Have you ever asked yourself what’s the difference between Hell and Heaven? This book makes you question the reality of both. The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult is inspired by Dante Alighieri’s poem The Divine Comedy. The Inferno is one of the episodes of the poem that talks about the 9th circles of hell. Those who ignore their faults on Earth and do not accept guilt in their soul eventually will belong to one of the circles of Hell.
“Dante believe God punished suicides by trapping the person’s spirit in a tree truck. On judgment day, they were the only sinners who didn’t get their souls back, because they tried to get rid of them once before” (211). The story of the book is based on Trixie Stone’s life. She is a suicidal teenager that accuses her ex-boyfriend Jason Underhill of raping her. Her father Daniel tries everything that he can to keep his family together, but in the blink of an eye he can see everything is in ruins.
The sweet innocence of his daughter Trixie is gone as well as his wife Laura’s loyalty to their marriage. “Mistakes are something that happen by accident. You don’t walk out of the door one morning and fall into some guy’s bed. You thought about it for a while. You made a choice” (129). Sometimes it is easy to live and believe a reality that is not true in order to be able to be happy, but that’s not reality and that’s just a temporary space comfort.
At the end, the author thinks that Dante forgot about a 10th circle and Jodi Picoult reflects this in a progression of each chapter and the unexpected twist and turns of the story. This a very deep book mixing reality, religion and beliefs with an interesting end recommended for book club readings! You can also watch the movie in Lifetime channel!