Vanessa V. Friedman
May 19, 2000 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Plain Truth

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Jodi Picoult
publisher
Pocket Books
genre
Fiction

We gave it an A-

It’s a risky proposition, choosing faith as your literary territory in these irony-friendly days: You open yourself to reactions ranging from eye-rolling to outright disdain. But Jodie Picoult makes it work. Her seventh novel, the Witness-meets-Agnes of God courtroom thriller Plain Truth, is nominally about the murder of a baby but really about belief. Deep in Pennsylvania, an 18-year-old Amish mother is charged in the death of her newborn. How does a lawyer defend someone whose religion teaches that agreeing to accusation is the fastest way to make it go away — and that, in any case, God will make it work out? Put another way, how do you deal with intense faith when you don’t have any faith of your own? Against all expectations Picoult avoids cliche and keeps the story both absorbing and affecting. A-

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