The Pact by Jodi Picoult
My rating: 1 of 5 stars
Why do so many people seem to love/adore Jodi Picoult novels? I can her a try with My Sister's Keeperand admittedly, I didn't hate it, although I did take issue with the plot. However, The Pact has now completely and successfully put me off all/any Picoult novels.
There are so many reasons why I hated this book; I find it hard to pick one major thing that irritated me. The thing I do hate about it are...integral parts of the story.
WARNING. SPOILERS AHEAD. (Not that I even recommend you read this novel. So just read the spoilers.)
I hated the entire premise of the novel. A suicide pact that turns out not to be a suicide pact, but rather a young man helping his girlfriend kill herself??? In some ways, Picoult sullied and insulted the truest nature of love. Chris (the boy involved with the suicide pact) considers it to be true love as he releases his girlfriend Emily from her worldly.
Number one -- what message does this send to people with suicidal ideation???
That sometimes our troubles and trails are too great for us to handle, so we must escape into death???
I was shocked by the romanticism of suicide that occurred in this novel. Fair enough, Picoult did *attempt* to show us the repercussions of suicide with friends and family, but the strongest point of the novel was Chris describing (on trial) the death of Emily, his lover.
Number two -- Emily, who had suffered a form of sexual assault at a very young age, never deals with the issue. Now this is most definitely an ongoing problem with people who are suicidal. Often there is some kind of abuse in one's childhood that inevitably leads to depression, self-blame, and sadly suicide.
Picoult didn't offer much about the abuse though, other than a quick reference to it as a glimpse into Emily's life. She manages to hide her depression from her parents and spirals downward, Chris being the only person she confides in.
Throughout the entire second half of the novel, when Emily's slow ascent downward is being explained, I wanted to shake Chris until his teeth rattled. If my boyfriend came to me and said, "I want to kill myself. I'm extremely unhappy because of something but I refuse to tell you why", I would immediately seek therapy for him in ANY WAY POSSIBLE. However, Chris being a naive teenager (what other reason could there be???), does nothing, convincing himself that he can stop Emily before she takes the final step.
Nothing about Emily's abuse becomes apparent to any of the parents. The biggest shocker of the story is that Chris wasn't suicidal at all, that he seemly went along with Emily's plan for some flimsy reason that doesn't hold up under examination.
There is literally nothing about this novel that I liked. What kind of story is this?? I've read many depressing novels, but this one was the worst. What was Picoult attempting to communicate to the reader? That suicide leaves families devastated and tears people apart?
Perhaps if she had explored the realm of sexual abuse and sought to show some type of healing...anything...perhaps then the book would have been more palatable to me. However, I very much doubt that, and as you can tell from my review...I give this novel one star because I did NOT like it...I hated it.
Give this book a pass.
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