Sage Singer befriends an old man who’s particularly beloved in her community. Josef Weber is everyone’s favorite retired teacher and Little League coach. They strike up a friendship at the bakery where Sage works. One day he asks Sage for a favor: to kill him. Shocked, Sage refuses…and then he confesses his darkest secret – he deserves to die, because he was a Nazi SS guard. Complicating the matter? Sage’s grandmother is a Holocaust survivor.
What do you do when evil lives next door? Can someone who’s committed a truly heinous act ever atone for it with subsequent good behavior? Should you offer forgiveness to someone if you aren’t the party who was wronged? And most of all – if Sage even considers his request – is it murder, or justice?
My opinion: This book is the first I’ve read by Jodi Picoult, even though I’ve heard lots about her writing. I picked this one up as it was really cheap on the kindle and thought that the storyline sounded very intriguing!
Sage is a young woman who has ended up leading a nocturnal existence due to her lack of self confidence from scarring on her face and a number of other life events that have knocked her back. She is an incredible baker and works the night shift at a local bakery, preparing all of the goods for the next day. She meets and befriends an old man called Josef, a local pillar of society and all round good guy.
Only appearances can be deceiving. When Josef decides to open up to Sage about his military past in Germany during the Second World War, she uncovers who he really is and has to make a difficult decision about whether or not to grant his wish to die when he was the cause of so many others’ deaths.
I was hooked by this book and really liked the way it was written. Throughout the book we learnt the stories of Sage, Josef and Sage’s holocaust survivor grandmother. It is also interspersed with a fictional fairy tale with a different view point of the happenings in Jewish communities. World War Two is one of my favourite periods to read about and this book gave me a different window into what happened.
It was well paced and the writer dealt with a difficult subject very well. The characters were well rounded and Sage was particularly a great character. I have already recommended this book to a few people and will continue to do so. I also think this would make a great film and expect to see it hitting our cinemas over the next few years.
My rating: Five stars