The Tenth Circle - Jodi Picoult

Released October 2006

Once again, the key reason I picked up a copy of Jodi Picoult's The Tenth Circle is because an area high school banned the book from its English class. This time, parents claimed the book was violent, there was graphic rape and bullying. And again, I still feel parents are being overprotective because like it or not, rape does happen, bullying happens and kids see far more violence on the nightly news or in a newspaper than they'll "see" in this book.

In The Tenth Circle, Trixie Stone is heartbroken over the break up of her and her jock boyfriend, Jason. Jason is the classic all-American with a bright future. He's the town's hockey star and idol of many. One night, Trixie is at a friend's house where a plan is in store for Trixie to make Jason jealous and win him back. The night ends with Trixie saying she's been raped by Jason.

Trixie's dad, Daniel, will do anything to protect his only child. When she tells him Jason raped her, he feels the wind knocked out of him. He's never felt such intense hatred and rage for another. But Daniel knows that Trixie needs him now more than ever. Neither Trixie nor Daniel's wife Laura know of Daniel's past. They don't know why he fled Alaska and that weighs heavily on his mind now that he's facing another tragic event.

What follows is the story of the Stone's life after the rape. Trixie tries to return to school while the case builds, but the treatment from not only fellow students but also teachers makes it impossible for Trixie to go on with her life. Adding layers of complication is the prosecution's announcement that they don't have much of a case and Jason is likely to get away with it.

The Tenth Circle made me cry. I definitely needed Kleenex handy. It certainly didn't help that I have a 14-year-old daughter and kept imagining what I would do if she came to me stating her boyfriend had raped her. It would take every ounce of self-control to not castrate him. Therefore, I found it all to easy to related to Laura and Daniel as they tried to keep things as normal as possible for Trixie.

There are a few surprises thrown in. What is very interesting is the tie-in to the classic Dante's Inferno and snippets of a related graphic novel that Daniel is writing. The graphic novel adds essential breaks to the very gripping, very emotional story.


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