Review: Between the Lines by @jodipicoult

You’re familiar with how the story ends: And they all lived happily ever after. The end.

But what if you should be looking at more than the words on the page? What if the real story is happening between the written lines? What if this proscriptive “ever-after ending” is just how the story ends for a particular reader, after which, the characters of the book wait around until the story is read again, at which time they re-take their places and again act out the story?

Ever after, over and over and over and over–it’s enough to make you want to kill yourself … or come up with a way to otherwise permanently end things. Which Prince Oliver, the hero of the fairy tale Between the Lines, decides to do.

The heroine–because if there is a hero, there must be a heroine; you know how fairy tales work–Delilah is old enough to know better, but she loves this little fairy tale–Between the Lines, written by Jessamyn Jacobs (the name of the story in which lives Oliver)–mostly because Oliver must make his way without a father, as Delilah does, since her father left to start a new family and live a different story.

(And let’s get one thing clear, the name of the book is Between the Lines, but it is about what happens inside–and outside–a fairy tale called Between the Lines).

A human-turned-dog, feminist mermaids, a dragon with an overbite, and a pirate with a secret, among others, live inside Oliver’s world, while Delilah’s world includes mean girls and unfortunate incidents in chemistry and a mother who doesn’t know why her fifteen-year-old daughter spends so much time reading a fairy tale.

So when Oliver, one day, talks to Delilah, she is more than ready to believe that he is as stuck in his world as she feels in hers, and the two collaborate on a series of plans that will end in Oliver being expelled from the book and living outside of it, hopefully in Delilah’s arms.

Jodi Picoult and her daughter, Samantha Van Leer, have written a modern-day fairy tale (complete with full-color, full-page illustrations and a series of breathtaking silhouettes) in which princesses don’t always wait to be rescued, adults aren’t always right, and true love–if you believe in true love–finds a way, if you’re willing to keep reading.

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