Happy fifth night of Chanukah all! Tonight I’m going to talk about Jodi Picoult, an American author known for her deep, heart-wrenching novels like My Sister’s Keeper as well as writing for DC Comics’ Wonder Woman.
Jodi Picoult grew up in a non-practicing Jewish family, married a Protestant, and is raising her children to keep an open mind and choose their own belief system when they are older. Nevertheless, religious belief plays a large role in many of her novels. Here are two that are infused with Jewish tradition. I have not read either of these yet, but they are definitely going on my reading list now.
The Storyteller is about a young baker named Sage Singer who strikes up a friendship with an elderly man, Josef Weber from her grief support group. One day, he asks her to kill him because he cannot live with the demons of his past. In his youth, he was a Nazi S.S. guard during the Holocaust. As the descendant o f a Holocaust survivor herself, Sage doesn’t know what to think. How can she reconcile this history of cruelty with the dear friend she thought she knew? Can she forgive him? Should she? And what should she do about his request? This book sounds like an interesting exploration of the themes of forgiveness and justice, and I intend to check it out.
Keeping Faith is about a little girl named Faith White, traumatized my her parents’ messy divorce, who begins to hear the voice of God, become surrounded by divine phenomena, and even perform miracles. This book is grounded in both Christian and Jewish tradition, though with Pioult’s own twists, such as Faith envisioning God as a woman. Picoult’s Jewish consultant for the book was a feminist lesbian Rabbi and I’m excited to see the bits of feminist thought in traditional Judaism that made their way into the book. (Source)
Have you read either of these works? What do you think of their Jewish content? Have you got any more Jewish authors to recommend? Let us know in the comments!