Saturday, April 21, 2012
30B430 Book 16: Plain Truth
I have read a number of other books by Jodi Picoult, including House Rules, Vanishing Acts, The Tenth Circle, The Pact, and My Sister's Keeper. I appreciate her combination of legal drama with unique family situations, full of plot twists. I happened to pick up my sister's copy of Plain Truth while I was staying at home and added it to my To Read stack.
Plain Truth is one of Piccoult's earlier books, which she wrote back in 2000. Set in an Amish community just outside of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the story revolves around the mystery of a dead newborn, found in an Amish barn, born to Katie, a young Amish teenager. When Katie is accused of killing the baby, her lawyer, Ellie, is forced to live with her client's family throughout the course of the trial. Ellie struggles with living "plain" and the differences of two very different systems of law/punishment.
This was a very interesting book, especially since I know very little about Amish communities. One of the key pieces I took away was the difference in societal norms of "fitting in." In the "English" community (where we live), being unique and different is embraced. We are taught to be our own person. In Amish communities, individuals desire to fit in, to blend. There is no sense of individual identity, each person's identity is tied to the group. Most people probably know about the Amish because they don't use electricity and drive buggies, but that idea of blending in, of living in a closed community as a practice of their faith, is a defining piece.
Very interesting book.