Normally I only read one book at a time. I like to throw myself totally into a book and read every last word before moving on. But about a week ago I started reading a Jodi Picoult novel called “The Storyteller”. Not far into it, the plot revealed itself to be a dark tale about a Nazi SS guard who’s been living in the United States for 70 years under an assumed name. Alongside the main story is another storyline, a horror story written by a Holocaust survivor about a monster in a small community that keeps killing.
Needing something to offset the heavy nature of “The Storyteller”, I also started reading a light-hearted book by Bill Bryson called “I’m A Stranger Here Myself”. The author had lived in Great Britain for 20 years, then returned to the United States. He was surprised at how much culture shock he experienced. A friend convinced him to write a humorous column for a British publication about the things in the U.S. that puzzled or amazed him.
So I went back and forth between the two books. But the farther into the Picoult book I got, the darker it seemed to get. Even though I alternated it with the Bryson book, I was having a hard time reading it. Not sure why, but this book just bothered me. I’ve read plenty of books, both fictional and true, with World War II as the setting, but there was just something about this book… My spirit did not like it.
So “The Storyteller” will remain unfinished for me.