Plain Truth

Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult
(Summary taken from inside the book jacket) “The discovery of a dead infant shakes Lancaster County to its core. But the police investigation leads to a more shocking disclosure: Circumstantial evidence suggests that 18-year-old Katie Fisher, an unmarried Amish woman believed to be the mother, took the newborn’s life. When Ellie Hathaway, a big-city attorney, comes to Paradise, Pennsylvania, to defend Katie, two cultures collide–and for the first time in her career, Ellie faces a system of justice very different from her own. Delving deep inside the world of those who live “plain,” Ellie must find a way to reach Katie. And as she unravels a tangled murder case, Ellie also looks deep within–to confront  her own fears and desires when a man from her past reenters her life.”
I found this book very interesting. It is different from what I thought it would be, and it pulls at many different emotions. On the one hand, I believed what Katie said had happened, and on the other I didn’t. Haha. I just couldn’t decide. I liked the characters in the book, except for Katie’s father. I think Ms. Picoult did a good job of creating the characters and making you feel like you know them. I thought she did a good job developing the story and it did have a few twists that I didn’t expect. I did, in the end, figure out the mystery, but (I’m not going to give anything away here so this may be kind of vague) I couldn’t decide how I wanted to take it. I don’t think I can believe this person capable of murder, so I want to believe that what Ellie’s case showed was truly the case, but that this person was……ohhhh I guess I can’t say this without giving it away. Bummer. If you want to know, email me…. Anyway, I liked this book. It was a fairly easy read and it was entertaining and thoughtful. There was a little too much language in it for me, I think she used the “f” word at least once, maybe twice. She also took the Lord’s name in vain a couple of times. If that’s not okay with you then I would say don’t read it. I could have also done without some of the “physical intimacy” scenes. The whole plot revolves around premarital and unprotected relations, but there are only one or two times where it is described.
Rating: R (Remember, the R rating does not follow a movie’s R rating, it just means it is not appropriate for anyone younger than college). Language and physical intimacy.
Recommendation: College and up (The language mostly, but also the physical intimacy scenes, make this inappropriate for anyone younger than college. It’s sad because it could be used to show teenagers the consequences of their actions, but I think it is just too much.)

The Mermaid Chair

The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd
(Summary taken from the book jacket) “Inside the church of a Benedictine monastery on Egret Island, just off the coast of South Carolina, resides a beautiful and mysterious chair ornately carved with mermaids and dedicated to a saint who, legend claims, was a mermaid before her conversion. When Jessie is summoned home to the island to cope with her eccentric mother’s seemingly inexplicable act of violence, she is living a conventional life with her husband, Hugh, a life ‘molded to the smallest space possible.’ Jessie loves Hugh, but once there, she finds herself drawn to Brother Thomas, a monk who is soon to take his final vows. Amid a rich community of unforgettable island women and the exotic beauty of marshlands, tidal creeks, and mejestic egrets, Jessie grapples with the tension of desire and the struggle to deny it, with a freedom that feels overwhelmingly right and the immutable force of home and marriage.”
Oh, what to say about this book. After Secret Life of Bees I was very excited to read this book. Well, it was very different. If you step back and look at the over-all story, there are certain things that are similar in the books, but..wow. From  page 2 of this book you know the character is going to have an affair, and you know she is going to destroy her life. So after page 2 I was left wondering if I should even read it. I mean, if you read it are you being immoral for reading about a sordid love affair? You know there will be scenes of “physical intimacy.” You know that it is going to be a bad situation, and yet do you read it??? In one sense I didn’t want to read it because I didn’t know if it was morally right to read it. Then in the other sense I was so enthralled with the other aspects of the story, I wanted answers to my questions. And, I really wanted to see if this stupid lady would come to her senses and do the right thing. So did I read it??? Yes, I did. I am bad at stopping half-way. Was I glad I finished it??? Yes, I was. My questions were answered, and (I don’t want to give anything away) I was satisfied with the resolution. It ended up being a good book. It really made me think at the end. I don’t want to have the feelings she did in 10 more years, so I looked a lot at me, and what I can do to improve my really good marriage now, and also what can I do to help myself? This book shows a lot about human nature, love, forgiveness, mental illness, and friendship. It also shows how what happens to us in our childhood affects what happens in our adult lives. I do love her writing though. It really pulls you in.
Rating: R (Remember, this rating is not congruent with the movie ratings.) My R rating means that there is a lot of language and there is a lot of “physical intimacy.” The first intimacy scene is a little descriptive but from then on they just say they “made love.”
Recommendation: 18+, but really I would say you should be HAPPILY married, and strong in your relationship if you want to read this book. You should also have a good, strong set of morals and NO inclination to have an affair. I just say this because I had such a moral struggle to begin with, just because I knew the premise of the story. But, I think it ended up being a good thing in the end. So there you go…you have the info. so you can make your own choice.

Housekeeping

Housekeeping by: Marilynne Robinson This is not a fast read, but it is a very good human interest story. It is sad and depressing at times, but it really makes you think about your life and how you interact with other people. It is the story of a family. Two girls are left on their grandmother’s doorstep, by their mother. The story continues showing how the two girls react to the different women in the family taking care of them. Each girl reacts differently, and it is very interesting to see. I liked this story a lot and would definitely recommend it.

Rated: PG

Recommendation: High School and Up. I don’t think younger children would be interested.