Customer Reviews


45 Reviews
5 star:
 (24)
4 star:
 (10)
3 star:
 (6)
2 star:
 (2)
1 star:
 (3)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Keeps you on your toes
This is a great book. The story grabbed me from the beginning, and I really enjoyed the way the author fleshes out each character. I do not agree with some of the comments that the structure of the story is too confusing or that the author jumps around too much. Just the opposite, I found that the way the story jumps from character to character was one of the things...
Published on June 13 2004 by Amazon Customer

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Ghost story or history lesson?
"Do we love across time? Or in spite of it?"
That's the theme that Jodi Picoult examines in SECOND GLANCE. By the end of the novel, I'm still not sure of the answer to that question. And as far as I can tell, the characters couldn't figure it out either. Perhaps it's meant to be an eternal mystery, but one thing's for sure: a number of people get hopelessly...
Published on May 8 2004 by Lacey Savage


‹ Previous | 1 25 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Keeps you on your toes, June 13 2004
By 
Amazon Customer (Killeen, TX United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Second Glance (Paperback)
This is a great book. The story grabbed me from the beginning, and I really enjoyed the way the author fleshes out each character. I do not agree with some of the comments that the structure of the story is too confusing or that the author jumps around too much. Just the opposite, I found that the way the story jumps from character to character was one of the things that kept me on my toes, and helped to tie the characters together throughout the book. This is the first book by Jodi Picoult I have read, but I will definitely be getting more.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ghost story, mystery, historical novel, July 10 2003
By 
Dave Schwinghammer "Dave Schwinghammer" (Little Falls, Minnesota USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Second Glance: A Novel (Hardcover)
SECOND GLANCE starts off rather clunky with Picoult introducing at least a dozen characters, all with their own viewpoints. It's hard to know who's really important.
The lead character, Ross Wakeman, is a kind of ghost buster with suicidal tendencies. He wants to join his fiancée, Aimie, who had been killed in a car accident that he feels guilty about. He's already tried to kill himself a couple of times.
Newton Redhook, a development company, hires Wakeman to prove there are no ghosts on property it has acquired from an old man named Spencer Pike. Stephen Kingisms abound. Rose petals fall from the sky, the ground freezes in the middle of August, the town drunk wakes one morning with his straight hair turned curly,
and while Ross is videotaping the place, he meets a woman who seems as mortal as he is, until she walks through a gravestone. But it's too late; he's already fallen in love with another dead woman.
Gradually, very gradually, Picoult begins to connect the people she introduced at the beginning of the book and that's when it gets good. You see, Spencer Pike, owner of the haunted land, had a wife who was apparenty murdered along with her baby daughter and she's the woman Ross has fallen for.
Picoult very adroitly uses historical background to make SECOND GLANCE more than just a ghost story. You see, back when he was a young man, Spencer Pike was one of the prime movers of the Eugenics movement, a "voluntary" sterilization project which the Nazis used as a model for their own program. Pike and his fellow scientists believed criminal behavior was inherited and could be eliminated by preventing these people from passing on their genes.
Throw in a 102-year-old Abenaki Indian with multiple identifies and you've got an enthralling summer read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary, May 23 2004
By 
j.s. "mr z" (Bloomington, IN United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Second Glance (Paperback)
"Second Glance" is one of those books that, although minimally intriguing and ultimately standard upon first inspection, is actually an extremely well constructed, well written novel that will leave any book lover breathless with appreciation and admiration.
The book picks up steam quickly, introducing many characters in a short amount of time and then spends the rest of the book fleshing out those characters and tying them together. Without giving anything away, "Second Glance" is a ghost story set in the present, a portrait of horrifying historial truth set in the 1920s, and a truly unique character study that successfully brings the reader to fully know and understand the dozen or so characters introduced along the way.
Author Jodi Picoult should not only be praised for her polished prose and an admirably complex plot, but for shedding light on shocking facts from our country's history and taking a stance on modern-day medical practices without being overly preachy.
This review may sound jumbled and not coherent, but that is how the book often feels. In the end, though, it all comes together wonderfully. Read this novel if you like old-fashioned ghost stories / mysteries, historial fiction, or in depth character studies with supernatural plot twists along for the ride. The book isn't short by any means, and it doesn't feel short. The information could easily have been given (by a lesser author) in a smaller amount of pages, but the added length results in the more fully-developed characters. This novel isn't a thriller (although it contains thrills) and its supernatural premise may attract horror fans, but its really just a supernatural love story. Find your cheap thrills elsewhere. This is a much deeper, complex, and heartfelt drama about love and the ghosts that are created out of it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3.0 out of 5 stars Ghost story or history lesson?, May 8 2004
By 
Lacey Savage (Ottawa, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Second Glance (Paperback)
"Do we love across time? Or in spite of it?"
That's the theme that Jodi Picoult examines in SECOND GLANCE. By the end of the novel, I'm still not sure of the answer to that question. And as far as I can tell, the characters couldn't figure it out either. Perhaps it's meant to be an eternal mystery, but one thing's for sure: a number of people get hopelessly entangled in each other's lives while trying to unravel the mysteries of the past in this novel.
Ross Wakeman has tried to kill himself so many times, he's lost track. The only thing he lives for is catching a glimpse of his deceased fiancée, but he's never so much as even seen a ghost. He works as a paranormal investigator, and his travels bring him to Comtosook, Vermont, to visit with his sister, Shelby. While there, he finds more clues pointing to the existence of ghosts than ever before, and he meets beautiful and intriguing Lea Beaumont, a woman who stirs feelings in his heart he never thought he'd feel again. But what mysteries is she hiding? And will Ross ever be the same after finding out?
There are a whole slew of characters making their way through this novel, so take that as a warning. You might need to scribble down names and relationships even before you finish the first chapter. Though the plotline seems entangled, it all wraps up nicely (if not quite satisfyingly) in the end. Jodi Picoult has written a novel that's an interesting blend of ghost story and history lesson, though it may bore some readers with its foray into the eugenics movement of the 1930s. The characterization is also weak at times, as evidenced by Ross' complete inability to differentiate between love and obsession with the idea of love.
Pick this one up if you're looking for an interesting read, but don't expect a page turner.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Haunting, Nov. 10 2003
By 
Stephen Dedman (Bayswater, WA Australia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Second Glance: A Novel (Hardcover)
Second Glance is an amazing novel, which careens across genre boundaries so energetically that it's difficult to describe (or design a cover for, judging by the results). It is undeniably a ghost story, and a murder mystery with strong police procedural elements, as well as a romance or two, plus a fascinating slab of historical novel about one of the lesser-known real horrors of 1930s America. Even if you don't normally enjoy any of these types of book, you may want to read this just for Picoult's skill at creating fascinating characters.
Beginning with a great first line - "Ross Wakeman succeeded the first time he killed himself, but not the second or third." - Second Glance introduces so many characters so quickly that you may find yourself having to take notes before the first chapter is done. Ross is an investigator of alleged hauntings, who has given up suicide because he suspects he's invincible. An ancient professor hears a baby crying in an old people's home. A cop rousts teenagers from a cemetery as it snows rose petals. Ghostly flies spell out a Native American word for 'baby'. A mother with a nine-year-old son fatally allergic to ultraviolet light has exchanged day for night, and has nightmares while she's awake.
Slowly, these threads and others begin to weave themselves into an intricate tapestry. As a supernatural thriller, Second Glance is on a par with The Sixth Sense or The Others, or one of Stephen King's novels without the more visceral elements. Running parallel to the ghost story is an equally well constructed scientific detective story, complete with coroner's reports and detailed DNA charts. The real strength, though, is the troubled but likeable characters - Ross, Ethan, Shelby, Eli, Cecilia, and others.
Second Glance is not without flaws. The plot occasionally hinges on coincidences which verge on the miraculous. Some of the clues might as well have neon signs attached, so some of the 'surprises' aren't particularly surprising. Picoult's children seem too mature for their age - much less convincing than those in Stephen King's It or The Body. There are inconsistencies in the timeline, such as a character in 2001 having newspaper clippings from 2002. And the romance subplots and writing become a little mawkish in places, especially near the end. On the whole, though, this is a thoroughly intriguing novel which should appeal to a wide variety of reading tastes.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars This book keeps you guessing!, Oct. 13 2003
This review is from: Second Glance: A Novel (Hardcover)
This is not your typical mystery. With a first sentence like this:
"Ross Wakeman succeeded the first time he killed himself, but not the second or the third."
One would think this is a depressing book. It's not. It's a very different type of reading ~~ with different characters scattered who knows where but it all comes together nicely. They all have one thing in common and that is the real mystery of the novel. Ross, Shelby, Ethan, Eli, Az, Meredith, Lucy, Ruby, Spencer and Lia all have a story to tell and how it is all connected, Picoult does her painstakingly thorough work as usual to tie them all together. And I am not disappointed with the results!
Be patient is what I would say about this book. There are a lot of characters in this book, and sometimes it seems like Picoult gives the reader too much information about them or sometimes it seems repetitive but it's not. She really gives a good insight of each character and you find yourself turning the page hoping for more indepths to the characters. You find yourself sitting up late at night guessing the truth and finding out that it wasn't so predictable after all.
The theme of this novel is about love and ghosts. It is also about people solving a 70-year old murder mystery. It is about people losing the ones they love and finding love again in mysterious ways. Lies unravel in the face of the truth. Dreams get shattered and broken in this novel then painstakingly brought back together again. It is a good insight on love and relationships and the paranormal has a big part in how this book flows together. This is one of the best Picoult novels I have yet read (I've read them all). I am looking forward to more of her books since she has not failed to meet my expectations!
Grab this one without delay ~~ it's perfect fall reading. Just to be sure to snuggle under your blanket and be prepared to be swept away by Picoult's lyrical writings.
10-13-03
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Unusual novel about the mysteries of life and death., June 7 2003
By 
E. Bukowsky "booklover10" (NY United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Second Glance: A Novel (Hardcover)
Jodi Picoult's original new novel, "Second Glance," is an ambitious undertaking. Picoult has created a large cast of characters, and for quite a while it is unclear how all of the characters interconnect. However, the reader's patience is rewarded when the author successfully weaves together all of the strands of her colorful and complex tapestry.
Most of "Second Glance" takes place in Comtosook, Vermont, near Lake Champlain. Ross Wakeman is a young man who has wanted to die since his girlfriend died in a car crash. Despite his efforts to kill himself, he has remained alive, and he is now a ghost hunter who investigates paranormal phenomena.
In Comtosook, an elderly man named Spencer Pike is dying, and he sells his land to a developer to build a strip mall. Members of the Abenaki tribe protest that since this land is a sacred burial ground, it should not be developed. Weird phenomena, such as rose petals falling from the sky and the land suddenly freezing solid, convince many residents of the town that the ghosts are showing their displeasure. The developer hires Ross to investigate the property in question to see if there are supernatural forces at work.
Besides Pike and Wakeman, there are many fascinating characters in "Second Glance." Ross's sister, Shelby, is a courageous single mother whose son has a rare affliction that forces him to remain indoors except at night. Lucy Oliver is an eight-year-old who lives in terror, since she frequently sees ghosts. Az Thompson is a centenarian of the Abenaki tribe whose memories hold the key to many of the secrets of Comtosook.
Picoult's lyrical and sensual writing bring her story to vivid life. Especially noteworthy are the author's fascinating historical flashbacks to the Vermont Eugenics Project of the 1930's, a true and shameful chapter in the history of the United States. "Second Glance" is at times fanciful, romantic, dramatic and mysterious. Picoult shows us that love, life and death can never be completely understood. Another theme in "Second Glance" is that loving someone leaves us vulnerable to hurt and pain. However, the act of loving is reward enough in itself to make the risk worthwhile.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars This is Jodi Picoult's best book to date, April 13 2003
By 
Bookreporter (New York, New York) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Second Glance: A Novel (Hardcover)
SECOND GLANCE, Jodi Picoult's newest novel, is an extraordinary "genre-hybrid." The confluence of its parts --- ghost story, love story, historical novel, paranormal/supernatural tale --- converges to offer readers a book that roars with superlative dialogue, radiates with interesting characters (alive and dead) and floats in the ether above the mediocre. The elements of redemption, the qualities of love and the definition of family raise questions about integrity, respect, prejudice, memory, medical ethics and "things that go bump in the night."
The book opens with these words: "Ross Wakeman succeeded the first time he killed himself, but not the second or the third." No matter how hard he tries, Ross Wakeman fails to accomplish what he most wants to do with his life --- end it! After the death of his fiancée, eight years in the past, he is still deeply mourning her, which has left him mired in a state of stasis. This inability to move inspires him to become a ghost hunter, a "job" through which he hopes to reconnect with his lost love. Unfortunately, his career is short-lived and he returns to Comtosook, Vermont, where his sister and her son live their strange life. Ross is depressed, frustrated and nursing feelings of failure.
The town of Comtosook is in an uproar since old man Spencer Pike sold a parcel of land to a development company that plans to build a strip mall. Trouble begins as soon as the news reaches the Abenaki Indians, who believe the property is a sacred burial ground. They are committed to save the land of their ancestors and picket the site. "You dig up [our ancestors'] resting place, it stands to reason that whatever you build on here isn't going to be at peace." In order to prove the ground is not sacred in any way, Rod van Vleet, the company representative, hires Ross to find any ghosts lurking there and evict them. Ross reluctantly agrees to get involved and enlists the help of his nephew, Ethan, who suffers from XP (xeroderma pigmentosum: a fatal disease that prohibits exposure to sunlight) and is thus delighted to accompany his uncle on a nighttime stakeout.
During their vigil, Wakeman sees a movement in the woods and, when he follows it, he finds Lia, a very young, very gentle, very frightened, very sad woman whose ethereal aura captures his heart. He simply falls in love. They meet secretly because she is terrified of her husband --- or so she says. From this point on, we enter a "twilight zone" that is at times soulful, disorienting and funny.
Lia's appearance inspires the local sheriff to open an unsolved murder case that dates back to 1932. After her presence has been noted, a host of weird events begins to overtake the town. Rose petals fall like snowflakes, people have trouble discerning the truth from their dreams, the disputed land freezes in August and everyday something new emerges to confound, disturb and bring chaos to the seemingly bucolic town.
In a powerful parallel storyline, we learn about a horrific episode in Vermont's history, events that Picoult explains in her Author's Note: " ï¿ the Vermont Eugenics Project in the 1920s and 1930s ï¿ is a chapter of history that has only recently been rediscovered and still causes great pain and shame to Vermonters of many different cultural backgrounds." She goes on to explain that her main characters are fictional but the off-stage father of the program, Henry E. Perkins, was a real person. "ï¿ He was a professor of zoology at the University of Vermont who originated the Eugenics Survey ï¿ in conjunction with his course on heredity. He believed that through research, public education and support for legislation, the growing population of [the state's] most problematic citizens might be reduced. His leadership was instrumental in bringing about the passage of Vermont's Sterilization Law in 1931ï¿." At the time, thirty-three other states had similar laws on their books. But not until after World War II, when Nazi scientists testified at the war crimes trials that the "American eugenics programs were the prototypes of their "racial hygiene plans", did any state even modify these statutes.
Meanwhile, hundreds of miles away, "at [the] Generra Institute in Maryland, Dr. Meredith Oliver," is [ironically] busy at work "doing pre-implantation genetic diagnosisï¿." She specializes in separating genes that carry inherited diseases from healthy genes in order for couples to end the genetic defects in their family. Her daughter, Lucy, is an asthmatic eight-year-old who sees ghosts and hears them whisper. She is haunted by visitations that terrify her and Meredith. While she loves her daughter, Meredith is a busy woman who has little patience for what she thinks are simply attention-getting outbursts. The child is cared for by her great grandmother, Ruby, who has secrets of her own.
All of the characters and plot twists in SECOND GLANCE, while seeming to be "out of this world", are surprisingly credible enough to make the complexities of this novel work. This is Jodi Picoult's best book to date. And, for those of you who shiver at the thought of "things that go bump in the night", have no fear --- this ghost story will keep you entertained and at times howling with laughter. Enjoy!
--- Reviewed by Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars People Magazine Book Review.....APRIL 2, 2003 ISSUE, April 7 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Second Glance: A Novel (Hardcover)
People Magazine Book Review
April 3, 2003
Second Glance
by Jodi Picoult
Reviewed by Amy Waldman

In the eight years since he saw his fiancée die in a car accident, Ross Wakeman has tried repeatedly to join her. But after a failed suicide attempt and several accidents that should have been fatal, Ross begins to take an interest in hunting ghosts instead of trying to become one. In rural Comtosook, Vt., he spends time with his sister and nephew and starts investigating a piece of land that may or may not have been an Indian burial ground. Rose petals rain down and a house in the process of being demolished rebuilds itself. Meanwhile, Ross meets Lia, a mysterious young woman who also tracks spirits.
Picoult ingeniously ties the ghost story to a true one about eugenics. In the 1920s and '30s, Vermont and other states sanctioned involuntary sterilization for supposedly "inferior" people such as the mentally and physically disabled, convicted criminals and New England's Abenaki Indians. The history lesson makes for chilling, even shocking, reading, and Picoult (Plain Truth) comes up with many unforgettable characters. This is a fast-paced, densely layered exploration of love, the pull of family and the power of both to transcend time.
BOTTOM LINE: Great ghost story
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3.0 out of 5 stars Eerie and thought-provoking, April 25 2003
By 
Judith C. Oswood (Marshalltown, IA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Second Glance: A Novel (Hardcover)
I have read all of Jodie Picoult's books, but this was not one of my favorites. I really enjoyed the main plot about ghostly happenings, and I especially liked the historical information about the eugenics project in Vermont in the 1930's. Her characters were well-drawn and interesting. However, I found the book getting tedious and too long after about 300 pages, and there was still over a hundred pages to go. I had to struggle to finish it, even though I found the first part of the book to be compelling reading. When I reached the end, I was confused about some of the events that happened. I'm not sure that I ever did figure out the final outcome completely. I guess I would still recommend the book to a friend because the plot was interesting and unique. I especially loved her earlier book, PLAIN TRUTH, because it was about the Amish of Pennsylvania. I will continue to read her future books, though, so hopefully she has another one in the works.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 25 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Second Glance
Second Glance by Jodi Picoult (Paperback - 2004)
Used & New from: CDN$ 0.01
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews