Thursday, April 17, 2014

605#Ai no Kotoba ~ [Book Review] The Storyteller

[edited: Dec 30, 2015]

The Storyteller was the first Jodi Picoult's book I've read and I never expected it to be totally AWESOME! I have major book hangover after reading The Storyteller. 

Read: From April 10 to 14, 2014
Rating : 4.7/5

Sage Singer befriends an old man who's particularly beloved in her community. Josef Weber is everyone's favorite retired teacher and Little League coach. They strike up a friendship at the bakery where Sage works. One day he asks Sage for a favor: to kill him. Shocked, Sage refuses…and then he confesses his darkest secret - he deserves to die, because he was a Nazi SS guard. Complicating the matter? Sage's grandmother is a Holocaust survivor.

What do you do when evil lives next door? Can someone who's committed a truly heinous act ever atone for it with subsequent good behavior? Should you offer forgiveness to someone if you aren't the party who was wronged? And most of all - if Sage even considers his request - is it murder, or justice?

The Holocaust. The Nazis. The Jews.

The Storyteller tells the story of the friendship between Sage Singer, a baker with a well-beloved elderly man named Josef Weber. Josef is everyone's favourite. He has never done a single thing that make him being hated by the community. Or so Sage thought...

The dreadful Holocaust's aftereffect is told from the perspective of Jews and the former Nazi SS soldier. From the ones who pulled the triggers and the ones who suffered the most during and after the Holocaust.

"I love that your grandmother as tough as nails one moment and soft as suede the next. It is what got her through the worst era of history."

"It just feels so anti-climatic, you know, Leo? To survive the Holocaust, and then die in her sleep. What's the point?"

"Maybe she didn't die upset. Maybe she let go, Sage, because she finally felt like everything was going to be okay."

Under the chaotic times of World War II, the Germans who willingly helped the Jews to flee still existed even though the Jews had been labeled as the collateral damage by the military. They lived in fear. The ones who survived the Holocaust has witnessed dead bodies lying in the concentration camps, being shot to dead by the SS guards.

Jodi Picoult's portrayal of what happened during World War II and in the dreadful concentration camp made me in awe when reading this book. I've never read a book about World War II, but I think The Storyteller captures the perfect scenes of the worst era. I could imagine when the Jews being tortured in the concentration camps, being looked down worse than the animals. They have to sleep in fear, force to be naked and numbers being tattooed on their hands.

I could feel my heart beating fast when Sage's grandmother did everything to be kept alive. The efforts in writing such a book is no joke. Lots of research and confirmations with the authorities need to be done. Big applause to Jodi Picoult for writing such a piece that would make me remember The Storyteller as a really good story.

Highly recommended! Even though it was complicated to be understood as it is about history but I could not put the book down. I was impressed by myself because I managed to read such a heavy book with sensitive issue during World War II. Maybe it's time to diverse my genre, no?

Till then.


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