.

However, as with all of her other books I've read, I feel vaguely disappointed by the ending. I don't know what else I could have wanted when I sit down to try to pin point what went wrong for me. I couldn't figure it out with her other books, either. But there's something unsatisfying about her endings. The story builds and builds with new and exciting avenues, but it's like it all fizzles out at some point and I'm left wondering what the entire point was. Maybe that's just her style or maybe she's like Stephen King and doesn't know how to end things. Endings typically don't make me mad or upset me, but I always feel so apathetic when I finish her books and it certainly affects my overall rating and enjoyment of the book.

Honestly, I feel like Jodi Picoult put way too many issues and ideas in the book and couldn’t find a way to tie it together well because there was so much going on. So instead of feeling like I just read this well thought out book, I’m left feeling like I read a book designed to be shocking and deep, but wasn’t actually either of those.

Despite all of the characters having complicated lives, I felt like I never truly understood the motivations of them. Trixie had a ton of issues. A broken heart, rape, cutting, suicide, identity crisis… but I didn’t feel like I ever knew why she felt that way and why she did the things she did. It’s like the author couldn’t focus and really explore one major theme, so she just peppered in a ton of other craziness to keep us guessing.

If you’re a fan of Jodi Picoult, The Tenth Circle is a good book and worth the read. If you’re not sure about her, I’m not sure if I liked or disliked the book because I’m not quite sure if I’ve fallen for the writing style that is Jodi Picoult yet, so I don’t know if I’d recommend it.

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