Jodi Picoult has long been known for her in-depth family sagas that tug at the heart and make you question what you would do in situations similar to those her characters face. In Picoult’s newest novel, The Tenth Circle, the author does not disappoint. The story of fourteen-year-old Trixie Stone and her family, The Tenth Circle centers on the rape of Trixie by her ex-boyfriend and how it nearly destroys the entire Stone family.
Trixie’s father, Daniel Stone, is a comic book artist who is currently working on his first independent series. Her mother is a college professor who teaches Dante’s Inferno and has been cheating on her husband with one of her students. On the night Trixie is raped, Daniel rushes her to the emergency room and, when he can’t reach his wife, realizes she has not only been unfaithful to him but to the whole family.
As Trixie tries to recover from her rape, Daniel tries to recover from his wife’s betrayal and from the profound rage that has begun to overtake him since finding out his daughter has been violated. Their struggle to recover is complicated by most of the people in town not believing Trixie was really raped, townspeople who make her life hell. Will the Stone family be able to put their lives back together, or will one tragic event ruin all of them?
As she has proven in her previous novels, Jodi Picoult is not only adept at writing fast-moving plots that present complicated moral dilemmas, but she’s also an expert at creating believable characters that are multi-dimensional and easy to relate to. No one in The Tenth Circle is easily categorized as “good” or “bad,” making it a book that not only mirrors real life, but also forces us to question each character’s motivations and actions - and to question how we would react in the same situation.
Picoult’s novels are not only absorbing reads, but they are also moral puzzles. The Tenth Circle is a perfect example of Jodi Picoult doing what she does best, and it should be a pleasure to read for Picoult fans and for those who are just discovering this talented author.