Monday 25 April 2016

Review Time! - Salem Falls by Jodi Picoult

Salem Falls Jodi PicoultTitle: Salem Falls

Author: Jodi Picoult

Genre: Contemporary, Crime*, Witches*, Magic Realism* (*ish)

Amazon: UK - USA

A few starting notes:

I figured of all Jodi Picoult novels, this was the one I'd be most likely to enjoy.

It has witch-y elements and secrets and atmosphere, and all that sort of stuff. Cool, huh?
So when I saw it in the library I figured I'd pick it up and give it a try.

And there is a lot to talk about here - buckle up guys!


Jack St Bride is a man looking for a fresh start and a town where no-one knows him. What he finds is Salem Falls.
Addie Peabody is the owner of Salem Falls' local diner. She's clinging onto a painful past when Jack St Bride walks in one day, looking for work...
Gillian Duncan and her coven are hiding what they are from their town and their families.
One night can change everything.
Salem Falls may be a small town, but it has a lot of secrets - what really happened in the woods that night?

Best bits:

I loved that this book had so many layers. It's one that really gives you a lot to think about. 
Even the title can be interpreted in as many metaphorical ways as you can shake an English teacher at. (Please don't shake your English teacher - they don't appreciate it.)
All the different aspects and themes going on in this novel make up an uber-intricate piece of fiction.
cherry blossomAnd it's good for books to make us think occasionally - to challenge our perceptions and ideas. Salem Falls certainly does that.
This is a book that is just full of feels. I mean it - the intensity is like: argh!
And every time you think we're headed somewhere something else happens!
You're like: dude, are you even serious right now?!?!?!

Jack's already dealing with the thing and the other thing and you're going to stick THIS on his plate as well?!

The writing is serviceable and draws you on... and by the end, you SO want to know what happens that you WILL finish this book!

I liked the atmosphere and all the intricacies, and the fact that nothing here is quite what it seems to be.

I also liked the references to Arthur Miller's The Crucible (UK - US) (note to self: want to read or find on audiobook,) and Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter (UK - US) (which I listened to on audiobook in the LA Theater Works version (UK - US,) and loved.)

Not so great bits:

It can't be avoided that the mean theme of this book is rape and sexual assault, mainly involving underage girls.
There is a lot about the subject in this book - and if it's an issue that affects or distresses you then I strongly advise that you do not read this book.

There's also some swearing and violence.
While you can tell that Picoult has made an effort to balance-up the portrayals of sexual assault, and its victims, in this book, I still felt like it didn't make clear enough that teenage girls are rarely the seducer in these cases, and that false allegations of rape are extremely rare.
Girls are also rarely quite as manipulative as I felt some of them came across here; some of this may even be seen as victim-blaming. I personally think it stops short of that, but others may not see it that way.
It did also get a little over-dramatic for my tastes (I could practically hear the Eastenders cliff-hanger music in places,) but it keeps your attention I suppose.

I didn't find the denouement (me and all my posh and fancy words ;P) to be all that convincing, given what happened before.

I can't really go into too much detail about that, given the spoilerific possibilities, but I just wasn't quite sold on the resolution here.

I hated Jack's mother - she was just so holier-than-thou but she didn't seem to give two sh**s about Jack.

Jack himself I have mixed feelings on - again, can't go into too much details due to spoilers, but one of his flashback scenes changed the way I looked at the character and how he treats women.

While the writing was largely fine, I occasionally got the feeling that the writer was mentally high-fiving herself for being so smart. Not often, true, but it annoyed me.


Not entirely sure how much I liked this one. I did like it, and I didn't like it: does that make sense?

Still, the amount of thought-provoking moments and happenings make this well worth the read.

And if you like books with lots of intensity, lots of stuff going on, and a deep level of atmosphere, then this is one for you.


  1. Magic realism as become quite popular now hasn't it? I haven't read any Jodi Picoult novels but I think this type would be the one I'd go for!

    1. This was written in about 2000 - so it's not exactly a 'now' thing, but yeah. This was the one I figured was the best fit for me. I might try more of hers in the future, I might not - haven't decided yet ;)

  2. Ooh this totally intrigues me! I've only read one Jodi Picoult book (House Rules!) which I loved! But I kind of didn't know she wrote magical stuff too?! And magical stuff is TOTALLY my thing. Eeep. It does seem like it has some super heavy themes, but I'm usually okay with that. Definitely would like to try this one someday. ;D
    Thanks for stopping by @ Paper Fury!

    1. It's kind of an *edge* of magic - hard to explain without giving stuff away. Mainly it's a contemporary - a pretty darn good one (although I did yell at it a lot!)

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting - comments make me happyful ;)


Comments? I love comments! Talk to me nerdlets!