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:
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!
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!
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.