Jodi Picoult: Literature’s M. Night Shyamalan?

from jodipicoult.com

from jodipicoult.com

Hello, welcome to the Breaking Blues Book Club. Or something. Today’s topic: Picoult, Jodi. People who have read her frequently, or even just read more than one book by her, tell me if she’s any good or not. I mean, here’s my thing with the book I have read, Plain Truth: I was riveted and couldn’t stop reading, then I got to the end and it didn’t make any sense to me. It felt like she wanted to do a twist ending, and so she did. I know all fiction is contrived, but really good stuff doesn’t feel contrived, in my humble opinion.

But I see her books every-freakin’-where. At Wal-Mart, which doesn’t carry many fiction books, much less ones by the same author. They seem to have three or four or more of her titles consistently. Target has probably a half-dozen or more.

I was looking for spoilers for some of her books on Wikipedia, to see if others sounded contrived. Yes. They did. Notably Change of Heart. More so the plot in that one, the ending didn’t sound that bad. But there was also a twist that I looked at and thought, “Huh?” And the description for her new book makes me want to throw things-what mother does that? If you don’t know what that is, read some of the Amazon reviews or something.

So tell me your thoughts on her endings. Good, bad? What do you recommend, and what do you stay far away from? I may never even try another book by her; I still feel kind of burned. But do tell, as I try to ignore yet another promo for that insufferable-looking Miss March movie. I know Miss March, and you, Playboy lady who your coma boyfriend didn’t get to deflower, are no Miss March.

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5 Comments

Filed under Books and Things You Read

5 responses to “Jodi Picoult: Literature’s M. Night Shyamalan?

  1. I have to admit I’m a bit of a literature snob in terms of classification (I’ll pretty much read anything before forming an opinion), so I would consign her books to “beach” or “plane” reads (i.e. fluff that you don’t have to think too hard about) but she also has a penchant for doing these weird “surprise” endings that either make no sense, or don’t have a good lead in. It makes me think that she doesn’t know how to end a novel. She’s a decent writer, but her endings leave a lot to be desired.

  2. AGreenEyeDevil

    Since M. Night Shyamalan annoys the hell out of me, I’ll just continue to pass by this chick’s books.

  3. bebehblog

    All Jodi Picoult books are based on the same “How to write a novel” syllabus from an adult-education center. Which isn’t surprising when you consider just how many books she’s written.
    Step 1: Introduce nice family with secret/issues
    Step 2: Tragedy/crime
    Step 3: Trial and/or investigation
    Step 4: WILD TWIST
    Step 5: Resolution. Don’t worry too much about that part though.
    Check them out of the library if you like that sort of thing. It’s not so much chick-lit as crime-lite.

  4. TheDomina

    @Bebeh: Don’t forget the Step 1.a.: GREAT BIG MORAL ISSUE with which to bang the reader over the head with.

  5. I’ve never read any of her books (I’m always wary of stuff that gets too much play in Wal-Mart). But I did recently read a book with a twist ending that was both surprising and really good. It’s “Me and Emma” by Elizabeth Flock. I picked it up on a whim at a bookstore in Des Moines, after reading the back cover and finding it was set in a teeny town in NC (near where my boyfriend’s mom grew up). It ended up being really sad, but really engaging.

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