The Pact

The Pact

by Jodi Picoult

Parents and children alike have been best friends, so it's no surprise that in high school Chris and Emily's friendship blossoms into something more.

But a local detective has doubts about the suicide pact that Chris has described.

  • Language: English
  • Category: Fiction
  • Rating: 4.01
  • Pages: 512
  • Publish Date: August 29th 2006 by Avon
  • Isbn10: 0061150142
  • Isbn13: 9780061150142

What People Think about "The Pact"

To sum up, I wanted to tell the main character's girlfriend (I've forgotten all of their names, mercifully), to "get over yourself!!" I'm not giving anything away when I reveal that the "pact" of the title involves her asking her boyfriend to help her commit suicide. It almost frightens me to realize how little sympathy I have for someone who (it is later revealed) has a somewhat plausible explanation for her dark thoughts.

Why do so many people seem to love/adore Jodi Picoult novels? So just read the spoilers.) I hated the entire premise of the novel. Chris (the boy involved with the suicide pact) considers it to be true love as he releases his girlfriend Emily from her worldly cares and pain. Fair enough, Picoult did *attempt* to show us the repercussions of suicide with friends and family, but the strongest point of the novel was Chris describing (on trial) the death of Emily, his lover. Often there is some kind of abuse in one's childhood that inevitably leads to depression, self-blame, and sadly suicide. Throughout the entire second half of the novel, when Emily's slow ascent downward is being explained, I wanted to shake Chris until his teeth rattled. The biggest shocker of the story is that Chris wasn't suicidal at all, that he seemly went along with Emily's plan for some flimsy reason that doesn't hold up under examination.

This author is a master of making you believe in a story that makes exactly no sense and making you care about characters who behave like exceptional idiots*. PPS to English teachers--carefully note the blatant thievery of the foreshadowing scene in Of Mice and Men where Candy can't kill his dog. I'm an English teacher and ought to know to be more careful with my word choices.

"He kissed her so gently she wondered if she had imagined it." "To say there had been a loss was ludicrous; one lost a shoe or a set of keys. A hell." "He closed his eyes. How did he explain the way they could be in a locker room, or underwater, or in the piney woods..., but as long as she was with him, he was at home?" "He tried to pretend that he did not feel the weight of her grief, lying between them like a fitfull child, so solid that he could not reach past it to touch her." "She closed her eyes while he touched her with all the care in the world, and she started to heal." "Being a mother gives you a singular sort of vision, a prism through which you can see your child with many different faces all at once.

I felt it was worthy of three stars rather than two solely because I completely fell in love with the main character, Chris Harte. The basic plot of this book was two children, Chris Harte and Emily Gold, growing up together as neighbors and best friends. By the age of 17, Emily was dead and Chris was on trial for her murder due to an apparent suicide pact gone awry. The only true thing that kept me interested in this book was the fact that every other chapter told an account of the past, explaining the circumstances that lead us to this suicide pact (I was curious!). Most importantly, I felt that Chris and Emily were not a good couple.

It got to the point that I wondered if I read the same book as everyone else because I dont know how anyone could have read this book and not taken issue with a very glaring problem that happens many times throughout the story. The Pact starts off with a boy and a girl, who are later identified as Chris and Emily, talking. The first part is called The Boy Next Door and focuses on the aftermath of the event with flashbacks throughout related to Chris and Emily with an emphasis on Chris. The rest of the story after the very beginning follows the aftermath of Emilys death with Chriss arrest for murder and the lives of those left behind, like Chris and Emilys parents. While reading through the aftermath there are various points where Picoult takes the reader back in time starting when Chris and Emily were born, three months apart, and proceeds to tell their whole life story through flashbacks every 20 pages or so. A third of the way though the novel we get the second part called The Girl Next Door which still focuses on Chris but the flashbacks are more Emily oriented. My biggest problem with the book was the main character Chris. I would have much preferred a novel that delved into her character before the suicide pact and talked about her feelings more because the constant feelings centered on Chris drove me crazy. The second time it happened I almost burned my book down because I couldnt stop seeing red.

Melanie and Michael Gold and Gus and James Harte have been neighbors and friends from the time Melanie and Gus were pregnant with their first children. The kids, Emily Gold and Chris Harte, grew up together, became a couple, and are now high school seniors preparing for college. The book moves back and forth between the past and present, going all the way back to the time the Golds and Hartes first met as two young married couples. During the course of the story we see how each person in the Gold and Harte family deals with the tragedy, separately and together.

Throughout the whole book, I was thinking about what rating to give it, because there were parts that blew my mind and others that were just very slow, yet significant for the storyline. The ending was really unexpected for me.

How did three of my friends end up reviewing this book on the same day, especially when at least two of them didn't read it that recently? At the time, reading her can feel intellectually stimulating as her books raise interesting psychological questions. In "The Pact" in particular, reading other reviews (especially the one in "The New York Times") helped me formulate my thoughts. For example, the enmeshment of the two families, and its effect on Chris and Emily's relationship, was an interesting topic which had the potential to be dealt with more deeply. I wish Jodi had delved more deeply into Emily's character and made the road to suicidality more complex and therefore, believable.

She carried this pain for years and never told her parents, friends, teachers or even Chris, her soul mate. Emily was a talented artist, loved by her parents, Chris, her friends and teachers. The teenagers families were once so close and now Emily's mother becomes bitter and vindictive and her father looks for comfort from Chris' mother.