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By Coury Osbourne
The Book Nerd
Every time I read a book, I’m desperate to talk about it with someone. Whether it is emotionally disturbing or terribly written, books stir in me the need for conversation (yes, I am a true book nerd).
Since it’s summer time, most people are looking for some light reading. As my students and friends can attest, I’m normally drawn to more serious, sad books, but let me share with you a jewel (that, more than likely, you probably already love): Jodi Picoult. She is an author whose works I can usually depend upon and whose style I enjoy.
In her books, she alternates each chapter with different characters’ points of view and almost always involve court proceedings - frequently with the same attorney. The only downfall of Picoult’s that I have found is that I cannot read several of her works back to back - they are almost too similar and begin to feel predictable. But after a little break, it is always a joy to return to one of hers.
Here are some of my favorites:
“Perfect Match” - this one is about a mother trying to figure out who sexually molested her son, who is now mute after the tragedy. It is mostly about the lengths a mother will go to in order to protect her son.
“The Pact” - this one is about two families struggling after losing their children to a suicide pact. Picoult gives the now deceased children’s perspectives, as well as the parents’, throughout the chapters.
“Keeping the Faith” - this one is about a nonreligious woman whose child suddenly claims that God is talking to her. This deals with a custody battle as well as a battle with the paparazzi once this child’s secret gets out. I found this one the least “sad” of her books, since the underlying drama isn’t a suicide pact or sexual harassment, but a child hearing the word of God.
“Salem Falls” - this one is about a teacher accused of sexually harassing a student, but the teacher swears he is innocent. It all takes place in Salem, Mass., the famous town known for its witchcraft, which comes into play in the novel (not in a Harry Potter/sci fi kinda way, but it relates).
One of her novels that actually disappointed me was “House Rules.” It is about a boy with autism, and honestly now I can’t remember why I didn’t enjoy it as much as the rest, but I remember ending it feeling a little let down.
Although most of her subjects are controversial and heavy, her books are enjoyable and easy to read.
Coury Osbourne is an AP English teacher at Marion County High School. She is also the (patient) wife of Jesse Osbourne, Sun editor.