What do you do when evil lives next door? Can someone who's committed a truly heinous act ever atone for it with subsequent good behavior? Should you offer forgiveness to someone if you aren't the party who was wronged? And most of all - if Sage even considers his request - is it murder, or justice?
My Thoughts: I finished this book several days ago and I am still thinking about it. I thought I would never enjoy a Jodi Picoult book after reading My Sister's Keeper but this book really surprised me. It is actually the best book I have read so far this year.
The story is so incredibly well-written. The story flips between Sage and Josef in the present, Josef's time as an SS guard and Sage's grandmother's experiences in the Holocaust. Sage's grandmother, Minka, is an amazing character. Her story is the whole middle of the book; while Minka is telling her story there is no flipping to the present or another person's point of view, the sole focus is on her and the horrors she had to live through. Ms. Picoult must have done an extensive amount of research because Minka's narrative felt so real. It was so heartbreaking and yet so beautiful that you couldn't help but be touched by it.
Josef's story made me really question my feelings about this tough issue. Normally, I would have no sympathy for a character like Josef but because we are introduced to him as this sweet little old man, it was really hard for me to reconcile my feelings about him. I loved the old man version of Josef, but his younger self was so evil that I just didn't know how to feel about him.
There was a huge twist at the end; I kind of started to guess what was coming but it was still a huge shocker. It kind of changed how I thought about the entire story and Josef's character. I was also really surprised by how the story ended, I have very mixed feelings about it but it worked. I don't want to go into much detail about the end because it will give it away but it definitely left me with a lot to think about it. I know this review has kind of been a lot of rambling but there is so much in my head and I am not doing a very good job of putting it down in writing. Needless to say, this book was excellent, thought-provoking and a must read. 5 stars.