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Second Glance by Jodi Picoult
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Second Glance (original 2003; edition 2004)

by Jodi Picoult

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2,369572,648 (3.68)41
Member:rainpebble
Title:Second Glance
Authors:Jodi Picoult
Info:Washington Square Press (2004), Paperback, 448 pages
Collections:Your library (inactive)
Rating:****
Tags:paranormal

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Second Glance by Jodi Picoult (2003)

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English (56)  German (1)  All languages (57)
Showing 1-5 of 56 (next | show all)
Originally Published On My Review Blog http://www.thebookavid.blogspot.com

In Jodi Picoult's "Second Glance", ghost hunter Ross Wakeman just wants to get in contact with his dead wife Aimee, but then stumbles accidently into a complicated family feud in a small town in Vermont.

I devoured this novel shockingly fast. I went in with the expectation to read a ghost story, but what it actually is could be rather paraphrased by paranormal thriller. It is very difficult to get into this novel, because Picoult introduces basically all characters after another, seemingly completely randomly. It's not until the end of the book that you're actually able to make the connection between the actions in the beginning and that's why I had tremendous problems to get the novel started. While I do love that Picoult obviously took her time to create diverse and non-clichéd characters, they are just too many.

There are at least ten main characters, another ten side characters and also about five random people that make an appearance once or twice. But once you get into the story, have understood who is who and memorized the backstories, it is impossible to stop. I finished it in roughly three or four hours of reading, and that is mainly due to her writing style. Picoult is able to put many, many characters into a single chapter and still connect the whole thing to that extent that you want to know what's going on. Her style is a bit peculiar but it definitely creates tension and is an easy read. An easy read while still using very eloquent language and having meaningful conversations though! (Writing 4/5)

Each of the main characters has a back story that connects to the plot, has also a family history, and at some point will meet the other characters. My head hurts! I had to go back a few pages sometimes because I forgot the names. She often even only mentions the characters by their last names, especially when somebody else is talking about them. You can't risk not paying attention for a single second up until the middle of the novel, because you're probably going to miss something. I also had difficulties with the shifts in point of view. While I do love my omniscient-narrator-perspective very dearly, Picoult is overdoing it.

At some point, every single character gets their own three or four paragraphs and to me, these aren't even relevant to the plot. Yeah, I get it, building diverse characters isn't easy, but this belongs in the rough draft and not in the novel. Another problem you're always facing when there are so many main characters is that your plot gets very predictable very easily. It is at no point difficult to guess who's related to whom and to solve the mysteries, and frankly I think she's just trying too hard to shock the reader. I mean, come on, giving us pages and pages of reflection and dialogue and having a reoccuring character that hasn't contributed ANYTHING of importance so far for the plotline, just makes you think that this person might be the one guy that's a bit sleazy, huh?

Aside from the fact that there are just too many people, I really have to give it to Picoult, she is an amazing character developer. Just after a few pages it got very easy to understand the mindsets of her characters and I rooted for Ross to finally be with Aimee so hard that it hurt. His fate in the end made me laugh though and I wish she had really went for the dramatic ending that was foreshadowed, but I'm not complaining. After all I loved, loved, loved the storyline of Grey Wolf and Cecilia and I wouldn't mind reading an entire novel about them. (Characters 4/5)

Picoult is able to make the flashbacks fit perfectly into the present happenings and I think I rarely saw an author pull flashbacks off this well. Kudos. The main storyline is a bit thin if you think about it and I am actually quite angry that I was mislead into thinking that this is a horror/ghost story novel. Well, there's certainly ghosts in it but it is by no means scary. It's a family drama. Bit of a thriller, but not so much either. A thing that bothered me and maybe correlates to the fact THAT THERE ARE TOO MANY DARN CHARACTERS is that you coudl basically leave out the last hundred pahges before the finale. Picoult tries to wrap up all the characters' storylines (Ugh, that annoying Shelby/Eli story, did anybody actually care about that, or?) by making every. single. character. react to the resolutions of the plot. I'm serious. She retells it probably three or four times and it just felt like she is praising herself for having pulled off such a smart ending. Uhm, no, stop it. When the plot gets resolved, the novel should end right there. The finale felt just like unnecessary, uncalled for drama. (Plot 2/5)

Overall: Do I Recommend?

I don't know, I wouldn't tell anyone specifically to read this because there are a lot of issues with this novel. It's not easy to get into it and when you're into it and get invested into the whole story, the ending is just lame and predictable. Although you can see that a lot of research and work went into writing this novel, from a reader's perspective I don't think that it is really worth reading. But now that I have read the novel and know all the signs that I have to look out for, I'm probably going to give it a second shot so I'll get all the lines of foreshadowing. Still, I wouldn't recommend reading this one explicitly.

Rating: ★★★★☆ ( )
  bookavid | Nov 26, 2014 |
Much like farmers manage their herds for superior stock, the population of Vermont was studied and charted and patterns emerged - patterns of families with undesirable traits, traits that caused them to be supported by the state in institutions such as prisons and 'homes for the feebleminded'. The plan was to sterilize these individuals so as to breed out the bad traits, mandated by the 1927 Sterilization Bill, leading to less state-supported individuals.

OMG! Did this really happen? Or is this just an author with an overactive imagination? A quick Google search confirmed it, the facts are there. Of course my next thought was - this sounds like Nazi Germany. More searching found that indeed Hitler used the United States' eugenics studies for his own master plan.

Back to the story - Second Glance has suspense and love and science and ghosts, a murder mystery, with some little-known history thrown in, albeit history that is better forgotten, but makes for a very interesting story.
  proofreeder | Sep 4, 2014 |
I loved this book! One of the best I have read by Jodi Picoult. Great ghost story! ( )
  Dmtcer | Jun 3, 2014 |
I loved this book! One of the best I have read by Jodi Picoult. Great ghost story! ( )
  Dmtcer | Jun 3, 2014 |
My favorite Jodi Picoult book! I love the ghost story aspect and the switching back and forth from past to present. ( )
  Emelymac | Jan 15, 2014 |
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Epigraph
What if you slept?
And what if in your sleep, you dreamed?
And what if in your dream, you went to heaven
and there plucked a strange and beautiful flower?
And what if, when you woke, you had the flower in your hand?
Ah! What then? - Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Dedication
For Sammy, who is both a reader and a writer. I love you to the moon and back. XOXO, Mom.
First words
Ross Wakeman succeeded the first time he killed himself, but not the second or the third.
Quotations
Love's not a because, it's a no matter what.
This is my land, and frankly I don't care if it's owned by retarded bald eagles in wheelchairs - I paid for it, fair and square.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0743454510, Paperback)

Ghosts and ghost hunters collide in this compelling tale of the paranormal set in Vermont's green mountains. When the patriarch of the Abenaki Indian tribe that was nearly eradicated by that state's eugenics project in the 1930s encounters Ross Wakeman, the miraculous survivor of several attempted suicides who wants nothing more than to be reunited with the woman he loved and lost, they set in motion a chain of events that will unravel an ancient murder and lead to a second chance at life and love for the victim's descendants. Picoult, author of Salem Falls, brings the past alive and peoples it with a cast of extraordinarily well-realized characters whose reach into the future touches the lives of a dying boy, a frightened girl, and their mothers--two women who've given up on love until the revenants stirred up by a plan to develop an ancient burial ground show them what they're missing. Second Glance is an intricate and suspenseful ghost story that enchants and illuminates all the way to its powerful conclusion. --Jane Adams

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:42:27 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

A man's attempt to sell part of his property and the resulting Abenaki Indian tribe's protest that the land is a sacred burial ground spurs an investigation by ghost hunter Ross Wakeman, whose search for the truth leads to an encounter with a beautiful and mysterious woman named Lia and the discovery of a long-hidden murder haunting a small Vermont town.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 9 descriptions

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