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Teenage suicide is the provocative topic that Picoult plumbs, with mixed results, in her fifth novel. Popular high-school swimming star Chris Harte and talented artist Em Gold bonded as infants; their parents have been next-door neighbors and best friends for 18 years. When they fall in love, everyone is ecstatic. Everyone, it turns out, except for Em, who finds that sex with Chris feels almost incestuous. Her emotional turmoil, compounded by pregnancy, which she keeps secret, leads to depression, despair and a desire for suicide, and she insists that Chris prove his love by pulling the trigger. The gun is fired in the first paragraph, and so the book opens with a jolt of adrenaline. But Picoult stumbles in delineating both sets of parents' responses to the tragedy. Unconvincing behavior and dialogue inappropriate to the situation (plus, most importantly, the fact that the parents fail to discuss crucial topics) never touch the essence of bereavement and thus destroy credibility. Picoult redeems herself in flashbacks that reveal the two marital relationships and the personalities of both couples; and she sensitively explores the question of how well parents can ever know their children. After Chris is accused of murder and jailed, the narrative acquires impressive authenticity and suspense, with even the minor characters evoked with Picoult's keen eye for telling detail. The courtroom scenes (reminiscent of Picoult's 1996 novel, Mercy), are taut and well paced. Readers may remain unconvinced, however, that an intelligent young man like Chris would not have sought some help rather than respond to his lover's desperate request. Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club selections; foreign rights sold in Germany, France, Poland and Norway.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Picoult is a writer of high energy and conviction who has, in her fifth novel, brought to life a cast of subtly drawn characters caught up in a tragedy as timeless and resonant as those of the Greeks or Shakespeare. That is not to say that Picoult is anything but accessible; in fact, this psychologically shrewd tale is as suspenseful as any best-selling legal thriller. The Hartes and the Golds, professional folk living next door in an affluent New Hampshire town, are close friends, and their children, the Hartes' son, Chris, and Emily Gold, were born just weeks apart. Inseparable all through childhood, they slipped from the haven of intimate friendship into the tempestuous realm of love in high school, a transition their parents fully expected and welcomed. But Emily is secretly appalled by the incestuous nature of her relationship with Chris, and when she discovers that she is pregnant, she can imagine only one solution: suicide. Chris is with her when she dies and is consequently charged with her murder. As Picoult takes us through the nightmare that follows, examining each character's struggle with guilt and sorrow, she forges a finely honed, commanding, and cathartic drama. Donna Seaman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Editorial Reviews
I love Jodi Picoult's novels but she has some glaring errors in this book. There were two incidents that she talks about less than half-way through and she never touches on them... Read morePublished 4 days ago by Sherryl Simonsen
Chris Harte and Emily Gold were teens who had loved each other since childhood. When a tragic personal event makes Emily suicidal, she asks Chris to help her end her own life even... Read morePublished 5 days ago by Iris Durfee
I disliked the topic.....but I could not put it down. Having raised kids....I recalled how much I didn't know. Read morePublished 5 days ago by Amazon Customer
Good Book, clearly she does her research before writing about a subjectPublished 8 days ago by Annie