June’s Book: The Pact

For the longest time I was apprehensive about reading a Jodi Picoult book.  I work in a bookstore and she’s a very popular author so I’m familiar with many of her titles.  I was sure they were probably good, but they all sound so depressing.  They just didn’t seem like anything that I wanted to read about.  However, I got a copy of one of her newer books for Christmas, so I figured I’d give it a try.  And I ended up being completely sucked in by Picoult’s writing.  When it got to be my turn to pick the next book club book, I decided to pick another of her novels.  I was interested to find out how my fellow book clubbers would react to her writing.  After much debate, I ended up choosing The Pact, one of Picoult’s most popular titles. 

 

The novel begins with the devastating moment that becomes the focus of the story- the moment when a boy and a girl kiss and then a shot is fired.  As the novel progresses, we are told the story of Emily Gold and Chris Harte.  They were born only a few months apart and lived next door to each other their entire lives.  As they grew up they were inseparable.  In fact they spent so much time together that they seemed to become two halves of the same person.  When their relationship seemed to evolve into romantic love no one was surprised, in fact, their families were thrilled.  That was until the moment that left Chris wounded and Emily dead from a gunshot wound.  Both families struggle to understand what happened as their worlds are completely destroyed.  And then they find out that the police believe that Chris murdered Emily. 

 

What is most compelling about Picoult’s writing is the way she lets the story unfold.  Rather than starting at the very beginning, when they are born, and telling the story chronologically until we reach Emily’s death and then the aftermath, Picoult goes back and forth between the present and the past.  As we see how each person reacts to unthinkable tragedy, we also see how their lives intertwined and what led each person to the moment that Emily died in what Chris claimed was a botched suicide pact.  It’s not until the last days of his trial that we finally learn exactly why Emily died that night.  Picoult keeps you in suspense and makes it impossible to put the book down until the very last word.  

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Published in: on July 3, 2008 at 9:53 am  Leave a Comment  

June’s Meal: Fondue

June’s meal represented a slight departure from our traditional routine.  My mother and I hosted the other members of the book club and two other mothers for a night of fondue fun.  The evening began when actonbell and her mother brought a simple but delicious salad with balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing to accompany it.  They also brought two bottles of wine to enhance the festivities.  We began with a crisp, playful Riesling and later moved on to a delightful Rosé.  After we finished the salad we moved on the fondue.  It was the first fondue experience for several of the participants, so we began with a quick lesson about always cooking the meat completely and being sure not to stab yourself.  There were three pots with three different choices for cooking the food- peanut oil, beef broth, and chicken broth.  There were three meat choices for dinner: beef, chicken, and shrimp.  The shrimp in particular was a hit as it took the least amount of time to cook.  There were also several vegetables to accompany the meat including broccoli, carrots, and my personal favorite, zucchini.  There were also a large variety of sauces to complement the meats such as cocktail sauce, plum sauce, sesame ginger sauce, and lemon pepper sauce to name just a few.  And while there was some confusion over which stick belonged to which person, and several lost vegetables, on the whole it was a satisfying meal.  However, the desert fondue stole the show.  My mother and I picked out a decadent dark chocolate fondue recipe that included cream and Kahlua.  Talesfromthebookshelf and her mother brought cut up strawberries and pineapples, maraschino cherries, marshmallows, and angel food cake to dip in the chocolate, which proved to be absolute heaven. 

Published in: on July 3, 2008 at 9:49 am  Leave a Comment