The Pact by Jodi Picoult

Allen & Unwin. 451 pages.

+++WARNING: BIG FAT SPOILER AHEAD+++

This is only my second Jodi Picoult read (First being the famous My Sister’s Keeper). And already, I can see a structured pattern. She takes controversial family, domestic and society issues and somehow turns them ‘relatable’ by writing how ordinary (though fictiona)l families deal with it–in the form of her novels.

The main difference is, “My Sister’s Keeper” is at least very debatable, the opposing sides of which are both equally justifiable. “The Pact”, whose title by the way goes by a second line: “A love story”, has a plot and storyline that I can only sum up in one word: Stupid.  I don’t have any other euphemism for it, nor could I think of any other synonym or a more intelligent description.

The theme is very engaging–childhood sweethearts Emily Gold. 17 and Chris Harte,18 have been soulmates since they were born. Then one night, Emily was found dead with a single bullet shot to her head.

The book’s chapters alternate between the now–Court trials , Chris’ time in prison, and the famillies’ grieving, and then–memories of Chris and Emily from the moment they were born, and how they grew up together, how the relationship escalated.

Chris tells everybody that it was a botched up double suicide. (He was found unconcious and bleeding next to Emily’s body) but no one believes him.  The rest of the story unfolds showing Emily’s issues and unstableness (yet for me it wasnt in depth enough to understand why she became suicidal).

The story builds up in a way that you think there’d be a nice twist in the end (consolation to the depressing theme at least) but noooo..
At the very end of the book, after Picoult has taken you over repetitive lines, emotions and scenes, she presents a ‘revelation’ from Chris. I could have guessed that revelation myself (not even my best guess at that).

So he helped Emily kill herself because…. (now this reason I wouldn’t have guessed at all because it’s out of this world dumb)….he loves her so much, he would do anything for her.

When he could have had the BIGGEST chance to save her life–he helps her end it. Is that love?? That’s downright stupidity.

Just as she did in “My Sister’s Keeper”, Picoult again uses a character for ‘grief relief’. Unnecessarily  opening up minor characters’ personal lives ( Chris’ defense lawyer Jordan McAfee). There are some authors and books that use this kind of ‘relief’ very well. But with Picoult, it somehow comes out unessential and time-wasting.

“The Pact” is in Angus and Robertson’s Best 100 novels list.

And basing on reviews, this book is so well-loved.

Help me understand why.

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6 responses to “The Pact by Jodi Picoult

  1. I thought it sucked too and I don’t get why people love it so much.

  2. um… i’m sorry to hear that you guys didn’t like it..
    i absolutley loved it. i could never put it down.
    as for why emily became suicidal, a lot has to do with the past sexual encounter with “the creeper” janitor in the boys bathroom. With that sexual harrassment, she always felt dirty, worthless, impure etc… she begins to feel as if she is to blame for that incident from the past (as most raped/sexually harrassed girls feel).
    she also feels constant confusion of loving her best friend, Chris, because she still feels like she’s loving her brother. (imagine yourself falling madly in love with your brother.. isnt that weird??) she feels pressured when she begins to question whether or not she could handle a marriage full of love with him, if she still couldn’t stand making love to chris at the time. with so many things going on, she wishes she could end everything.

    as for why Chris allows her to kill herself (or much rather, did it for her)… i suggest you read those few chapters again… because i think you missed the intensity of his feelings.. yes. he loved her. a love so deep. so strong. that yes, he would do anything for her.. but ALSO.. a love that would cause HIM pain AS WELL AS FOR HER if she were to stay alive… she was most happiest when talking of death. she was miserable living her life. to give her happiness, he would have to kill her. he realizes that there’s no way she will be happy if he kept her alive. in a way, it was selfish of him to keep her alive just to make himself happy.
    killing her is wrong, yes… but you need to understand that she wouldn’t have wanted anything else.
    so he kills her.. not ONLY because he would do anything for her..
    but because she would never be happy (which would make HIM miserable too) if she stayed alive..
    her being in pain, caused him pain too.. (recall the childhood memory of when chris got hurt and so did emily)
    i hope this explains better.
    but overall, i think you should just think and read it a little more deeper into context.
    you’re missing out if you don’t intake the intesity of it all..

  3. i didnt think it was all that great.. not really my cup of tea ut i chose to do a book report on it beacuse my best friend LOVED it… so my book report is due in a week and i havnt got pasr page 150..
    help?

  4. Quit being a dumb bitch about it just because you didn’t understand it. Just because it went over your head doesn’t mean it was bad. The build up of all of the many different things causing Emily to feel pressured and stressed, along with molestation, caused her to be suicidal. She was also confused about her love for Chris. Yes, she loved him intimately, but she didn’t know if that was enough to cancel out the sibling love she felt for him. You’ve obviously never been truly in love to not understand why he wouldn’t want to help her achieve whatever she wanted in the world, even if it meant hurting him. He initially plans on trying to save her, and upon seeing that this won’t happen tells her he accepts what she’s doing, but can’t watch it and walks away. She needs him there to be able to do this though. He shows her his love for her by helping her do the one thing she desperately feels she needs, but cannot do without him. Grow up, learn to live and truly love, then read it again and pay closer attention to the emotion next time. Then keep your ignorant comments to yourself.

  5. it was an amazing story just finished reading it chris should have took hte gun away from her though my opinion its about life and death it was sweet he did it but he should of choose the right choice whic is not to kill her anyone that didnt like it has problems.

  6. I did like the book but questioned the premise of why she was so suicidal? The author needed to develope the evolution of their love changing from sibling love to romantic love. I think she did that a little for Chris but not enough for Emily to warrant her being suicidal about it. Also the incident with “the creeper” was just too swift for me to have had any eternal consquences obviously like the suicide.

    Liked the book but was confused.

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