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Megan HarlanPicoult suggests the subtle ways in which parents can place dangerous pressures on their children.
— The New York Times Book Review
So when midnight calls from the hospital come in, ...
So when midnight calls from the hospital come in, no one is ready for the appalling truth: Emily is dead at seventeen from a gunshot wound to the head. There's a single unspent bullet in the gun that Chris took from his father's cabinet - a bullet that Chris tells police he intended for himself. But a local detective has doubts about the suicide pact that Chris has described. As its chapters unfold, alternating between an idyllic past and an unthinkable present, "The Pact" paints an indelible portrait of families in anguish... culminating in an astonishingly suspenseful courtroom drama as Chris finds himself on trial for murder.
There was nothing left to say.
He covered her body with his, and as she put her arms around him she could picture him in all his incarnations: age five, and still blond; age eleven, sprouting; age thirteen, with the hands of a man. The moon rolled, sloe-eyed in the night sky; and she breathed in the scent of his skin. "I love you," she said.
He kissed her so gently she wondered if she had imagined it. She pulled back slightly, to look into his eyes.
And then there was a shot.
Although there had never been a standing reservation made, the rear corner table of the Happy Family Chinese restaurant was always saved on Friday nights for the Hartes and the Golds, who had been coming there for as long as anyone could remember. Years ago, they had brought the children, littering the crowded nook with high chairs and diaper bags until it was nearly impossible for the waiters to maneuver the steaming platters of food onto the table. Now, it was just the four of them, blustering in one by one at six o'clock and gravitating close as if, together, they exerted some kind of magnetic pull.
James Harte had been first to arrive. He'd been operating that afternoon and had finished surprisingly early. He picked up the chopsticks in front of him, slipped them from their paper packet, and cradled them between his fingers like surgical instruments.
"Hi," Melanie Gold said, suddenly across from him. "I guess I'm early."
"No," James answered. "Everyone else is late."
"Really?" She shrugged out of her coat and balled itup beside her. "I was hoping I was early. I don't think I've ever been early."
"You know," James said, considering, "I don't think you ever have."
They were linked by the one thing they had in common—Augusta Harte—but Gus had not yet arrived. So they sat in the companionable awkwardness caused by knowing extremely private things about each other that had never been directly confided, but rather blurted by Gus Harte to her husband in bed or to Melanie over a cup of coffee. James cleared his throat and flipped the chopsticks around his fingers with dexterity. "What do you think?" he asked, smiling at Melanie. "Should I give it all up? Become a drummer?"
Melanie flushed, as she always did when she was put on the spot. After years of sitting with a reference desk wrapped around her waist like a hoop skirt, concrete answers came easily to her; nonchalance didn't. If James had asked, "What is the current population of Addis Ababa?" or "Can you tell me the actual chemicals in a photographic fixing bath?" she'd never have blushed, because the answers would never have offended him. But this drummer question? What exactly was he looking for?
"You'd hate it," Melanie said, trying to sound flippant. "You'd have to grow your hair long and get a nipple ring or something like that."
"Do I want to know why you're talking about nipple rings?" Michael Gold said, approaching the table. He leaned down and touched his wife's shoulder, which passed for an embrace after so many years of marriage.
"Don't get your hopes up," Melanie said. "James wants one, not me."
Michael laughed. "I think that's automatic grounds for losing your board certification."
"Why?" James frowned. "Remember that Nobel laureate we met on the cruise to Alaska last summer? He had a hoop through his eyebrow."
"Exactly," Michael said. "You don't have to have board certification to create a poem entirely out of curse words." He shook out his napkin and settled it in his lap. "Where's Gus?"
James checked his watch. He lived by it; Gus didn't wear one at all. It drove him crazy. "I think she was taking Kate to a friend's for a sleepover."
"Did you order yet?" Michael asked.
"Gus orders," James said, an excuse. Gus was usually there first, and as in all other things, Gus was the one who kept the meal running smoothly.
As if her husband had invoked her, Augusta Harte rushed through the door of the Chinese restaurant. "God, I'm late," she said, unbuttoning her coat with one hand. "You cannot imagine the day I've had." The other three leaned forward, expecting one of her infamous stories, but instead Gus waved over a waiter. "The usual," she said, smiling brightly.
The usual? Melanie, Michael, and James looked at each other. Was it that easy?
Gus was a professional waiter, not the kind who carried food to tables, but the one who sacrificed time so that someone else would not have to. Busy New Englanders solicited her business, Other People's Time, when they didn't want to wait in line at the Motor Vehicles Division, or sit around all day for the cable TV repairman. She began to tame her curly red hair. "First," she said, an elastic band clamped between her teeth, "I spent the morning at the Motor Vehicles Division, which is awful under the best of circumstances." She bravely attempted a ponytail, something like leashing a current of electricity, and glanced up. "So I'm the next one in line—you know, just in front of that little window—and the clerk, swear to God, has a heart attack. Just dies on the floor of the registry."
"That is awful," Melanie breathed.
"Mmm. Especially because they closed the line down, and I had to start from scratch."
"More billable hours," Michael said.
"Not in this case," Gus said. "I'd already scheduled a two o'clock appointment at Exeter."
"Yeah. With a Mr. J. Foxhill. He turned out to be a third-former with a lot of extra cash who needed someone to sit in detention for him by proxy."
James laughed. "That's ingenuity."
"Needless to say, it wasn't acceptable to the headmaster, who wasted my time with a lecture about adult responsibility even after I told him I didn't know any . . . "The Pact
Topics for Discussion
I had read this in my Freshman honors english class. At first i thought it would be just another boring book we had to read for school but as soon as i read the first page i was drawn in and could not put it down. I finished the book in one day even though my deadline to read was not for two weeks. I came in to school the next day and found that most of the class had finished it in one day as well and others were nearly finished as well. There was not a single person in the class of 26 who did not love the book. It made me laugh and cry, even a few of the guys in the class admitted to crying. It was a powerful story and i reccomend it to everyone.
76 out of 80 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
After reading Nineteen Minutes, I picked up the Pact. I wanted an enthralling book, and that is what I got with the Pact. It did not offer the same thrill ride I got with Nineteen minutes, but instead took a deep look into a non-traditional and even twisted relationship between two teenagers. The main characters, Chris and Emily, grew up side by side, becoming inseperable, almost like twins. But when their relationship evolves into something more, it abruptly ends with an apparent suicide pact that leaves one of them dead and one of them alive. Teenage relationships, depression, and suicide are all dissected with the fervor and grace that I've come to love from Jodi Picoult. <BR/><BR/>This book explores the darker side of love: What is love, and is it too much for some people to handle? What happens when such apparently deep love ends in death? And when it goes wrong, is there a way out? <BR/><BR/>I found this book intriguing and disturbing all at once, and asked myself these very questions. And although the book came to a satisfying conclusion, I still don't know if I have any answers.
43 out of 49 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 4, 2009
I found that the characters were not very real - it was like the author had to spend a lot of time trying to convince us that people really have close relationships like these two sets of parents did. I'm sorry, but I don't know many parents who would be okay with their teenage kids having sex just because they were destined for one another. I just didn't buy it. The book was well written and vaguely interesting but in the end I had to force myself to finish it - more like a chore than a treat.
21 out of 53 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 17, 2009
THIS BOOK IMPACTED ME FOR DAYS AFTERWARDS. YOU THINK YOU REALLY KNOW YOUR CHILDREN. THIS IS ONE BOOK I COULDN'T PUT DOWN UNTIL IT WAS FINISHED, NOT JUST FOR ITS STORYLINE BUT FOR INFORMATION I DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT THE LEGAL SYSTEM. WITHOUT GIVING ANYTHING AWAY, I THINK EVERY PARENT, ESP. WITH TEENS SHOULD READ IT. IF PARENTS HAVE AN ENVELOPING RELATIONSHIP ALREADY WITH THEIR CHILDREN, THEN CEMENT IT BY READING THIS BOOK. I HAD ASKED MY SONS, WHO ARE IN THEIR EARLY TWENTIES, IF THEY KNEW ABOUT STUFF LIKE THIS IN HIGH SCHOOL. THE ANSWER WAS "YES". I CRIED AFTERWARDS AND THEN THANKED GOD THAT MY CHILDREN TALK TO ME ESP. WHEN A PROBLEM ARISES. THE POINT IS THEY NEED TO TALK TO ANYONE.
17 out of 21 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Although the subject matter is pretty sensitive and I did not agree with all of the book's premise, I could not put it down. I cried. I laughed. This book is a favorite of mine. Jodi is an author that I find compelling, controversial, in that her subject matter touches on highly controversial topics. Her character development is the best. This book really touched my heart. I loved the idea how the author made the story about two kids who grew up together and from the day Emily was born they were placed in the same bassinet up to when they turned teenagers they were inseparable. These two kids have a rare relationship, a bond. Well worth the read!
15 out of 18 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 17, 2009
Like most of Jodi Picoult's book, The Pact hits a sometimes sensitive, rare, and intense subject. Suicide can be a touchy subject and most people and/or authors steer clear of the subject. Thats what makes The Pact so interseting, it goes through the pain and problems of suicide. The book is a tragic love story. It starts off with two families that are unsepratable, their children, Chris and Emily soon follow their parents example and become best friends and become unsepratable. Once the two kids become older they start dating and fall in love. Chris and Emily get into a lot of trouble when they are young and when one dare goes to far it will scar Emily for life. For the next couple of years Emily starts collecting a few dark secrets that she keeps from Chris and her family. With one secret so drak it will mentally kill Chris and her family. With these secrets Emily slowly starts resisting Chris. And once Emily supposibly commits suicide, Chris is the first suspect for murder. When Chris goes to jail and then trial the once so close families are now the worse of enemies. This book really shows the extent and reality of suicdes in high school. I learned a lot from this book but I did not like how sometimes the book was to intense or in other words hardcore. It talks about life in jail, sexual assault, teen pregnacy, drinking, sex, hate, and suicide. Sometimes in the book it is just to much. Overall I liked the book and enjoyed reading it. The Pact is a tragic love story that hits the hard topics that some or most authors would not. Even though the book gets kind of intesne and heated at certain parts, I would still recommend this book.
9 out of 13 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 15, 2009
The Pact is a sad tell tale. It holds a thin line of the words trapped and inescapable. Between what you have grown up with and what has been given to you. Chris and Emily have been best friends since they were toddlers. But what do you do when the one you love the most, wants to leave. What do you do when your best friend asks you to do the evitable? How do you tell your family, parent's best friend, and your best friend that you want to get out? How do you escape a kind of life that you have been thurst into without a say in what you want anymore? This suspenseful, love story will make your heart shatter at the tragic ways of life. It will make you ache and cry until you learn the truth of letting go.
9 out of 11 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Ms. Picoult demonstrates a solid grasp of her subject matter as her characters struggle with the notion of Emily's suicide versus Chris being her murderer. THE PACT: A LOVE STORY is thought provoking, albeit painful at times. The Hartes and the Golds live next to each other, eat together, gather in each others homes and go on vacation together. Somewhere along the way, and much to the parents happiness, Chris and Emily end up dating each other. Soon after, as witnessed in Emily's thoughts and journals, it becomes apparent that she herself is not happy with this; that something in her life and heart is troubled beyond even Chris's presence. The mystery surrounding the night of her death continues for the whole length of the novel, and every turn is shrouded in secrets, lies, and ultimately, the truth. I've always liked reading the thoughts of the different characters. This was different because it went back and forth through time instead of bouncing between characters. The subject - teen suicide (or was it?) was also intriguing. I started it yesterday and finished today. The ending was a surprise, one I know I'll be thinking about for a while. Since its fiction, I'll never really know how true it might be. Good recommended read.
8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 21, 2009
Jodi does it again and again. I feel like I am involved in the story as she pulls you in. I get little sleep when I read her books as I can not put them down!
6 out of 9 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 12, 2012
The Pact is my favorite book, ever! I really enjoyed this book, and the thinking process I had to go through while reading it!
Chris Harte and Emily Gold started dating around the age of thirteen and had been ever since. The two teenagers were thrown into each other’s lives since birth, and soon Emily started having thought’s of suicide. Now, Emily is found with a gunshot wound to the head, and all of the evidence steers toward Chris Harte, her boyfriend, being the killer. The Pact is a very complex type of book. This, in my case, is good. I love books that make me think. There were a few times that I had to set down the book and really think about what I had just read. Also, the book has lots of layers. The story goes into a lot of detail of the relationship between Emily and Chris from childhood to present day. Sometimes it can be confusing to figure out what happened in the past, and what is the present or reality. This book is very depressing, but then again, it revolves a lot on death and suicide. Even though this book is sad and depressing, this is a really great read. The characters seem so real, and so do their emotions. The book keeps you on the edge of your seat, and your always going to wonder what is going to happen next.
If you like a very in-detail, romantic type of book, this one is for you!
5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 10, 2009
"The Pact," a love story by Jodi Picoult is honestly one of the best love stories I have ever read, just all the passion and inspiration by the two young teenagers in this book is just absolutely amazing. They're just any ordinary high school sweethearts, only Emily isn't quite as happy as she seems and has a plan to kill herself. Emily and Chris were going to do it together, only Emily goes first, and Chris passes out, and things start to turn around when the police start questioning Chris, and the real truth comes out about everything. The story is just so compelling and makes you want to read it forever, and the end is something you really aren't expecting.
Chris Harte is the victim in the story, he's the one who has lost his one true love, his best friend, his neighbor, everything, and he's put in jail for a year before the conviction and final court sentencing is held. His life is turned upside down within a week, but he makes it through. He is a very truthful, trustworthy person, and if he was a person in real life that I wish him to find the best person he can in life as a soul mate.
Emily Gold, honestly has a heart of gold and was the sweetest person in the world. She was absolutely positively in love with Chris Harte and told him everything, except for the biggest possible thing to happen, a baby. She was pregnant when she died. She wanted nothing but the best in the world for everyone and people to be happy around her as well.
Michael Gold was Emily's father, a proud one at that and had an extremely close relationship with Emily. He was the one who turned around the entire jury and made a speech about Chris Harte for the good and make those in the court know how great of a person he was. He was having marriage problems with his wife after the death of Emily, and he would have lunches with Gus (Chris' mother) on a weekly basis. He was an amazing father, husband, friend, and veterinarian.
Jordan says, "It's not that. It's that I'm more than twice as old as Chris Harte, and I've been married, and I've still never felt that way. Gut feeling-do I think he killed that girl? Yeah, I do. Technically, anyway. But Jesus, Selena. I'm jealous of him. I can't imagine loving someone so much you'd do anything they asked. Even if that happened to be murder."
This is just an amazing quote to me, because it really shows how much Emily and Chris did love each other. It's such a blessing to find someone in your life to love and to be loved by someone that close to you. It is truly the most precious thing in the entire world. I mean, personally I've been in a longtime relationship with my boyfriend of two years, and I love him to death, but I would never be able to kill him no matter what or what he asked me or anything. That is just way too much, and especially after reading this book, I would never even think about doing it.
I agree with a lot in the book, I don't think that Chris was guilty either, his heart and himself never wanted to kill Emily. It was the pressure of her and him loving her so much that made it happen in my opinion. There weren't any errors that were extremely prominent in the book that I noticed myself. I didn't analyze the book while I was reading, I was enjoying it. I love the idea of this true love though, I think its truly amazing. The only thing that I have to compare with this is just that I have a boyfriend honestly, and that is really it. Its such an amazing and inspiring book, and I hope
5 out of 16 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 23, 2012
This book was quite a read. It focused on a touchy subject that many people don't often like to discuss let alone accept in their own lives. I love Jodi's novels, albeit the fact they are all rather similar, there's always a lawyer and some kind of family angst. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy reading her books, because she executes them ever so beautifully. I love that fact actually, that all her books have those things in common, and yet they are all quite different from one another, and she manages to keep her ideas new, and thriving while staying true to what she knows how to write best.
The Pact is a very sad story, and if you're a sensitive gal like me, be prepared for a few tears to fall. Chris and Emily were a believable couple to me as far as any fiction story goes, the closeness of their families were also really great. Some people might not believe it, but there are indeed some two unrelated families that are close like that. Before I spoil the book, all there is left to say is that I really loved this book and it's story line, I almost wish it had an alternate ending, or maybe a sequel. But hey, some things are better left for the imagination.
Happy Reading everyone! :)
3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 19, 2012
I had heard good things about this author so I decided to give it a try. First of all, I don't understand why the author is so uncreative that she needs to use so much profanity. A truely creative person can find ways to express herself without having to use profanity. Second, please don't use graphic sexual descriptions just to fill pages. They had almost no relation to the storyline as a whole. Totally unnecessary.
All that aside, the book was trite, wordy and lacked depth. This is the first and last book I will be reading from this author.
3 out of 8 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 28, 2009
I Also Recommend:
I can't say enough about this book. I read it YEARS ago and still remember almost every detail. It is captivating, romantic, hearbreaking and beautiful. I love this book. I am also a law and order fan, I feel to fully appreciate this book you must love a little mystery and be a romantic at heart. I have read many of Jodi's books and have liked them, but none compare to The Pact.
3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 7, 2009
It is easy to connect with the characters since many of their actions as teenagers we have all done at some point in our lives. The switches between "now" and "then" threw me off at times while reading. I found that I enjoyed the "now" sections better than the "then" sections because I liked the mystery of it and the nuts and bolts of the trail and pretrial events. The love story reminded me too much of Romeo and Juliet, the two lovers falling in love and then Juliet aka Emily, kills herself and Romeo does the same after she does, similar to what Chris wanted to do with their suicide pact. Waiting to find out if Chris killed her or if she killed herself was the most frustrating part of the book. I found myself wanting to skip the entire thing and flip to the very last page to reveal the ending.
3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 21, 2012
I have come to expect the unexpected when reading Picoult. This book started out great (fantastic I might say), the middle was boring, and the end was a total let down! I thought about not even finishing it at one point but I was to excited for that Picolut twist at the end. So with that in mind I hung on (waiting to be wow'd and speechless at the end). Without spoiling this for others – I will just say I had this one figured out from the start (I just really really expected to be wrong and I wasn’t – disappointing)!
2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 14, 2011
This was an ok read. It was more predictable than the author may have intended. The characters felt 75% developed. It must be hard to churn out book after book and keep the content full and believable.
2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 24, 2011
I think this book is terrible. It is 1. Totally unrealistic 2. Dirty, not romantic 3. Exploiting suicide 4. Poorly written (flat characters, awkward word choice, predictable, redundant, and trashy). I can see why some MAY be entertainrd, but do not understand how anyone can claim this is thought-provoking, powerful, or deserving of any literary merit.
2 out of 11 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 16, 2010
Jodi Picoult steals the reader's attention in a heart wrentching and breath taking thrill about a love so pure between people so young. I totally emersed myself into the pages reading about Chris Harte's devistating story, and each time I turned the page it left me wondering "what's next?"
Jodi Picoult's writing style flips from back then, to present day, and back again, until, at the climax of the book, the both reach the date in question. November 7, 1997. This is a must read book for anyone who enjoys court trials, thrillers, and a parent's worst nightmare. One of Jodi's best books!
2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 6, 2009
I read The Pact and I thought that it was a great book to read. I could not put it down. It reminds you of of innocent love, you know that first real relatuionship. I thought that the way it was interesting, how you go from past to present. I would recomend anyone to read this book, you will not regret getting it.
2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.