This book introduced me to multiple first person narrators. It also reminded me of how much value of good research is to a novel. Two particular concepts, Asperger’s Syndrome and Forensic Science, were featured in this story, and something tells me Jodi Picoult did a little reading to prepare. The details add such a richness to the story.
I thought she did a fantastic job getting into the mind of the family affected by Asperger’s. I found myself relating with the mom, sympathizing with the brother, and intrigued by the main character, Jacob. Stephen King said,
book buyers want a good story to take with them on the airplane, something that will first facinate them, then pull them in and keep them turning the pages. This happens, I think, when readers recognize the people in a book, their behaviors, their surroundings, and their talk. (On Writing p. 160)
This book did that for me. Her story is a great example of the opportunity writers have to introduce their readers to ideas and issues that are important. It’s also an example of the persuasive capacity inherent in a work of fiction.
Even though I understood the characters, and would totally expect it to come from them, I still struggle with the existence of crass language in books. If I were living the story, and one of the characters spoke the words around me, I wouldn’t be phased. There’s just something about reading them that makes me squirm.