Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Salem Falls

Salem Falls explores some of Jodi Picoult's favourite themes - there is a police officer or two, a single mother, a few lawyers, some children in trouble, and, of course, all is not what it seems, but I found it quite different from her usual stories. The main contrast is that it's the father-daughter relationship that's developed, rather than the mother-daughter/son. And there are a few layers, going back in time to also look into the main protagonist's relationship with his own mother - in a life that's completely different from his current existence.

The plot follows Jack St. Bride, a young teacher who went to prison for the statutory rape of one of his teenage pupils. Having served his prison term, he moves to a new town, hoping for anonymity and a new beginning. But things are never that simple. And a small town will be quick to find him guilty again, except for one woman, who loves him and believes in him.

It wasn't as much of a page turner as some of Picoult's other books, but it was compelling in a deeper way. One of those stories that makes you think about the basic principle of Western law that one is innocent until found guilty. And can what's right in truth and in law keep a mob of men who love their daughters from going on the war path for what they believe is right? Well, you'll have to read the book to find out!

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