27 Aug 2014

SALEM FALLS.

SALEM FALLS by JODI PICOULT.

SOURCE: Ex-library stock.

THE BOOK {According to the back cover}: Jack St. Bride was once a beloved teacher and soccer coach at a girls' private school - until a student's crush sparked a powder keg of accusation and robbed him of his career and reputation. 

 After a devastatingly public ordeal that left him with an eight-month jail sentence and no job, Jack resolves to pick up the pieces of his life. He takes a job washing dishes at Addie Peabody's diner in the quiet New England village of Salem Falls and slowly starts to form a relationship with her.

But a quartet of teenage girls harbours dark secrets - and they maliciously target Jack with a shattering allegation. Now, at the centre of a modern-day witch hunt Jack is forced  once again to proclaim his innocence: to a town searching for answers, to a justice system where truth becomes a slippery concept written in shades of grey, and to the woman who has come to love him.

FIRST SENTENCE {March, 2000. North Haverhill, New Hampshire}: Several miles into his journey, Jack St Bride decided to give up his former life.

MEMORABLE MOMENT {Page 465}: His hands cupped her face, tilted her forehead against his. 'I didn't think I would get to see you,' he confessed.
'I traded the deputy a chocolate cream pie,' Addie said. 'For five minutes.'

MY THOUGHTS: See the name of author Jodi Picoult and what comes to mind? If you are anything like me you think of emotionally charged books featuring a moral dilemma that on the minus side tend to be over long and formulaic.

Both a familiar read and yet quite different. Whilst Salem Falls does feature the usual child in distress, said child is not the main focus of the book - that honour goes to the man accused of her rape which leads us to the obligatory trial. 

Not nearly as thought provoking as I had expected, unlike her other novels I didn't find myself pondering over the rights and wrongs of it all ....at least not for very long. Nor did I think it as emotionally charged. It certainly didn't pull at my heart strings in the way that previous books had but then again I never really became attached to any of the characters. 

Highly disappointed. One of my main (and perhaps the biggest) problem with the book for me was how unbelievable I found it all. The main characters (Jack's) actions in particular so implausible that quite frankly I felt  that on occasion Ms Picoult insulted the intelligence of her readers by expecting us to believe them. 

And call me cynical but ..... I'm not at all sure how well the whole Wicca thing worked in this instance. OK so it fit in well with the history of the Salem witch trials but I can't help but wonder how much if it was the author merely jumping on the Supernatural bandwagon.

Not all bad though. I did think the court case was marginally interesting even if I did punch huge holes in both the prosecutors and defences cases. 


12 comments:

Kelly said...

I've yet to read anything by this author and I think, in part, it's due to what you said in your first paragraph.

I'm sorry this one fell so flat for you and I always appreciate that you can give a disappointing book a fair, honest review.

Lindsay said...

I've read a lot of her books over the years, it's several years since I read this one from memory, I think I quite liked it though it isn't my favourite one of hers. I do like her writing and the way she tackles issues and researches a lot, although I do see the similarities in structure and formula through some of her work. Thanks for the balanced, enjoyable and honest review Tracy.

Sherry Ellis said...

It sounds like this book was a little disappointing. I guess it's tough for writers to always produce compelling books.

Literary Feline said...

I am sorry you didn't like this one, Tracy. I read Salem Falls in May of 2006 and gave it my highest rating--so obviously, I loved it. I wish I could find my journal review of it, but I have a feeling it's one of the ones I lost when my other computer was stolen (I hadn't been good about backing things up--although I have later reviews, so I'm not sure?).

Suko said...

Tracy, I haven't read this novel, but am sorry that you were disappointed. Thanks for sharing your true thoughts about this book by Jodi Picoult. (You're welcome to add your link to my Jodi Picoult reading challenge, although it is long past.)

Yvonne@fiction-books said...

Hi Tracy,

I have read a couple of the early Jodi Picoult books, but that was long before I began blogging and keeping a written record of my reviews and to be honest, I can't even remember if I enjoyed them or not!

I was quite taken with the premise of 'Salem Falls', as it has been mentioned on quite a few blogs just recently. I am not saying that I will never read it now, however your honest review has made me think twice about rushing out to buy a copy!

I hope that your next book will be more to your liking.

Happy Reading!

Yvonne

Stephanie@Fairday's Blog said...

I have read quite a few of her books, but I haven't read this one. Most of them have been very thought-provoking (but there was one that I didn't like as much as the others and I can't remember the title). It is hard if you can't connect to the characters. Thanks for sharing.

Melliane said...

Ah yes it's difficult when the story isn't really realistic like that. It's too bad the idea was interesting.

Stephanie Faris said...

I liked My Sister's Keeper, but this doesn't really sound like my kind of book.

Brian Joseph said...

I think that a book like this must be believable to succeed. As you describe it this one was not.

Too bad this missed in so many ways for you because the plot sounds like it could have been intriguing.

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

Darn. Sounds like the whole supernatural thing was forced. I do think I'll pass on this book. Thanks for the review!

Naida said...

I haven't read Jodi Picoult yet, but I would like to. Sorry you didn't enjoy this one more.