Salem Falls review


“Salem Falls” is probably the last Jodi Picoult novel I plan on reading for a very long time. Of all three books that I have reviewed, I would have to give this one 2 out of 5 stars, and here is why.

First of all, I didn’t understand why she chose to switch back and forth by year. It was extremely difficult to follow, and so many of the flashbacks were unnecessary. Take the one back to 1969 when Jack was born as an example. That subplot had absolutely no bearing on the story. Picoult crammed too much into one story, and it made me wonder if the book was really worth finishing. I would recommend that readers skim the flashbacks, but pay close attention to story happening in Salem Falls, and prior to that when Jack was a teacher.

Secondly, teenage witches? It almost seemed as though she was inspired by an episode of “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” The topic of false accusations and rape made such a good story, I wish she had more realistic teenage characters so the story could be more logical.

On the plus side, I give Picoult 5 stars for effective research on DNA testing. It was obvious she knew what she was writing about, with all those tables and complicated scientific explanations during the court case. Also, Jack, Addie, Roy, Catherine, Jordan, and Selena were so three dimensional, and so perfectly described, the reader almost feels like they know the characters personally.

Final verdict: Salem Falls is worth a read if you are patient enough and like a good thriller.


My Sister’s Keeper review

Once again, I am a bit behind on the program, but I just finished reading “My Sister’s Keeper”. Similar to the last review I wrote on “Sing You Home”, I think it’s only fair to find the downside to this seemingly touching novel.

*Warning: this review contains spoilers. If you want to read the book or are currently doing so, do not continue reading. If you don’t care, then carry on.

Picoult addressed many important issues in this novel, such as family life, battling cancer, and being sued. There is no doubt that she researched oncology effectively, but how she rambled on and on using complex medical terms was ridiculous. At one point, I began to wonder if she even understood all that vocabulary herself. This is not the only unnecessary thing in this novel. Picoult added in so many characters, that made absolutely no difference to the story. Take Jesse, the brother as an example; he would have made a difference if his parents noticed him, but they didn’t! He was setting houses on fire, and they didn’t care as much as they should have. We know that Brian and Sara are pre-occupied with Kate’s illness, so please, give them one more child to ignore. Izzy, Julia’s sister, is another character who’s presence was completely irrelevant to the story. One would assume that she was only there to support Julia through her drama with Campbell, but their relationship drama should not deserve enough attention to add another character in for it.

Then to top it all off, she kills off Anna. If you read the interview at the end of the book, Picoult claims this was the only ending that made sense to the medical issue at hand. It might have made sense to her, but as a reader, I felt cheated. Anna went through all the trouble to sue her parents so she wouldn’t have to give her kidney to Kate, and in the end, Picoult kills her off and takes her kidney anyway. It would be disrespectful to force someone do a favor that major against their will when they are alive, but it is despicable to take something that they fought so hard to keep when they are dead. Honestly, between Picoult and Sara Fitzgerald (the mother), I’m not sure who’s a worse person.

While I thought that overall, “My Sister’s Keeper” was a heartwarming story, it could be cut in half and it would be exactly the same.

Toddlers and Tiaras and Disturbed People

I would have written on this topic sooner, but I didn’t have a blog back then. I initially wanted to put up pictures of all the girls, but felt that everyone can Google that themselves if they want to. I have a lot of strong opinions about Toddlers and Tiaras, so to all those moms out there who are entering their daughters in this pageant: don’t read this if you are not prepared to be criticized. Trust me, you will be offended.

Remember that adorable little girl who went on stage dressed in a costume from a certain movie? The girl’s mom defended herself in an article saying that it was supposed to be “comical” and that she did it because she loves Julia Roberts. Yes, Pretty Woman was a great movie, and Julia’s performance was capturing as always. So if you love Julia Roberts so much, don’t insult her by dressing your three year old up as her in a movie playing a prostitute, on international television.

Another sweet little girl’s mom gives her an energy drink that is half Mountain Dew and half Red Bull. Apparently the “pageant crack”, which are sticks of powdered sugar, did not give her daughter enough energy. I’m not sure how old the little girl is, but she is way too young to have that much caffeine in her body. Red Bull gave a grownup man a heart attack – it is terrifying to think what the effect would be on a toddler. It’s a fact that caffeine stunts your growth too, and this whole situation begs the question: does this mom want her daughter to be 3 feet tall all her life? Keep in mind that kids are cruel, and they will tease her for her height. Mom, will you being in the spotlight now really be worth your daughter’s misery in the future? I hope to God your answer is no.

These are just two extreme examples, but the bottom line still remains that this concept of televising little girls parading about in provocative clothing is disturbing. Watch clips of when the moms are getting their daughters ready for the performance, and re-think the word abuse. You will see the moms tugging at their daughters hair, while the girls scream because it hurts and they are tired. You will see the moms layering foundation, powder, bronzer, tanner, blush, and highlighters on their toddler’s face. Their skin is too delicate to handle that much makeup. I understand putting a little blush, and eyeshadow and lipstick on them, but not making your toddler wear more makeup than you would as an adult. People think that yelling at your child is abuse, but it’s not. This is abuse.

There are countless awareness programs out there to prevent sexual abuse against children, and yet, people are setting up their daughters as victims. Look at what happened to JonBenet Ramsey. She was involved in these pageants, and she was also raped before she was killed. Think about the type of people who watch this show. Like any other parent, these moms would naturally be upset if their daughter was sexually abused, or grew up thinking this behavior is normal. Unfortunately, these are only two of the many consequences of making your five year old look like a stripper.

Ethics: is it okay to have a father help his son and daughter in law have a baby? Yes, this is a real story

The title is pretty self explanatory, but there is this huge controversy in the UK about a father in law donating a sperm to his son and daughter in law to help them have a baby. One article about one family sparked interest in many people around the world, and they posted countless comments expressing their opinions and concerns.

The first question of course is about ethics. Now, what we have to keep in mind is that everybody’s ethics are different. Obviously to this couple, it is completely ethical to have a relative help them conceieve. I’m going to have to agree with the majority of the people though and say no, it is unethical and disturbing on so many levels. Why? Because if the parents choose to be honest with the child, he or she will grow up knowing that their grandfather is actually their dad, and their dad is actually their half brother. The poor child will be so confused and creeped out. Nobody deserves to grow up thinking this is normal! The alternative situation would be if the parents just didn’t tell the child anything, in which case they would be keeping a huge secret from this child. We all know that secrets have a way of coming out in the wash eventually; how will this child feel knowing that their parents have been lying to them?

Another couple in the Neatherlands pursued this way for conceiving, so it’s not like the case in the UK is the first one. There was even a grandmother who carried a baby for her daughter. So these cases are not unusual, but that does not mean that they are ethical. Science now has a ton of other ways for couples to have babies, so I understand when some ask why these couples cannot try these methods. Sure it’s a bit pricier and more of a hassle, but at least the child would have a normal life, and the parents will not have the burden of keeping this life changing secret.

Yeah…I think it’s unethical for sure..