Sunday, 19 December 2010

Book Review - The Pact by Jodi Picoult

Synopsis - The Hartes and Golds lived next door to each other for 18 years.  their lives have intertwined, it's no surprise that in high school Chris and Emily's friendship blossoms into something more.  When the midnight calls come from the hospital, no one is prepared: Emily is dead at 17 from a gunshot wound to the head, inflicted by Chris as an apparent suicide pact.  He tells the police the next bullet is meant for himself but the police have their doubts.  The Hartes and Golds face every parents worst nightmare and question: do we ever reaaly know our children?
Review - I have now read a few books by this author and there are similar themes running through them all.  I didn't enjoy this book as much as some of my previous reads.  I found it quite hard to empathise with the characters particularly Melanie Gold, the victim's Mother.  We learn at the beginning that she may be biased towards Aspergers.  She appears to have some communication problems on a normal social level but is quite comfortable in her work as a librarian where she can happily name and number individual books and their whereabouts on the stacks.  Her relationship with her husband is not particularly close and it is always he who initiates sex except when she tries to win him over to take the stand for the prosecution.  Her closest friend is Gus Harte, wife of the successful opthalmologist James.  However, again you are led to believe that Gus is the real dynamo in the relationship and the passive Melanie lets Gus whirlwing around her.  From this I gleaned that the relationship with Mother and daughter is not close and perhaps Melanie sees some of these shortcomings in her daughter which is why she is so ready to blame Chris for what happened and deny her daughters unhappiness.  Michael, Emily's father, a vet cannot see how Chris intended to hurt or kill his daughter and willingly takes the stand for his defence.  Melanie on the other hand due to her shortcomings can only see black and white, her daughter is dead, Chris is alive therefore he must have killed her.  Chris is scared and does not help himself by withholding the truth at the beginning but you can feel this in the portrayal of his character.  However, when the case goes to court he wants the truth to be known that he helped Emily die because that was what she wanted more than anything else.  Against the advice of his lawyer he does that and wins the case.  3*

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