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Friday, September 4, 2009

The Tenth Circle

Author Jodi Picoult mounts another expedition into the moral world of the American family. Daniel Stone is a work-at-home father who is a comic book artist and his wife Laura is an English professor at a local college specializing in Dante’s Inferno; their only child Trixie is a fourteen-year-old with a promising future. Then, Trixie’s world goes askew when she claims that she has been raped by her boyfriend. Daniel, as the parent closest to Trixie, doesn’t know how to bridge the sudden distance between them. Laura, who has secrets of her own, cannot handle the situation either.

The community turns against Trixie, favoring her ex-boyfriend, the local high school football hero, in the case. Trixie runs off to Alaska, where Daniel grew up as a white boy among the Eskimos. Here he acted out by cheating, stealing, and carrying out other delinquent activities in reaction to the teasing and bullying he received. Daniel ran away when he reached adulthood, vowing never to return and recreating himself as the modern father and mild-mannered man. When Daniel and Laura follow Trixie to Alaska, the situation comes to a boiling point and then reaches resolution, but not before some surprising events take place. The tenth circle in Dante’s Inferno is the worst area of Hell; the Stone family travels there and back in their quest for justice.

Comic book illustrations complement the storyline. This book is ideal for discussion.

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