Her latest novel, Sing You Home, is full of evidence of an army of researchers. Following the now accepted Picoult formula of early novel - set up, last part of novel - court scene, Jodi has used a stunning array of facts, stats and stories to fully examine the issue - should gay married couples be able to adopt children?
At the author talk in 2008, Picoult was asked how she chose the issue for her next novel. She replied that she was a voracious reader of newspapers to keep abreast of the current hot topics. During her sleeping hours the idea for her new novel would form in her mind, and away she would go on a frenzy of research and writing.
Jodi Picoult doesn't need my review to sell her books (you can find over 2,000 reviews of Sing You Home on the net), but something's been bugging me:
How does an author know when enough is enough? I'm a great Picoult fan, but even I am getting a bit jaded with her 'winning' formula - hot topics, loads of research, courtroom scenes with more twists and turns than a medieval maze resulting in reader fatigue with all the stats, spats and what's zats??
As much as I enjoyed Sing You Home (I loved learning about what a music therapist actually does!) and I find her multiple POV style easy to follow, I got a bad case of legal fatigue during the last half of the book. Thorough research is necessary, but IMHO you don't have to show everything you learnt about a topic by being just so clever. Your reader knows if you know what you're talking about.
I've got to the stage where I know where's she's going and the last page reveal is, well, sure Jodi, you didn't fool me - I knew this is where you were taking me half a book ago, ha ha, whereas in Salem Falls you stunned me speechless with the reveal. I'm still reeling over that one! But I must say the pages and pages of discussion on the DNA chain complete with diagrams had my eyes rolling back in my head.
|Here's happy little me chatting with Jodi Picoult after an awesome lunch|
and author talk at Noosa Heads.