Saturday Read: The Pact, by Jodi Picoult

I read “My Sister’s Keeper” in the summer and finished it off in about 4 hours. And, although I hate to admit it (I’m a book snob), I really, really enjoyed it. So, when I felt like a read that could really tug at my heartstrings, I knew I should head to the Picoult section of my local bookstore.

Yes, she gets her own section.

“The Pact” revolves around two families: the Hartes and the Golds. They have lived by each other for seventeen years and their children, Emily and Chris, have literally known each other since they were born. Both families live fairly normal, suburban lives until one night they both get a phone call at 3am saying that their child has been brought to the hospital after a shooting incident. When they arrive, they find that Chris Harte is doing alright, but Emily has been shot in the head.

Immediately they assume it was a drive-by, but their whole world is shaken when Chris confesses that Emily was shot because of a suicide pact made between the two. As Chris is charged with Emily’s murder, the two families are ripped apart, although both are grieving the loss of not only Emily, but also their friendship. Marriages and families are tested as Chris waits for nine long months in jail before his trial.

As with most of Picoult’s work, “The Pact” follows a basic formula: some sort of relationship (family, love, etc) is tested by a tragedy and then there is a subsequent legal battle. I know, it would seem that an author whose style can be broken down so simply would write terrible books, but that is definitely not the case. Besides this structure, Picoult’s books are all unique and equally entertaining and engaging. The legal side of the stories is a big part of why I enjoy them, so it’s also nice to know that this portion of the book is always consistent.

“The Pact” gets me emotionally. It’s another one of those “It’s not real” kind of books. I constantly have to assure myself that this story is not actually happening. You get very attached to Chris and his family, but also feel for the Golds as they grieve their daughter and come to realize that they didn’t really know her at all. Just like “My Sister’s Keeper,” “The Pact” is controversial. And whether you like it or not, you form an opinion and start rooting for either the defense or the prosecution. You are so engaged in the story that it’s hard not to think about it when you’re not reading the book.

If you’re looking for a nice, quick read with loads of substance, then “The Pact” is a good choice. (Perfect for that long plane ride to Spring Break paradise!) Filled with teary-eyed moments, it will definitely pull you in and get you thinking.

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