One of my go-to authors is Jodi Picoult.
She is likely most well known for her book turned movie, “My Sister’s Keeper.”
Her publications extend far beyond this, with over 20 titles to her name, and are well worth a read.
Each of her novels contributes to social discourse on difficult narratives and debates within America. Her topics range from kidnapping to domestic abuse to gay rights.
Picoult’s books, not shy from controversy, offer a well-developed and extensive perspective into the minds of all parties involved in these difficult issues.
Admittedly, Picoult’s books do tend to follow a similar formula for each.
However, despite many other serial publishers, her formula does not seem recycled with every new book released.
Each book covers multiple perspectives and different points of view are thoroughly explored.
This is more than a flashy literary style for Picoult, as she truly gives a voice to characters that most would struggle to empathize with.
For example, one of my favorite Picoult novels is “Nineteen Minutes.”
This book portrays a fictionalized school shooting, and gives each member a voice—including the shooter themself. Her ability to demonstrate different perspectives forces one to expand personal perceptions and develop open minds.
The novels also almost always end in unexpected, but relatively convincing ways.
Her stories are also extensively researched and very intelligent. Each covers a controversial social dilemma and often examines different cultures or time periods.
Her novel, “Plain Truth,” is set in an Amish community and “Second Glance” explores Native American rights in the contemporary United States.
One of her most recent publications, “The Storyteller,” focuses on capturing a former Nazi living on American soil to prosecute for crimes committed during the Holocaust.
These varying and highly emotive issues are not easy to confront and often spark discussion.
Many may not agree with her approach or findings, but I would guess that is probably okay with Picoult.
Her novels make it clear that issues are complex and perspectives are passionate and disparate.
What’s most important is to continue the conversation of these difficult issues and to not shy away from them because no easy solution exists.
If her portrayal is not one you agree with, or even if it is, talk to friends or family about it.
Many of her books include questions in the back to engage book clubs, but they also can apply to everyday inquiring minds.
Hopefully, you’ll find out more about yourself and how you fit into the complex conversations of society. If not, hopefully the story was at least an entertaining experience.
All in all, I would highly recommend picking up one of her novels this summer.
Investigate which story connects most with your personal interests and the novel will be a quick read.
Unlike many summertime reads, however, expect to be challenged and engage with the characters and plot lines.
If you have no idea where to start, my top three picks are: “Nineteen Minutes,” “The Pact,” and “The Storyteller.”