Tuesday, March 2, 2010

My love/hate relationship with Jodi Picoult after I read My Sister's Keeper in between phone calls at a paper company where I was begrudgingly helping brides with their wedding invitations. Not surprisingly, I gladly dove into the love story/court room drama/family tragedy of My Sister's Keeper. This was before it was a blockbuster, and I loved the book told in more than one perspective. I had borrowed it from a co-worker who was actively collecting Jodi Picoult books (we found out Picoult had written 17), and soon, the girls in my row of cubicles rotated the novels until we had read all of our friend's collection. We used the questions in the back, and soon became our very own Pi-cult book club. I was obsessed. My husband, while boyfriend at the time, honestly thought that the characters in Nineteen Minutes (my favorite) were from a documentary I had been watching and refused to believe they were fictional.
I can swallow one of her novels in hours.
I did, however notice a theme of infidelity I was not fond of. Going to her website, I saw that you could email the author directly with a promise that she would always respond. I sent her the following:

Mrs. Picoult,

I have never written a letter to anyone famous before, but I am a huge fan of your books. I have never read all of the books from one author before (I'm working on Jane Austen, I promise), but I have read all but the most recent of yours. As a sociology major, I appreciate your ability to make people look at a situation from several different perspectives.
In reading all of your novels, I have noticed a theme of infidelity. It seems, that when things get hard in the marriages/lives of your characters, one of them has an affair. I understand that this does happen, but I also notice that there are very little consequences for those affairs. I appreciated Mercy, but still felt that the emotions that come from your spouse cheating on you were underplayed. Why does there seem to be little, if any, consequences for your adulterous characters? I would love a response as this is my only question as to the validity of your novels.

Thank you for your insightful additions to literature!
Carrie Chapman

And then- and I'm being serious: SHE WROTE ME BACK!

Carrie, I think my adulterous characters suffer greatly! And not all of my characters have affairs -- Mercy and Perfect Match are the two I can think of. Moreover - I'd argue that there's great consequence for the cheaters in those relationships - from Nina Frost's disbarment and the murder her husband is involved in to Cam's loss of Mia and then the renegotiation of his marriage to Allie, which will never be the same.

Thanks for writing!
Jodi Picoult

Okay, so I don't really agree with her response as I know for a fact that there is more than two novels where infidelity is present, but SHE WROTE ME BACK! I mean really! I got this email from a genius, discussing her genius! I will say that I just finished her most recent novel, and there was no infidelity (okay, so the husband separates from his wife and may have stumbled into an awkward kiss, but he pushed her away).

I am a very happy camper about this.

Today, March 2, 2010 marks the day that her newest novel, House Rules comes out. I have already read the excerpt online and can't wait to read it. Sadly, my pocketbook will have to as I no longer have a Sam's Club membership to buy it cheaper than 30 bucks. So if you're in Seattle the weekend of March 19th, do me a favor and pick me up a signed (!) copy of House Rules. I think it might become a new favorite of mine... but it will have to be pretty dang good to beat Nineteen Minutes.


  1. Nineteen minutes in my favorite, too! Have we already discussed that? I knew we were both Piccoult fans...but yes, Nineteen Minutes would be a hard one to beat. I'd say my least favorite was Keeping Faith...but I didn't even finish that one, it lost me halfway through.

  2. libraries are nice when you can't buy the book right away

  3. I have a library card, but the book has some 37 holds on it, and it hasn't even gotten here yet!

  4. Anonymous9:38 PM

    Hey I didnt know you liked Picoult! I do too! I am on my fourth book of hers. I am not a rigorous (sp) reader so I take a while to get through a book due to not making the time to read more. My favorite so far is Vanishing Acts. I did notice this trend of unfaithfullness as well and I am suprised she said it was only in those two books because it definatly is in more. In plain truth the girl cheats on her boyfriend and in vanishing acts there is cheating as well and there really is no recourse taken. Thats so cool that she wrote you back! Ive ready My Sisters Keeper, Plain Truth, Vanishing Acts, and I am reading Salem Falls. I have Perfect Match waiting on my bookshelf.

    Yep thats a long comment but I wanted to let you know I share the interest haha.


I like to hear all of the beautiful things you have to say.