Thursday, August 30, 2012

Plain Truth

Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult

Four years ago, I was dating a man who was from a little place called Mount Joy, Pennsylvania. As things got more serious, he took me to visit his family and we spent time in Lancaster and even saw a glimpse of Paradise, PA from a steam-engine tourist train. Rustic, quiet, seemingly lifeless little place with lots o' corn, Paradise is the backdrop to Plain Truth.

A brash female lawyer (is there any other kind?), named Ellie, comes to visit her aunt for a vacation of sorts. The aunt was once Amish but was shunned from the family for marrying an Englishman, however she still remained in some form of contact with her sister who lived just a few farms over. In a formulated coincidence by the author, an Amish teenager, Katie, has a baby and shortly after, the baby is found murdered. Smack in the middle of Ellie’s vacation, she becomes Katie's attorney and during a bail hearing, she has to promise to stay on Katie's parents' farm for the duration of the trail in order for Katie to post bail and return home. This was a little contrived but anyway...

The mystery/legal drama is well written and IS a page turner (I read it on Dramamine driving up to PA for a family visit with the guy I had dated four years ago – now he’s my husband). The relationship between Ellie and Katie is strained because Katie insists for half of the book that she didn't have a kid and then tells other lies that would have made me slap her repeatedly. There are a couple of side stories. One involves a ghost that has no purpose other than to be something that Katie can talk about with her "baby daddy". Then, there is Katie's brother, the collegiate Jacob, shunned from his family for going to college. And then,  Ellie has a little romance too with an old lover, who happens to be a clinical psychologist that is called in to work Katie's case. Coincidences run like crazy in this book. As do lies.

I liked this book despite some flaws, including a very quickly wrapped-up ending that left me with a load of questions or at least, a feeling of "That was it?". I also found that I wanted to learn more about the Amish since the author didn't really have time to flesh that out with what was going on with the murdered infant and all. Overall, I enjoyed this book and next time we head over to Pennsylvania, I'll be booking an Amish tour for us and secretly wondering if there is a pregnant teen hiding around the corner.

Book Rating: Oh!


Holly Mayer said...

Good review. This may be my next book after I finish The Hunger Games series which I an FINALLY reading.

Kate@Midnight Book Girl said...

I am not a huge Picoult fan, but I find the topics she writes about to be interesting. I just think she does tend to leave me emotionally distant and ends things a bit abruptly. But if I found this book laying around a bed and breakfast (and if I hadn't brought tons of books already, which lets face it is pretty unlikely) then I'd read this one. It's a little different then her other books I've read- 19 Minutes, Salem Falls and My Sister's Keeper.

An Amish tour sounds fun, and I'd be happy to take in a secret Amish baby. Maybe I need to put out flyers? ;)

Keith said...

We will go on an Amish tour. Last time I did that, it was 1969 or 1970 for a school trip. BTW, did the book say she married an Englishman? OR did it explain that, to the Amish, everyone who ISN'T Amish is considered "English", including the French.

Kimberly @ On the Wings of Books said...

This was the only Picoult book that I've read. I liked it, but not enough to rush out and buy a bunch of her other books. I found the Amish fascinating as well. I thought the ending was pretty predictable, but that doesn't really bother me.