Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Roxiticus Page Turner: Jodi Picoult's The Tenth Circle

Now my loyal Roxiticus Desperate Housewives readers all know what a sucker I am for an embarrassing page-turner. "The Tenth Circle" was my first Jodi Picoult novel, and it really got me hooked.

"The Tenth Circle" is a metaphorical journey through Dante's Inferno, told in the voices of each member of a small Maine family whose hidden demons haunt every aspect of their seemingly peaceful existence. While I've never been a huge comic book buff and would need the Comic Price Guide to help me to find the classic comics with true value, I was intrigued by the dramatic comic illustrations woven throughout the novel. Each image pays homage to the family's patriarch (comic book artist Daniel Stone) and adds a unique twist to this gripping tale of Dante's nine circles of hell....plus a new, tenth circle. The comics interspersed among the chapters neatly parallel the storyline.

In what I've come to learn is typical Jodi Picoult, "The Tenth Circle" preys on every parent's fear of what we don't know about our teenagers. Trixie Stone is an imaginative, perceptive 14-year-old. Her life begins to unravel when Jason Underhill, Bethel High's star hockey player, breaks up with her, leaving a void that she fills through shameful self-mutilations in the girls' bathroom and teenage sex party games like "Rainbow." Trixie's dad, Daniel, turns a blind eye to the changes in his daughter's demeanor, just as he does to the tawdry affair with a grad student that his wife Laura, a college professor, is barely trying to conceal.

When Trixie allegedly is raped at a friend's party, her parents are forced to deal not only with the consequences of their daughter's physical and emotional trauma, but with their own transgressions as well. For Daniel, that means reflecting on a childhood spent as the only white kid in a native Alaskan village, where isolation and loneliness turned him into a recluse, only to be born again after falling in love with his wife. Laura, who blames her family's unraveling on her selfish affair, must decide how to reconcile her personal desires with her loved ones' needs.

If you're getting ready for a summer of beach reading, Roxiticus Desperate Housewives highly recommends this one.

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Mariuca said...

Hi Roxy! Wow you are really on a roll with SS! And I see LJ is at ur blog today, she'll definitely bring some midnight magic your way! :)

rechargablez said...

Hi Roxy - I am definately going to get this one!