Thursday, October 20, 2022

Book Review: "Mad Honey" by Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan

In Jodi Picoult's latest book, a collaboration with Jennifer Finney Boylan, a mother has to confront the past she’s tried to leave behind in order to save her son.

“You tell yourself this wouldn’t happen in your hometown. You tell yourself this isn’t anyone you know. Until it does, and it is.”

To escape her abusive husband, Olivia moves back to her hometown in New Hampshire with her young son, Asher. She takes over her father’s beekeeping business and her son grows into a handsome, popular athlete. While she still has flashbacks of her husband’s abuse, she hopes her son has remained unscarred.

But one day Asher calls her from the police station. He found his girlfriend Lily dead and he is being questioned. She can’t believe he could ever harm anyone, especially Lily, whom he loved fiercely. Yet as the case against him unfolds, she wonders—and fears—whether some of his father’s temper and ability to project innocence and calm has rubbed off on him.

This story was a compelling one, told by Olivia moving forward (with flashbacks into the past) and Lily moving backward. In typical Picoult fashion, the book is full of detailed information about other things; in this book, it's beekeeping, honey and uses for honey, and much more.

There’s much more to this story that is better left for you to discover. It’s been a while since I’ve read one of Picoult’s books, and the addition of a co-author for the first time deepened the narrative. I really liked the book but I felt like there were a lot of details that were mentioned once but never picked up on again. And for a book that is nearly 500 pages, it moves fairly quickly.

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