Friday, October 26, 2007

The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult

Title: The Tenth Circle
Author: Jodi Picoult
ISBN: 1741146933
Publisher: Allen & Unwin/2006
Pages: 385

This is my second Picoult. Not as good as The Sister's Keeper. It tends to be boring at some points. There are too many loose ends too. However, it has raised valid issues about teenagers, which every parent should know.

Trixie, a fourteen year old comes home one night and tells her father, Daniel Stone that her former boyfriend has raped her. Daniel is a cartoon artist who has always looked after his precious daughter by being a stay at home dad. When he hears that, he is filled with rage. First, he has to take her to the hospital for check up.

Daniel Stone has a past about which his family is unaware. He was the only white boy in a native Eskimo village and was ragged ruthlessly because he is so different. He escaped from there by stealing, drinking, robbing and cheating his way out sharpening his artistic talent. He wills himself to give up his rage and anger to become a docile, devoted husband and father. Fifteen years later, Daniel is a successful comic book artist. Laura, his wife teaches Dante’s Inferno at a local college. The analogy of the Inferno and the story are well depicted.

Now that his daughter has been date raped, his rage and anger returns full force. He is unable to cope with that sense of helplessness, which only a parent can feel. He feels guilt about not being able to protect her. His wife Laura too feels that she should have been home each night for her daughter.

What I found very disturbing after reading this book is that our teenagers are growing up very fast. At fourteen when they should be involved in studies and other sports activities, they are affected by broken relationships, drugs etc. Trixie even lies to her parents about her whereabouts. Her story does seem to have many loopholes as she herself does not really remember what happened to her. We see Trixie trying to commit suicide, and running away from home. We observe Daniel and Laura going into pieces.

Picoult tries to show us all the sides, all the perceptions. She makes us weigh the pros and cons without being judgemental. She makes us decide what is right and wrong. It might not be the best Picoult but it really covers a very relevant issue about date rape.

The graphics too go very well with the story as is the intention of the writer.