Sage Singer suffers from a disfiguring scar across her face, so she hides from the world by working the night shift as a baker. In spite of Sage’s constant reclusive efforts, she befriends the saintly old Josef Weber at her weekly grief support group. The two hang out at the bakery, play chess in Josef’s home, and basically become the best of besties. This glorious friendship comes screeching to a halt when Josef asks Sage for a teensie favor – he is old and he wants to die. He feels that God is punishing him for past crimes by forcing him to live long past all of his loved ones. And what, you may ask, could such an innocent-looking man be guilty of? Stop reading here if you don’t want me to completely ruin this book for you.
Weber is a NAZI. Yeah, and it gets better. Sage’s grandmother is a CONCENTRATION CAMP SURVIVOR. Picoult unveils these revelations in such a way that really the capitalization is completely necessary. Whenever I read a Jodi Picoult book, I vow to myself that I will not fall into her evil little trap. This woman is one of the most formulaic writers I have ever encountered, but damn if she hasn’t mastered the hell out of that formula. I was shocked that sweet old Mr. Weber was an evil Nazi in his past life, and I admit that I should have seen something like this coming from a mile away. I have no idea why I love Jodi Picoult, but I do. The lady can tell a story, and that story always causes me to think about issues that I typically manage to avoid in day-to-day life. As has become standard with most Picoult novels, The Storyteller shifts narrative perspectives from chapter to chapter, providing varying views of the dilemmas at hand. Again, I feel like I should be tearing this tactic apart because she does it so often, but it works so well for her. I guess if it’s not broke, don’t fix it. Don’t fix anything, Jodi.