I picked this novel up because of a quote from it that I once found online. “You don’t love someone because they’re perfect, you love them in spite of the fact that they’re not.” I thought that it was the most brief but honest quote on love that I had ever heard. So, when I went to the bookstore the next day, I had to pick it up. I grabbed it without ever looking at the back cover, without knowing what I was delving into. And, I must say, it exceeded every expectation I had for it. This novel is beautiful and heartbreaking. It makes you feel emotions you never knew you could feel. It reduces you to a sobbing, laughing mess. It ruins you and completes you at the same time, and it’s brilliant.
One aspect of the novel that I couldn’t help but love was the diverse and equally relatable characters present. Jodi Picoult manages to beautifully write in the perspectives of five different people, a feat that I have never seen before now. Most of the time, when authors write in the perspective of more than one character, both of their voices end up sounding extremely similar until it’s hard to differentiate between them. However, I encountered no such problem while reading this book. Each character was brilliantly deconstructed, and I got to know each of them as individuals, not just part of a collectively larger story. From the quick-witted attorney to the hopefully depressed Anna, I felt a connection with everyone and managed to sympathize with each of their problems. Every person in that novel is going through something you’ve probably experienced in your life: depression, the need for attention, a less-than-satisfactory love life, and the overall desire to be normal. They are extremely relatable, and I couldn’t help but fall in love with all of them and the wonderful story they wove as the novel progressed.
The plot was also one of the most brilliantly executed storylines I have ever seen. It first makes sure that you are fully emotionally invested and then proceeds to navigate you through whirlpools of feelings and dizzying plot twists. And, although most of the time I can spot plot twists from a mile away, or at least suspect it and not be thrown completely off guard, I was clueless while reading this novel. I was shocked and surprised each time the storyline took a turn, no matter how slight, because the novel was so perfectly written that I couldn’t see what was coming up ahead. It is a roller-coaster of feelings and emotions, but it is well worth the ride.
I must warn you, though: this novel will make you cry. At first, I didn’t believe that it would. The book was sad and all, but I didn’t feel like I was going to shed tears over it. So, I went through the novel with a sort of indifferent depression, until the ending of course. Near the last few pages of the book, the realization and emotions hit me like a tsunami, and the tears began to flow. I couldn’t stop them, and soon I was curled into a ball on the floor, sobbing and choking and feeling like I was rotting on the inside. And, although those moments were unpleasant, it was also the most wonderful reading experience I have had in a long time. It was fantastic, and I think that everyone who loves reading should try this novel at least once to see how a truly good book should make you feel.
So, if you don’t own this novel already, I suggest dropping whatever you’re doing and sprinting to the nearest bookstore. I assure you, you won’t regret it.