Hello, friends! It’s time to discuss August’s book and I’m so excited to read what you all thought of Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult. But first, I have a few announcements.
1 // I didn’t announce the book for September yesterday like I had been planning to. I was too busy finishing Plain Truth and writing my review. So, the book for September is…
THE STORYTELLER BY CYNTHIA SWANSON
This novel sounds FANTASTIC and I am excited to read it!
2 // I started a Facebook group for the book club! I haven’t been very active on the Goodreads group… okay, I haven’t been active on the Goodreads group at all. I just don’t visit Goodreads often and I wasn’t very successful in incorporating a visit to Goodreads into my daily routine. I visit Facebook more regularly, so I think I’ll be more active on a Facebook group for the book club. I’d like this to be a hub for everyone in the book club to get to know each other a little better and to discuss other books that we’re reading, if people are interested.
And now, without further ado, let’s discuss Plain Truth, by Jodi Picoult!
NOTE – THERE WILL BE SPOILERS FOR PLAIN TRUTH BY JODI PICOULT IN THIS POST AND COMMENTS TO IT! If you haven’t read Plain Truth and don’t want to be spoiled, stop reading here.
I read this book once years ago and loved it the first time that I read it. I think it’s safe to say that I loved it even more this time.
I was happy that I read it at two different times in my life. The first time that I read it, I was really close in age to Katie and I was definitely able to identify with her more than the other characters. I remember not liking Ellie much. Now that I’m a bit older and halfway between the two characters in age, I was still drawn to Katie, but I saw Ellie much differently. The first time through I felt like she was a little harsh toward Katie, but in some ways, she needed to be.
Katie spent so much time wishing away her pregnancy so that she didn’t have to deal with the consequences of having a baby out of wedlock in her community, but she couldn’t wish away the situation anymore and she needed to see that and face that realization.
I also loved Katie and Ellie’s friendship. It was forced upon them and came about under the most awkward of circumstances, but even though it wasn’t easy, they really appeared to form a tight bond, that was evident when Katie took care of Ellie when she became pregnant and was also evident in how much it hurt Katie to be ambushed by Adam and how much it hurt to Ellie to hear Katie admit to killing her baby.
I was totally blown away by the surprise ending the first time I read this book, so this time through I was looking for the clues and found them sprinkled throughout. And knowing the truth, it seems odd that a mother who lives and works so closely with her daughter–the only child she still has in her life–would not have picked up on the signs of pregnancy.
I think it would be hard to write a book that relies so heavily on courtroom scenes, but Jodi Picoult has a way with them. They always keep me interested and I feel like I’m in the courtroom with the characters.
I have some questions for you!
1 // Were you satisfied with how the court case ended? Would you have liked to have received the jury’s verdict?
2 // Do you think the jury would have reached a verdict of guilty or not guilty? If you were on the jury, which way would you lean?
3 // Why did Ellie feel so betrayed when Katie said that she killed her baby while visiting his grave? From the start, she had a hard time defending Katie because she believed Katie had killed her newborn. What changed?
WHAT WERE YOUR THOUGHTS?
1. I was very satisfied with the ending of the court case. If the case would have come with a verdict, either way, there would be issues with the reasoning. I think that their indecision was very appropriate.
2. Due to my background and the way that I was raised, I know that if I was on the stand, my actions would be seen as intentional and that I would eventually be found guilty. In Katie’s case, I would find it difficult to make a decision because of the fact that she wasn’t apart of society as a whole which prevented her from knowing things that people outside of her plain would know. Even her occasion visits to her brother wasn’t enough for her to gain outside knowledge. Her views of right and wrong compared to what others may consider right and wrong, differ. I don’t say that I agree with what she did, or that I say that it was right, but as someone who knows the importance of freedom of religion, I feel her rights are just as important as mine. I believe that since this incident has happened, her community will have learned from it. (I hope that made sense.)
3. Katie betrayed Ellie by lying to her, the one person who was willing to defend her, despite the circumstances. She was also personally offended because she longed for a baby of her own. I believe that this personal connection to the case makes Ellie’s judgement cloudy at times.
1) I think the legal result was the best choice for the story, but I personally would have been interested to see what the jury thought. Both sides made good cases. I think it really comes down to the psychological evidence presented by the doctors and whether the jury thought Katie was intentionally “forgetting” what happened.
2) I personally think that the jury would have found her guilty. There were too many holes in her story and too many things that just seemed overly “convenient” – at least that’s how I think a jury would have viewed it. For me, I don’t know. If I were on the jury, I’m not sure what I would do!
3) I definitely agree with what Erica said above. Katie lied. And before Ellie could feign ignorance because she didn’t really know what happened, but hearing Katie say she killed the baby must have been such a blow. Ellie had come to care for Katie and she was also dealing with her own desire of wanting to have a baby, etc.
This was a really good book! I haven’t read too much about “plain” / Amish folk and this is a subject I’d like to read more about.
Discuss the ways in which the ghosts of the past come to haunt the present action in PLAIN TRUTH. Of all the book’s characters, who comes to see things most clearly?