Jodi Picoult is the kind of author I aspire to be - she has the ability to not only write believable characters, but to also pen novels that make you think. In each of her books, Picoult takes on a subject that could have been pulled from a newspaper headline, and infuses it with a breath of humanity. By the end of one of her novels, if you did not have an opinion on the subject before, you will. By reading her stories, taking that journey with her, you are not only reading - you are experiencing.
In 'The Tenth Circle', we meet The Stone family - Laura, Daniel, and daughter Trixie. As the story unfolds, the family unravels. Everyone has a secret, everyone has another facet to their personality. For Daniel, that aspect is his past, rising up to envelop him, until he is forced to admit that his docile personality since he married and became a father has been a smoke-screen, hiding who he really is, and always was. For Laura, she must confront decisions she has made, wrong turns she has taken, that have led her to where she is now. And for Trixie, the journey is the most difficult, as she struggles through what has to be one of the hardest things any female can deal with: rape.
The Stone family pulls together, leaning on one another to withstand the storms buffeting them. But this book is filled with strange turns, and an ending that will definitely take the reader by surprise. Interspersed between chapters are the pieces of a graphic novel, set in Hell, which parallels the emotional Hell the Stone family weathers.
I gave this book three stars, because while it was not Jodi Picoult's finest, it was still a novel that brought the subject of rape into the light, and still at heart, the story of a family, struggling to survive.