The discovery of a dead infant in an Amish barn shakes Lancaster County to its core. But the police investigation leads to a more shocking disclosure: circumstantial evidence suggests that eighteen-year-old Katie Fisher, an unmarried Amish woman believed to be the newborn’s mother, took the child’s life. When Ellie Hathaway, a disillusioned big-city attorney, comes to Paradise, Pennsylvania, to defend Katie, two cultures collide – and for the first time her high-profile career, Ellie faces a system of justice very different from her own. Delving deep inside the word of those who live “plain,” Ellie must find a way to reach Katie on her terms.
This was the first Jodi Picoult book I ever picked up, and the first one I put right back on the shelf. I remember buying it at the airport bookstore and abandoning it halfway through my flight. But now I have no idea why I abandoned it in the first place. The story delves into the life of the Amish, a group of people I’m particularly fascinated in. Picoult did a wonderful job of slowly introducing their beliefs into the novel rather than devoting an entire chapter to “everything you need to know about the Amish to understand my story.” And I thought her choice to confront neonatacide – the killing of an infant within the first twenty-four hours of life – with a backdrop of such peaceful people particularly interesting.
One of the things I really love about Picoult’s books is her research is so detailed that when you read her books, you feel like you had done the research yourself or that you’ve known this information all of your life. This book is no exception, especially considering Picoult lived with an Amish family in order to research for this book.
“We look alike. We pray alike. We live alike. But none of these things mean we all think alike.” (pg. 90)
Picoult hit’s a home run with Plain Truth. The character development was great, especially since the tension between the two main characters stayed believable throughout the entire novel. And pitting the Amish justice system against modern America’s system kept twisting and turning the plot because when your Amish, even if you didn’t do it, you confess anyway.
I know many people were shocked – and hated – the ending, but I think if you looked hard enough you would have seen it coming. I didn’t see it coming until it happened; I thought it was someone else. The book is about motherhood, so the ending is very logical when you think about it.
- Picoult, Jodi. Plain Truth. New York: Atria, 2004. Print. 405 pgs. ISBN: 9780743275019. Source: Purchased.