Jodi Picoult is a hack

A couple of years ago I had been encouraged by several people to read My Sister’s Keeper by (get ready for the hulk-like font!)

Jodi Picoult.

“It’s amazing!” one person actually said to me. “You’ll love it.” After reading it I suppose I could see why a certain type of reader would find it so riveting, but I found it annoying to the point of needing to pummel a punching bag. The ending apparently left these readers in tears, but I muttered, “You’ve got to be fucking kidding me.” until I finished the very last sentence, dry eyed all the way. I don’t need a happy ending to enjoy a novel. Just don’t fuck over your characters (and me..hello?) to create a little dramatic tone. And don’t write about hot-button topics and never truly take any sort of stand, hiding behind an army of narrators that do nothing but ruminate ‘til the cows come home. It was as if all of the characters spoke in riddles, and they sure as hell took their dear sweet time getting to the topic at hand. There was always some roundabout anecdote that in some way correlated to what was happening, but by the time I got to the middle of the book I was just DONE with the whole song and dance.

I’d say 80% of this book was filler. Skipping ahead is advised.

After reading Vanishing Acts, Change of Heart and The Pact (although I merely skimmed the latter two) I realized that Picoult does the same annoying shit every time. I know, I know… why did I read so many of her books when the first one bugged SO HARD? … I guess I kept expecting to be amazed or impressed.

Ah well.

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9 Comments

Filed under books/reading, Opinion

9 responses to “Jodi Picoult is a hack

  1. Ah, the joys of having discriminating taste.

  2. It’s not like the masses really want good literature. This is what they want! This is what they need!

  3. …too bad Jodi listens.

  4. meg

    i haven’t read anything by her and now I’m wondering if I really should. I just get so frustrated by for the masses writing…and yet I can’t…stop…reading…

  5. Solution: Just. Read. Good literature. For instance, if you’ve never read James Baldwin, you should really be reading all of his work before even considering settling for cat poop. Or Picoult.

  6. meg

    James Baldwin, check. But is he the last Baldwin brother that I haven’t heard about yet? Cause if he is then, well, I’m going to have to think twice about it.

  7. meg

    p.s. just ordered a collection of short stories from him on Amazon. i love a good collection of short stories, thanks for the tip dear Bethany.

  8. Did you get “Going to Meet The Man”? If so… enjoy the self-titled short at the end.

  9. While I was visiting my Aunt in London she recommended Sister’s Keeper to me with almost the same glowing praise you heard, and I had almost the same violently nauseated reaction that you did.

    Obviously a bad book in and of itself isn’t enough to get my blood boiling- there are plenty of those to go around. But it’s the manipulative nature of her storytelling style: the hot button topics set in a character drama, the “surprise” ending, the mysterious backstory of the lawyer with the disability dog intended to keep the reader engaged… it’s basically all the techniques of the hack writer lumped into one novel.

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