Jodi Picoult delivers another heart wrenching story in “The Pact.” Picoult tells the story of two
young teenagers, Chris and Emily, who were raised at a young age to believe that they would be
together, forever. The young lovers’ relationship seems to be perfect, until the night that Emily is
found dead in Chris’s arms. Both families’ worlds are turned upside down when the investigation
of Emily’s murder goes viral and all of the evidence points to Chris as the murderer.
The story is told through Emily and her parents, Melanie and Michael Gold, and Chris and his
parents, Augustus and James Harte. The novel is split between the present and past. In between
present developments, there are flashbacks to when the Gold’s and Harte’s first met, Emily and
Chris’s early childhood, the beginning of Emily and Chris’s romantic relationship and the
months leading up to Emily’s death.
Through the flashbacks, the reader can see how Emily and Chris were raised together as if they
were siblings, but then were expected by their parents to develop a romantic relationship once
they got older. Chris truly loves Emily and plans to marry her, whereas Emily is secretly
confused about her feelings towards Chris and is also struggling with depression.
In the present day, Chris is held in prison to wait his trial, while the Gold’s and Harte’s
friendships are destroyed by Emily’s death and what it implies.
Picoult delivers another story that forces the reader to question the differences between what is
right and wrong. “The Pact” approaches the sensitive issue of depression and suicide, showing
the reader that it is not an easy subject to understand or control. The novel also touches on the
adult pressures placed on young children and what effects they have later. After reading this
thought-provoking novel, the reader is left with the idea that not everything is as it appears and
not everyone is who he or she pretends to be.
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