Chris Harte and Emily Gold have known each other since they were infants. Their parents have been next-door neighbors and the best of friends for 18 years. The parents have always had a secret hope that the children’s close friendship would eventually bloom into something more. When the two fall in love, both families are ecstatic.
When Emily’s life comes to a sudden end from a gunshot wound, Chris is arrested and both families are torn apart. Chris claims it was a suicide pact. Prosecutors call it murder. How could these two seemingly perfect families end up in such a devastating situation?
As the story continues, Picoult jumps from the perspective of Chris, Emily and the parents. We learn more about the teenagers’ relationship, and the parent’s somewhat blind view of their children.
Chris is completely in love with Emily. He can’t imagine spending his life with anyone except her. Emily’s love for Chris stops short of the same emotions he feels. She is secretly disgusted by her relationship with Chris. Having sex with Chris feels incestuous, but she can’t stand the thought of breaking his or her family’s hearts by ending the relationship. When she finds out she’s pregnant, her emotional turmoil turns into deep depression and despair. She sees only one way out of the situation - suicide.
Picoult has a good grasp of her character’s emotional state throughout “The Pact.” The parent’s reactions were not believable at first, but as the story jumped back and gave more history, we see the different dynamics in each family. As both families try to deal with their grief, the emotions and reactions became more believable and honest.
Picoult did an excellent job of taking us through each characters guilt and heartbreak. She has an incredible ability to make us feel the horror that each character is going through.
I’ve always enjoyed Picoult’s writing. I think she has a good understanding of her subject matter and her characters. Her writing is concise and uncomplicated. My problem with “The Pact,” and all of her books that I’ve read, are they are somewhat predictable. I usually know half way through how it’s all going to end up, so I’m left bored and flipping pages for the last bit of the book.
Most people, however, thoroughly enjoy Picoult’s books so my opinion of predictability shouldn’t discourage someone from picking up “The Pact.” Picoult’s books are engrossing, entertaining and thoughtful, even when the endings can be figured out.
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