Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult is the story of Katie, a young Amish girl, who awakes in the middle of the night, goes out to the barn, quietly gives birth to a baby boy and then falls asleep. When she awakes the baby is gone and her prayers are answered. She simply goes back to bed. The baby is found the next morning smothered and Katie finds herself being charged with murder, which in the Amish community who are known to be a peaceful, loving, and non-violent is unheard of.
Meanwhile, Ellie, a Philadelphia defense attorney, finds herself unhappy with her career and love relationship. She escapes to the quiet town of Paradise, Pennsylvania to visit her aunt to sort it all out. Her peace doesn’t last long as she finds herself not only defending Katie, but also acting as her guardian by living with her 24/7 on the family dairy farm.
Taking on this case is a challenge. Ellie finds herself defending a client who doesn’t want to be be defended. The Amish ways of justice are very different and Katie and Ellie have a rough go of it. Katie can’t remember what happened and whenever she does, it’s just incriminating. Ellie finds that preparing a court case on a dairy farm isn’t easy especially when she is without electricity, laptop or a phone.
Plain Truth is a love story, psychological drama, and courtroom suspense. This being the fourth Jodi Picoult book that I’ve read in the last year further solidifies my thoughts that Picoult has found a formula that obviously works well for her. I did feel as though everything that happened in Plain Truth has happened before. We have the troubled teenager, crime, courtroom drama, medical mystery, woman lawyer, her love interest. I felt any character could have easily been any character from another book. I did pick up on the twist ending, as there was one sentence about two thirds of the way through the book where I realized “whodunit.”
As a mother, Plain Truth wasn’t fun to read. We are talking about somebody who smothers a newborn. But I was engrossed and kept turning the pages for more. I was never at a loss for interest. I enjoyed exploring the Amish culture and the questions that she raised about forgiveness, peace, and justice. Everybody at my neighborhood book club did enjoy it a lot more than I did however. I think if I hadn’t read any of her other books I would have enjoyed it more. Does that make sense?
I still want to read My Sister’s Keeper, which I understand is a must read. And it sits here staring at me from my bookshelf right now. Other books I’ve reviewed are Nineteen Minutes, Change of Heart, and Tenth Circle. Jodi Picoult’s next book Handle With Care will be released on March 3rd. I hope to attend a book signing at Kings English Bookshop on March 25th to hear her give a reading. Visit Jodi Picoult’s website to see if she’s on tour near you.