The Tenth Circle
I was in the third grade. My book report was due soon. I'd
left my book in my desk at school. I read the closest volume at hand,
one of my mother's and was able to turn it in on time, only to get it
back with a big red zero. The teacher claimed there was no such book
as Dante's Divine Comedy. I will probably always treasure fond
memories of this classic which helped me see that I had passed at
least one of my teachers in literary experience. I was delighted
no end when I discovered that in The Tenth Circle the very talented
Jodi Picoult combined Dante's literary masterpiece with a ripped out
of the headlines scenario.
Daniel Stone is the stay-at-home-father husband of Laura, a
college professor and top Dante scholar, and a comic book artist.
Even as he's climbing to the top of his profession, the rest of his
life seems to be falling apart. He has reason to believe that Laura
is having an affair. The daughter, Trixie, he has always been close
to is becoming an almost stranger. Then one day he learns one of the
worst things a parent can: his daughter was raped by the boy she loved.
Trixie can't stop loving her boyfriend, Jason, even after he
ditches her. Her best friend, Zephyr, thinks exclusive relationships
are passé; hooking up is the way to go. Still she comes up with a
very risky plan for Trixie to make Jason jealous and ready to return
to her. Everything that can go wrong does.
Laura has indeed been having an affair. "...Now, though, when
Laura realized what she had done, she wanted to blame a tumor,
temporary insanity, anything but her own selfishness. Now all she
wanted was damage control: to break it off, to slip back into the
seam of her family before they had a chance to realize how long she'd
Two things make The Tenth Circle stand head and shoulders over
other offerings in its genre. One is that it is told from a goodly
range of perspectives including those of the accused young man and
investigating officer. The segueing through them helps build both
suspense and authenticity. The other is the inclusion of Daniel's
comic book: a modern take to Dante's Divine Comedy with eerie
paralells to his family's ongoing drama.
On a personal note, Halloween could not have been more perfect weather
wise: mild without any precipitation. I celebrated big time. The
day before I attended a pizza party and the Veazie Community School
Halloween Hullabaloo with its really cool haunted house. The day
itself I helped with the Orono Public Library's Halloween Hullabaloo
and went trick or treating with a friend and her daughters while
Eugene handed out goodies at home.
A great big shout out goes out to all who worked on the Halloween
Hullabaloos. Also to my husband who, like every year, got much more
candy that we could possibly give out. :)
Julia Emily Hathaway
Sent from my iPod