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Plain Truth
by Jodi Picoult


p.1 I must be a Christian child
Gentle, patient, meek and mild;
Must be honest, simple, true
In my words and actions too...
Must remember, God can view
All I think, and all I do.
     --Amish school verse

p.12-13 As reactions to death went, this was a violent one. Lizzie watched the girl trying to compose herself, and wondered what had prompted it. Had this been any ordinary teen, Lizzie would have taken such behavior as an indication of guilt--but Katie Fisher was Amish, which required her to filter her thoughts. If you were Amish, you could grow up in Lancaster County without television news broadcasts and R-rated movies, without rape and wife-beating and murder. You could see a dead baby and be honestly, horribly shocked by the sight.

p.19-20 You could not summer in Paradise and not come in contact with the Old Order Amish, who were such an intrinsic part of the Lancaster area. The Plain people, as they called themselves, clipped along in their buggies in the thick of automobile traffic; they stood in line at the grocery store in their old-fashioned clothing; they smiled shyly from behind their farm stands where we went to buy fresh vegetables. That was, in fact, how I learned about Leda's past. We were waiting to buy armfuls of sweet corn when Leda struck up a conversation--in Pennsylvania Dutch!--with the woman who was making the sale.

p.p.82 This would be her fourth movie, ever. It was supposed to be a love story--such a funny concept, for a two-hour movie. Love wasn't supposed to be about a moment when you looked into a boy's eyes and felt the world spin from beneath your feet; when you saw in his soul all the things that were missing in yours. Love came slow and surefooted and was made of equal measures of comfort and respect. A Plain girl wouldn't fall in love, she'd sort of glance down and realize she was mired in it. A Plain girl knew she loved someone when she looked out ten years from now and saw that same boy standing beside her, his hand on the small of her back.

p.107 In a perfect world, Lizzie thought, Samuel Stoltzfus would be gracing the pages of magazines dressed in nothing but Calvin Klein underwear.

p.133 "Coop, I'm a defense attorney. My bullshit meter is calibrated daily."

p.153 Katie's fingers were white where they held Sarah's hand. Beneath her breath she was whispering in the dialect, words that were becoming familiar to me after many evenings with the Fishers: "Unter Vater, in dem Himmel. Dein Name werde geheiliget. Dein Reich komme. Dein Wille geschehe auf Erden wie in Himmel."
     In all my years of practice, I'd never had a client reciting the Lords' Prayer before a lie detector test.

p.156 Katie ran after the calf, which seemed to have developed springs on the bottoms of her hooves. Sadie ran in a half circle and then began to curve back toward me. "Grab her front legs," Katie yelled, and I dove for Sadie's knees, crumbling the rest of her body in a neat tackle.
     Panting, Katie dragged the chain to where I was bodily restraining the calf and clipped her collar secure again. Then she sat down beside me to catch her breath. "Sorry," I gasped. "I didn't know." I watched Sadie slink back to the shade of her igloo. "Hell of a good tackle, though. Maybe I ought to try out for the Eagles."
     "Eagles?"
     "Football."
     Katie stared blankly at me. "What's that?"
     "You know, the game. On TV." I could see I was getting nowhere. "It's like baseball," I finally said, remembering the school-age children I'd seen with their gloves and balls. "But different. The Eagles are a professional team, which means that the players get a lot of money to be in the game."
     "They make money for playing games?"
     Put that way, it sounded positively stupid. "Well, yeah."
     "Then what do they do for work?"
     "That is their work," I explained. But it seemed strange even to me, now--compared to the day-to-day existence of someone like Aaron Fisher, whose job directly involved putting food into his family's mouth, what was the value of tossing a ball through an end zone? For that matter, what was the value of my own career, making a living with words instead of with my hands?
     "I don't understand," Katie said honestly.
     And sitting on the Fisher farm, at that moment, neither did I.

p.176 Ellie stretched in her seat like a cat. "I like slipping away from the farm," she said. "I needed to slip away. Thank you."
     "Thank you," he said. "My dinner companions are never this entertaining. You're certainly the first one who's mentioned manure."
     "You see? I've already lost my edge. Maybe I ought to do what Katie suggested."
     "What did Katie suggest?"
     "She said--let me make sure I get this right--that if I knew I wanted a good-night kiss, I should make sure to bump up against you on the turns, and comment on your horse."
     Coop burst out laughing. "This is what you two talk about?"
     "We're just a couple of girls having a slumber party." Ellie smiled widely. "Have I told you what a fine horse you have?"
     "You know, I don't believe you have."
     Ellie leaned forward. "Quite the stud."
     "I've got to get you drinking more often."

p.222 The sight took my breath away. Aaron and Samuel were driving the team of mules, which pulled a gasoline-powered corn binder. The contraption was over six feet tall, which knives in the front for cutting down the field corn, and a mechanism that bundled it into sheaves. Beside it, Levi drove another team that pulled a wagon. Coop stood in the back, tossing the tall bundles of corn that came off the binder into the flatbed.
     Coop grinned and waved when he saw me. He was wearing jeans, a polo shirt, and one of Aaron's broad-brimmed hats to keep the sun off his face. He was so proud you'd think he'd cut every stalk himself.
     "Look at you," Katie said, nudging against me. "You've gone all ferhoodled."
     I hadn't a clue what it meant, but it certainly sounded the way I felt.

p.224-225 The smell of sawdust carried on the air and the high whine of hydraulic-powered saws sliced through the sky as nearly sixty Amish men puzzled together the wooden skeleton of a huge barn wall. All shapes and sizes and ages, the men wore carpenter's pouches around their waists, stuffed with nails and a hammer. Young boys, let out early from school for the event, scrambled around in an effort to be useful.
     I stood on the hill with the other women, my arms crossed as I watched the magic of a barn raising. The four walls lay flat on the ground, assembled two-dimensionally at first. A handful of men stationed themselves along what would be the western wall, taking positions a few feet apart from each other. The man whose barn this would be, Martin Zook, took a spot a distance apart. On a count given by him in the Dialect, the others picked up the frame of the wall and began to walk it upright. Martin came up behind them, holding the wall in place with a long stick, while Aaron took up a stick to secure the far side. Ten more men swarmed to the base of the wall, hammering it into place in a volley of staccato pounding. One man began to walk along the cement foundation, setting nails with a single swipe of his hammer at intervals along the wood base that joined it, while a pair of eager schoolboys trailed him, using three or four sharp blows to drive the nails home.
     Mixed with the sweet, raw scent of new construction was the heavier tang of the men's sweat as they hoisted the other walls into place, secured them, and climbed the wooden rigging like monkeys to fasten the boards of the roof. I thought of the workers who'd put a new roof on our house when I was sixteen and in awe of men's chests: parading on the black tar paper, their feet at an angle, their heads wrapped in bandannas and their torsos bare, their boomboxes beating. These men seemed to be working twice as hard as that long-ago crew; yet not a singe one had given into the heat past rolling up the sleeves of their pale shirts.

p.265-266 "His job is to get the jury to believe all the bad things he's going to say about you." I hesitated, then decided in Katie's case, it would be best to know what's coming. "It's going to be hard for you to hear, Katie."
     "Why?"
     I blinked at her. "Why will it be hard?"
     "No. Why will he lie about me? Why would the jury believe him and not me?"
     I thought about the rules of forensic evidence, the distinctions between casting a motive and spinning a false tale, the psychometric profiles that had been written on juries--all idiosyncrasies that Katie would not understand. How did one explain to an Amish girl that in a trial, it often came down to who had the best story? "It's the way the legal system works in the English world," I said. "It's part of the game."
     "Game," Katie said slowly, turning the word in her mouth until it softened. "Like football!" She smiled up at me, remembering our earlier conversation. "A game with winning and losing, but you get paid for it."
     I felt sick to my stomach again. "Yeah," I said. "Exactly."

p.299 In the past five years, I had wanted a baby so much I ached. I would wake up sometimes beside Stephen and feel my arms throb, as if I had been holding a newborn weight the whole night. I would see an infant in a stroller and feel my whole body reach; I would mark my monthly period on the calendar with the sense that my life was passing me by. I wanted to grow something under my heart. I wanted to breathe, to eat, to blossom for someone else.
     Stephen and I fought about children approximately twice a year, as if reproduction were a volcano that erupted every now and then on the island we'd created for ourselves. Once, I actually wore him down. "All right," he'd said. "If it happens, it happens." I threw away my birth control pills for six consecutive months, but we didn't manage to make a baby. It took me nearly half a year after that to understand why not: You can't create lie in a place that's dying by degrees.
     After that, I'd stopped asking Stephen. Instead, when I was feeling maternal, I went to the library and did research. I learned how many times the cells of a zygote divided before they were classified as an embryo. I saw on microfiche the pictures of a fetus sucking its thumb, veins running like roads beneath the orange glow of its skin. I learned that a six-week-old fetus was the size of a strawberry. I read about alpha-fetal protein and amniocentesis and rH factors. I became a scholar in an ivory tower, an expert with no hands-on experience.
     So you see, I knew everything about this baby inside me--except why I wasn't overjoyed to discover its existence.

p.308 He insisted on walking me to the door of the Fishers' house. "I'm not handicapped, Coop," I argued. "Just pregnant." But the feminist in me rolled over, secretly thrilled to be treated like spun sugar.

p.312 Sounds like somebody's cranky. Must've gone to bed too late last night." George grinned. "Guess you were partying till the cows came home. What time do they come home, anyway?"
     "Are you finished?" Ellie asked, staring at him with indifference.

p.372 The confession, that was the same, or she wouldn't be sitting up here now. But the English judged a person so that they'd be justified in casting her out. The Amish judged a person so that they'd be justified by welcoming her back.

p.387 "Isn't this bothering you?" I said finally.
     "My back?" Katie asked. "Ja, a little. If it hurts you too much, you can rest a bit."
     "Not your back. The fact that you don't know the outcome of the trial."
     Katie let the cloth slip into the bucket and sank back on her heels. "Worrying isn't going to make it happen any quicker."
     "Well, I can't stop thinking about it," I admitted. "If I was facing a murder conviction, I don't think I'd be washing someone else's windows."
     Katie turned to me, her eyes clear and filled with a peace that made it nearly impossible to turn away from her. "Today Anne needs help."
     "Tomorrow you might need it."
     She looked out the sparkling window, where women were busy hauling cleaning supplies from their buggies. "Then tomorrow, all these people, they will be with me."