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Plain Truth: A Novel by [Picoult, Jodi]
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4.3 out of 5 stars 1,213 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Though it begins as the quietly electrifying story of an unmarried Amish teenager who gives birth to a baby she is accused of then smothering, Picoult's latest (after Keeping Faith) settles into an ordinary trial epic, albeit one centered intriguingly on an Amish dairy farm near Lancaster, Pa. Katie Fisher, 18, denies not only having committed the murder but even having borne the baby, whose body is found in the Fishers' calving pen, and she sticks to her story, even when she is quizzed by Ellie Hathaway, the high-powered Philadelphia attorney who undertakes Katie's defense as a favor to Leda, an aunt she and the young woman share. Ellie, who has retreated to Leda's farm in Paradise to reconsider her life--she successfully defends guilty clients--embarks on the case reluctantly: at 39, she wants nothing more than to have a child. However, to meet bail stipulations, she volunteers as Katie's guardian (since Kate's strict parents reject her) and moves in with the Fishers. Living with the Amish necessitates some adjustments for both parties, but Katie and Ellie become fast friends in spite of their differences. Very little action occurs beyond the initial setup, though the questions remain: Who was the father of Katie's child? And did she smother the newborn? Told from both third-person omniscient and first-person (Ellie's) vantages, the story rolls leisurely through the trial preparations, the results of which are repeated, tediously, in the courtroom. Perhaps the story's quietude is appropriate, given its magnificently painted backdrop and distinctive characters, but one can't help wishing that the spark igniting the book's opening pages had built into a full-fledged blaze. (May)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

YA-Philadelphia defense lawyer Ellie Hathaway retreats to her great Aunt Leda's home in Paradise, PA, to get a break from her high-pressure job. Almost at the same time that she arrives, a dead baby is discovered in the barn of an Amish farmer. A police investigation reveals that the mother is an 18-year-old unmarried Amish girl, Katie Fisher, and that the infant apparently did not die of natural causes. Even in the face of medical proof that she recently gave birth, Katie denies the murder charge. Ellie reluctantly agrees to defend her, even though she does not want to be defended. To better understand her client, Ellie moves into the farmhouse with the Fisher family where she begins to see firsthand the pressures and sacrifices of those who live "plain." As she searches for evidence in this case, she calls upon a friend from her past, Dr. John Cooper, a psychiatrist. As Coop and Ellie work together to unravel fact and fiction, they also work to resolve issues in their relationship. Readers will experience a psychological drama as well as a suspenseful courtroom trial. The contrast between the Amish culture and the "English" provides an interesting tension. This study of opposites details much information about a way of life based on faith, humility, duty, and hon-esty.
Carol Clark, formerly at Fairfax County Public Schools, VA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1821 KB
  • Print Length: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books; Reissue edition (May 1, 2000)
  • Publication Date: May 1, 2000
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000FC0STQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,428 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
My very first novel by Jodi Picoult has lived up to all the hype I've been hearing about for so many months. I don't know what's taken me so long to finally read one! Having closed the last page in Plain Truth just a few moments ago, my mind is now reeling from all that I've read this past week. I have a feeling this story will be with me for quite awhile.
Plain Truth tells the story of an 18-year-old Amish girl, Katie Fisher, who secretly gives birth to a child out of wedlock. Mysteriously the baby disappears and a few hours later is found dead in the barn located on the Fisher farm. After an initial investigation, Katie is charged with murder and a Philadelphia attorney, Ellie Hathaway, is set to defend her case. Adding to the fascination of this particular murder trial is the fact that Katie Fisher is Amish, and the Amish convictions are very different from others in the English world. The fact that an Amishman, who by nature does not believe in confrontation and violence, would kill another is entirely unheard of.
Plain Truth is a very intricate and richly detailed tapestry of Amish life and a court case that shocked the small town of East Paradise Township. Each page turned revealed a little more of the mystery and added to the bewilderment and beauty of the story. There is much to be said about this novel because it is so much more than just what is written on the back of the book. It is truly a three dimensional piece of work that kept me in awe and rapt attention until the surprising (and completely unalluded to) ending. A novel of true page-turner status that will reveal bits and pieces, layer by layer, until the very end.
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Format: Paperback
After reading five of her novels, I have become a fan of Jodi Picoult. I will admit (and this probably proves that I am a sucker for marketing rather than letting the literature speak for itself) that I've deliberately read all of her best sellers before reading the books that didn't make it on the list.

Initially I liked the book and it kept me reading, though maybe just out of habit. I enjoyed reading about the Amish way of life and the Amish traditions - though it did make me think of that Harrison Ford movie, Witness (circa 1989 or something). I like that she used one first person voice as well as the third person narrative in a well crafted and varied way.
I like that her main character has a powerful job that challenges gender stereotypes by being the morally questionable lawyer. That being said, she doesn't explore this as well as she could. We sort of forget that Ellie has blatantly suppressed evidence and watched as little girls saw their rapist acquitted. Rape, she can defend, but infanticide creates some problems for the notorious defense attorney.

Something about the book bothered me. Maybe I am reading too many of her books too fast but I am seeing a formula here.
- Many of her plots include a court room drama.
- All of her plots feature romance or end with the obvious potential for one.
- Mothers and their powerful (all encompassing, self-sacrificing) love for their children are a theme in all of her books I've read.
- There is usually a "twist" at the end. She's becoming Koontz like in her formulaic predictability and I stopped reading his novels as a teenager.

Most of her books left me content, like I'd eaten a good, hearty meal.
Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
I first became a fan of Jodi Piccoult after reading her amazing story, PICTURE PERFECT. With PLAIN TRUTH she joins the ranks of those on my "automatic buy" list. She is a talented, versatile writer and I hope to read her other books soon. PLAIN TRUTH is set in one of my favorite places, Pennsylvania's Lancaster county. Ms. Piccoult has detailed Amish life with great accuracy - something not all authors do this well, either depicting Amish stereotypes or giving the reader so much information it's like reading a textbook. The Amish characters are realistically portrayed, evoking both sympathy and envy for their way of life. PLAIN TRUTH has mystery, a wonderful romance between big-city attorney Ellie who moves in with the Fisher family to keep young Katie from having to go to jail and the former college beau who is now a psychiatrist hired to help her understand 18-year-old Amish woman, Katie Fisher, accused of giving birth to a baby and then murdering it. Complete with a surprise ending, this book is a compelling read which readers will find difficult to put down once started. Another winner from Jodi Piccoult!
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By A Customer on June 16, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Jodi Picoult's "Plain Truth" is a gem of a story. I had a great sense of enjoyment as I read it. Her characters seem real and believable and the plot is well crafted. Katie and Ellie, as well as all the other characters, were likable, and acted like we might all act under the circumstances. The relationship between Katie and Samuel was sweet and touching. Underneath it all runs the thread of a tragedy that has affected the entire Fisher family. There could not have been a better ending...grounded in reality instead of implausible heroics. I enjoyed the setting amid the Amish culture. Ms. Picoult obviously researched her topic thoroughly, to be able to give her readers such a detailed view of their world. I look forward to reading other books by the author. I am starting "Harvesting the Heart" very soon!
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