The Tenth Circle
With The Tenth Circle, Jodi Picoult offers her most powerful chronicle yet as she explores the unbreakable bond between parent and child, and questions whether you can reinvent yourself in the course of a lifetime — or if your mistakes are carried forever.
Jodi Picoult has been a favorite author of mine since I was in high school. The very first book I read by her was Picture Perfect and I couldn’t wait to read more of her novels. Very few of Jodi Picoult’s stories haven’t captured me in some way. The Tenth Circle is probably one of the most poignant that I’ve read. As a parent, the book really made me question my morals and how far I’d be willing to go to protect my own children.
*May contain mild spoilers*
Trixie is the fourteen-year-old daughter of Daniel and Laura Stone. Laura is a college professor and Daniel writes comics for a living. He’s basically a stay-at-home dad and has a strong bond with Trixie. Daniel’s dealing with the fact that she’s getting older and pulling away from him more and more and he yearns for the bond they once had. This is something many parents fear, including me, as our children get older. Trixie’s boyfriend Jason has just broken up with her and she’s not taking it so well. Already, she’s cut herself and attempted suicide while her parents deal with their own issues and they don’t see it happening. Her friend Zephyr is having a party with a lot of other students invited, including Jason, and she’ll do whatever it takes to make him jealous to get him to pay attention to her. She wants him back and because of this, she lies to her father, telling him it’s just a sleepover, and puts herself into a dangerous situation. This isn’t a typical party, it’s basically a sex game party and Trixie is extremely vulnerable. This part of the book made me really cringe because she acted like an idiot and did things no fourteen-year-old should be doing. At this point you can really tell how mixed up she is. She heads home in the wee hours of the night and Daniel finds her in the bathroom. She’s on the floor, disheveled with makeup all over her face, and tells Daniel, “Daddy, he raped me.”
While Trixie is dealing with the social repercussions at school after accusing Jason of raping her, Daniel and Laura have their own problems to deal with. What took Laura so long to get to the hospital that night? Why didn’t she answer the phone at the office? Daniel is beside himself with what’s happened to Trixie and has his own secrets from the past. Not only that, many questions arise. Is Trixie telling the truth and was she really raped that night? Is Jason really the evil kid everyone is making him out to be? As with most of Jodi Picoult’s books, there are twists and turns throughout the narrative that leave you guessing the truth until the end.
A few of the aspects I loved in this book was that Dante’s Inferno is referenced throughout and the comics add a nice touch because all the characters go through hell in this story until the final end. I did enjoy this one as much as the first time I read it, but I believe I overlooked a few things when I read this over a decade ago. While Daniel and Trixie’s characters are very well developed, especially with visiting back to Daniel’s childhood including the Alaskan culture he was raised in, Laura and Seth’s characters aren’t very developed and the ending was so abrupt and sort of left uncertain. A few parts of the narrative are a little far fetched as well, but for the most part, it’s believable. Regardless, I’m so glad that I reread this because I couldn’t remember a lot of what happened and it felt really fresh to me. Up until now, I haven’t reread a lot of my books, but leave it to Jodi Picoult to inspire me to do just that!
- Paperback: 416 pages
- Publisher: Washington Square Press (October 24, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 074349671X
- ISBN-13: 978-0743496711