The Tenth Circle - this book is part of the Jodi Picoult challenge I'm participating in.
When Daniel Stone was a child, he was the only white boy in a native Eskimo village where his mother taught, and he was teased mercilessly because he was different. He fought back, the baddest of the bad kids: stealing, drinking, robbing and cheating his way out of the Alaskan bush – where he honed his artistic talent, fell in love with a girl and got her pregnant. To become part of a family, he reinvented himself – jettisoning all that anger to become a docile, devoted husband and father. Fifteen years later, when we meet Daniel again, he is a comic book artist. His wife teaches Dante’s Inferno at a local college; his daughter, Trixie, is the light of his life – and a girl who only knows her father as the even-tempered, mild-mannered man he has been her whole life. Until, that is, she is date raped…and Daniel finds himself struggling, again, with a powerlessness and a rage that may not just swallow him whole, but destroy his family and his future.
I wasn't sure about this book when I first picked it up. Not because I wasn't sure it would be beautifully and intelligently written but because of the subject matter. I already had a preconceived notion of what my opinion and reaction would be.
The teaser on the front cover says: 'Your daughter says she was raped but the man she's accused was her boyfriend.'
Yet again Jodi Picoult has tackled the subject matter in a sensitive but controversial way - it's thought provoking. She takes a seemingly black and white subject and smudges at the edges until it becomes a shade of grey.
The relationship between Daniel and 14 year old Trixie is written in a way which is so relateable if you are or once were a teenage girl: Trixie needs to remain Daddy's little girl but at the same time needs to break away and experience life and claim her own independence.
For Daniel when Trixie comes home and tells him she was raped by the boy who broke her heart, his first instinct is to hunt down the boy and rip him apart. There's no doubt in his mind his little girl is telling the truth - until it's revealed Trixie isn't the virginal angel he wanted her to be but that doesn't mean she's lying, does it?
All through this book I couldn't decide what really happened. I was sure a sexual encounter had occured, I wasn't sure if it was consensual or if perhaps it was a drunken encounter Trixie wished to forget or even if Jason was really the boy who forced himself on Trixie. That's what is so intriguing and intricate about this book, Jodi Picoult takes the subject and examines it and portrays it from every aspect and angle and destroys every pre-conceived notion the reader has and forces the reader to re-examine their thoughts and opinions.
This book is darkly moving, gripping, compelling and tugs at the heart strings - not exactly a light, fluffy read but definitely unmissable.