Monday, December 15, 2008

PLAIN TRUTH by Jodi Picoult

Every once in a while I slip off the YA wagon and read a "grown-up" book. This time the call of Jodi Picoult was one I couldn't resist. I've read several of her books, and I'm glad to add PLAIN TRUTH to that list.

Katie Fisher, a young 18 year old Amish girl, and Ellie Hathaway, a hard-core defense attorney, find their lives joined together by the possibility of a terrible crime. Young Katie is unmarried and pregnant; not something one usually associates with an Amish girl. Having hidden her pregnancy, Katie goes into early labor and heads toward the family barn where she gives birth to a premature baby boy. The following morning the dead baby is found wrapped in a shirt and hidden under the hay.

Ellie Hathaway stumbles onto the case while visiting her aunt. A new case, especially this one, is not what she is looking for at the moment, but as a distant relative of the accused girl, she agrees to take the case. The circumstances of having an Amish client in what they refer to as an "English" courtroom requires bending some rules and sort of inventing some new ones. Ellie finds herself living with the Fisher family and getting a firsthand experience with Amish life.

In typical Picoult fashion, this novel unfolds quickly and provides readers with many twists and turns. She masterfully paints a picture of Amish life in contrast to the world as viewed by the American court system. I was fascinated by this different life I've only glimpsed when travelling through parts of southern Michigan and northern Indiana. Picoult offers heartwarming relationships and heartwrenching drama in PLAIN TRUTH. Although I review this as a "grown-up" book, it certainly has a place as a reading selection in any high school collection.

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