Monday, January 12, 2009

Salem Falls

Salem Falls by Jodi Picoult

In Salem Falls, Picoult takes on the issue of statutory rape aeasoning her narrative with modern-day witch-hunting (hence Salem Falls).

The novel opens with protagonist Jack McBride newly released from prison after serving an eight-month sentence. With no where to go - no life to return to - McBride arbitrarily settles in the small town of Salem Falls, where he hopes to eek out a quiet existence. Just when things are starting to come together for McBride, it becomes known that he's a registered sex offender. The townspeople are up-in-arms. He's threatened, the house he lives in is vandalized, and he's beaten-up by masked thugs. He's then arrested for allegedly raping a teenage girl who lives in the town at which point the story gains momentum.

Salem Falls was a bit predictable (I'd guessed at the final twist fairly early on, but I've also read a lot of Picoult and know how she works), but readable nonetheless. I think I may have to stop reading Picoult though. Her books are compelling, but her worldview is much too bleak.

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