Becky’s One Hundred and Forty-Second Book Review: “Where There’s Smoke” by Jodi Picoult

“Where there’s Smoke” is a short story by Jodi Picoult about a psychic named Serenity. It is the first Jodi Picoult that I have picked up in quite some time. I forgot how much I enjoy getting lost in the world that Picoult creates. This short story was different from a lot of what Picoult usually produces in that it revolved around a psychic and a fair amount of paranormal. “Dealing with the paranormal is like wading into a dark, murky swamp. You may get bit in the ass by an alligator. But you’re going to go in there like you’re a crocodile hunter and do it anyway.” (Where there’s Smoke, loc 397).

The problem with reviewing a short story is that it is hard to not give everything away. So this feels rather bare, but I enjoyed the short story enough to not want to ruin the ending for anyone who decides to get their hands on the short story.

The main character in “Where there’s Smoke” is named Serenity. She is a psychic with her own television show. There is a fair amount of humor in the way that Picoult writes about Serenity, which is good since she discusses a lot of serious topics. If it wasn’t for the humor infused into the story it would be just a little too heavy. At least in my opinion, I want a short story to be light. I enjoyed the taste that Picoult provided in this short story that I had to go pick up another one of her works and lose myself in it. “It’s funny, how fast life changes. One minute you are present, and the next, you might find yourself futilely trying to get back to the world you were once part of. You might find yourself looking for people who can no longer hear you. You are in the world, but not of it.” (Where There’s Smoke, loc 453)

Would I recommend “Where there’s Smoke”? Yes, I do enjoy Picoult’s works and even though this was a short story (which I usually avoid) it was worth reading. Things did feel a little unresolved, but apparently there is a book coming out featuring the same character. This was just a short story that introduces Serenity and gives a little background on her. She was interesting to read about and I wouldn’t mind picking up the next work that she is featured in.  


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