The Tenth Circle


It’s one of those stormy days where I’d rather be sitting by the window, with a cup of coffee and a good book, hearing the raindrops hit the window.

I just got back from filming and the location was a young couple’s home in Punggol. I was early reporting for work today and had a bit of time to myself so I planted myself on their L-shape sofa by the floor to ceiling window to read my book “The Memory Keeper’s Daughter”. It’s not a feel-good book but I love the setting of the first chapter. Cold, wintry, harsh and difficult. I think it’s just perfect for Christmas. That aside, I wanna share this other book that I just finished reading with all of you.

I like Jodi Picoult because she has plenty of quotes about life, love, relationships which she use to round up sections of the story. Each paragraph is delivered with a punch that never fails to send shivers down my spine. I really liked the way it left me thinking about myself and the way my life parallels fiction. Her stories are ordinary yet this is exactly what is so frightening about it, that the things that happen to her characters could happen to us, the people we know and love, and when it really does, it wouldn’t just go away so easily with the flip of a page.

This book explores kinship and marital love through a man’s desperate attempt to reign in his character and prove to himself more than anyone else who he really is; the conflicts, desires, temptations faced by a growing teenager; and the emotional battle of a woman who is so afraid to confront the inconsistencies of her wants that she screws up her relationship with her husband and daughter.

It’s rather depressing to think about the lessons learnt, but in a perverse way, I’m also glad to draw certain conclusions from the story.

Anyone can try to hide who he really is, and for years, be able to fool the people around him, but the frightening truth is when you deceive yourself into thinking you have it all under control, that you actually believe you are no longer what you were before, when all it takes is just the click of a light bulb to unleash the nemesis from within. Where does that leave you?

The uncertainty that shrouds the mind of a growing teenager, who is bombarded with so much superficiality that she can’t differentiate right from wrong, imaginary from reality, who thinks she is saying something when everything else she does mean another. Reasoning and logic is marred with thrill and impulse. What if the only way out is to get yourself in? What if the only way to help is to stand and watch the worst happen?

If a conversation is punctuated with prolonged silences, you know something is wrong. You focus on why the relationship is not working out, instead of how it can work out; you blame the other person; you meet someone else and start anew. And then one day you realise that it’s you who has changed, not the other person. You realise that you are trying to fill up the so-called void in your heart when all these while you’re merely too full of yourself.

There is hope, I’m certain. Only if we are willing to confront who we are, and then let go.

All of it.

48 responses to “The Tenth Circle

  1. 嗨。。我是第一个留言的。。呵呵。。祝你好运。。永远支持你的越升

  2. yay i love this kinda posts by you because i like the way you write. very deep and meaningful. ((:

  3. Mmm… tHANKS 4 your preview on your book, i may purchase & read it after i finish my book… Currently, I’m reading ‘Pick a Perfect Wine In No Time” by Anita L. Laraia. As I’m into wine & loves to try all best wine in the world…

    Wishing you a Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year!
    May all your wishes come true this Christmas!

    By the way what are you doing during Chrismas Eve & Christmas Day?

  4. hi.. hahas.. i have been reading jodi picoult nineteen minutes too.. but not quite finish yet.. I enjoyed every pages of the book.. It is a very interesting book.. Hope you enjoyed reading forever.. take good care.. and you look great in the golden path..

  5. I totally agree with your post today. Because I’m like the man you described, always hiding my true self from others. Maybe someday, I will be able to step out and see the light too. Cheers.

  6. Oooo , joanne ! Which block of Punggol is that ? I lived at Punggol too .

  7. the book sound interesting.hope it is in the library so that i could read it.anyway i love watching golden path,it’s so funny and entertaining.

    merry christmas to you.

    are you performing anywhere this new year or will you be at the vivo countdown?

    take care.. =))

  8. How come everytime you post, it is always so well written irregardless if it’s in english or chinese! hahah.. I never read that book before but it does seems interesting…

    merry xmas to you Joanne… you look great in The Golden Path.


  9. Happy Christmas n Merry New Year~ o HOHOHO~

  10. sometimes when you read a book…you get so involve with it that sometimes you think it’s real… when i’m reading a real good book… i’ll imagine… what if i was that character… what will i do…
    i’m know reading ‘ 3 of a kind’ a story ’bout friendships, back stabbing and stuff…quite nice… but in real life… such things are actually happening…
    just be grateful for the friends and things you have… at least 2 million people are in a worse state than you… treasure what you have before it’s too late…

  11. Hi Joanne, first of all wish you merry christmas and a great new year. Do not despair, your hard work will be recognised eventually.

    Your acting in “Golden Path” is very natural and your chemistry with Li nanxing is very good. Keep it up!


  12. Hi Joanne, I like your role as Kaiqi in “The Golden Path”… so cute and innocent xiah, everytime kena bullied by her older brothers. Wishing u Merry Christmas! 🙂
    Oh and er, I know this may sound crazy, but i had a very very strange dream last night… I was at Changi Airport returning from another country wif some friends, when i walked past… YOU!! U turned around actually said hi to me, I was shocked!! After which, we bumped into Jesseca!! Man if that were to happen in real life, i dunno what to say liao. (blushes)

  13. wow,joanne!u ❤ reading bks yea? =) the two bks u talked abt i hv read them.they are really gd bks by wonderful autors!

    which autor u lyk most and wat kind of bks interest ya? 🙂

    anw,merry x’ mas!!!

    support ya 4 eva!!!

  14. Hi, this is the first time i read your blog, I am not a fan of yours but I do quite like you.

    Thanks for the preview of the book, you have already captured my interest, will definately go look for this book to read – thanks a lot for sharing!

    Jia You! (^o^)

  15. Heys Jo jie!

    I’ve read one or two Jodi Picoult books before (i think it was my mum’s books) and my aunt laughed at me coz she thought i was too young for her books 😛

    Haha. Take cares and hav a blessed christmas and a happi new year!!


  16. Dear Joanne,

    The logic you are trying is to express is a bit chim, something we all can learn about life, and to become a better person; not just in career advancement and skills, but also in handling relationships with people around you, especially those who you care for; family, relatives and friends. There are some parts I understood, some parts half understood. Maybe, as we witness life for a few more years, we might be able to experience and understand how to change yourself to become a better person. I haven’t read the book, and I am not a patient person myself to read a book from start to finish, unless I am very interested in that book.

    Yah, I agree with you that sometimes, you consciously or subconciously try to hide your real self from others, even from close friends. You may be able to succeed, but if your real self that you hide is a bad trait, it may lie dormant, and escalate into some huge problems later in life. And you previously assume that you have got it under control, but in fact you didn’t.

    Yoke Peng

  17. Hi Joanne,

    Another question, you may think it is a silly question, but I still have to ask, because guys also want less facial skin problems too 🙂 The formula for beauty tip on the right top, does it apply to guys as well? 🙂 Haha Don’t laugh!

  18. hey, im reading this book too!! hahaa. kind of slow.. but not bad la.. cant wait to finish it so i can move on to some other.. hahah.

    merry christmas!! (:

  19. Bai bei fu nu bing is the top show for year 2007!!!!!!


    is it a emo story book joanne? 😛

  20. oh i’ve read some of her books b4 quite some time ago.. do u have any favourite books of hers that u highly recommend other than this?

    or books by any other authors?

  21. hey joanne,

    this is my first time posting though i’m a regular reader of your blog. I just felt that i had to tell you this! i really admire you, for being so real and despite your fame. You do not seem to be carried away with the high-life that many other celebrities do, and that is what i really respect about you. You display this maturity of thought so naturally and with such ease that many of us fail to grasp. I’m not one who’ll go crazy over idols and though i may not be an ardent fan of yours, you’ve gained my respect and admiration, just from the way you write and think.

    Jiayou ok! Continue to work hard, all of us can see your efforts! And keep that sweet smile on always! 🙂

  22. Hey Leo,

    I dunno which block, haha I just follow blindly. Heh!

    Merry X’mas!

  23. Hey Yoke Peng,

    Erm I don’t know, as with any beauty tip, I have a disclaimer, because different skin react differently so what works for me may not work for you. Generally I’ve heard that guys have different skin types from girls, so products made for girls might not be that effective on guys. But of course that could just be marketing strategy. I can’t advise you on that leh, if you really feel you’ve got skin problems that you want to resolve, better find some expert!
    Meantime, Merry Christmas!


  24. Hi Atiqah,

    Nope, I won’t be performing for New Year or be at Vivo. I’d be somewhere working though. Haha~


  25. Thanks everyone for your compliments and encouragement and fervent support for my blog. I’m glad you enjoy reading my entries as much as I enjoy writing them. I hope all of you have a wonderful public holiday tomorrow. 🙂


  26. Merry Christmas Joanne!
    I;m back in Singapore…
    Now resting & reading…
    Tomolo I’m celebrating Christmas with my Boyfriend with my wine…
    May all your wishes & dreams come true this Christmas…

  27. err…
    i just back shocked that you are not in top 10 in the awards… I’ll still support u no matter what! By the love your entries on books as I love to read… My fav book is Rich dad Poor Dad & Why we want you to be rich Both by Robert T.

  28. O-zaki shimizutoro

    Hi Joanne, Best to you and i wish you a merry chirstmas.

    hope u don mind.

    recently see your golden path very cool.


  29. try The Time Traveler’s Wife. have a blessed christmas 🙂

  30. Hi all! Merry Christmas to all of you all! May you all receive many many presents… most of all. – STAY HAPPY 🙂


    May all your wishes and dreams come true 😉

  32. O-zaki Shimizutoro

    Hi Joanne, your show called: THE GOLEN PATH very good to watch. i wish you good luck and enjoy acting

  33. O-zaki Shimizutoro

    Where are you working at?

  34. melissa miss j0anne

    MERRY CHRISTMAS! j0anne jiiex…may your yr 0f 20o7 be go0d..and have a better yr in 2o08!!(0POS! MY ENG NOT GO0D AH!!!)anyway really liek ur role as ‘ kaiqi ‘ in g0lden path..but sooooo po0r thing always kana bullied my y0ur 0lder ‘ br0thers ;…anyway..h0pe the next time i c u..will rememebr ur presentssss yahx,,


    p.s do rememebr reply…tks..

  35. hi,
    like the way you describe in your blog, picoult jodi’s book reveals the utmost reality to one’s life. It’s really the way she writes that captures my attention and allows me to draw a conclusion, or an idea that never came up and make me understand the purpose of life in a deeper manner. I recommend you this book by her – my sister’s keeper . if you had yet to read this, it’s really touching and well, when you read it you will feel it. if you did, read it again and maybe you will feel and see things in another way too. [=

    With Regards,
    l0ner who adores books.

  36. Hey Shin Fen,

    Thanks for the recommendation! I’ve read that one. It’s amazing the way the story was conceptualised and written. I wish I could write something like that! 🙂


  37. Hello loner,

    I haven’t read My Sister’s Keeper. Lots of people recommending that book to me! I’m waiting to borrow from a friend. 🙂


  38. To avid readers,

    I will try to share my thoughts on the books I’ve read with all of you when I can. That’s why I included a new category on books by the side bar, so it’ll be easier to search for archived articles in the future. I hope to be able to build a substantial repertoire soon. 🙂 Till then, keep reading!


  39. hi joanne!

    merry xmas! for me christmas i’m spending it on work. hais. er, i’ve been wanting to try my sisiter keeper. i also love jodi picoult books!!

  40. oooo.. i love jodi picoult too.. just because of ur review.. im gonna bookmark ur page for more reviews.. hehe..

  41. you could try Hannah’s Gift by Maria Housden if you have the time.

    it’s about the lessons Maria received from her 3 year old daughter Hannah who brought courage, honesty and laughter to everyone despite her struggle with cancer.

    very very encouraging. 🙂

  42. Hi,Joann!! I am a fan of urs!! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to u!! =)) I love ur acting in 宝贝父女兵!! The character suits u and u act very well!! Keep it on!! GoGoGo!! I support u!! <33

  43. I know this is kinda late; I like Jodi Picoult’s works very much too. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend one of her books entitled My Sister’s Keeper. I’m too lazy to do a synopsis, but trust me, its one of the best novels I’ve ever read so far (and I do read a great deal). =)

  44. Hello pretty Joanne!!

    Hmmm ya I kinda agree with you…I’ve recently learnt that…when things go wrong around us, we shouldn’t start blaming and pointing fingers at others…we should always examine ourselves first…I think most of us will agree that the most difficult thing to do is face our real selves for who we really are…cos I guess we can’t accept that we’re that ‘less-than-perfect’ being…with all these flaws that may cause us to be ‘rejected’ by another fellow being…we all wanna belong somewhere…
    so I guess in our fear we have alot of self-denial and defense mechanisms coming into play…

    And the most amazing thing is…whatever traits that we see in others that displease us (that caused us to complain about), are actually traits hidden inside us (and maybe forgotten about) that we cannot accept…hence we ‘project’ them out onto others…it comes from the workings of our unconscious minds…

    I guess we all need to learn to forgive ourselves as well…hehe…

    And…hope you’ll get over MC King’s demise soon…(I was very shocked and disbelieving too when I first heard the news…too sudden)…I believe he’d have received all the blessings from where he is now…

    Bless you…and him too…

    ~Lots of love and blessings,

    P.S. Hmm..another thing..could u share with us..wat are the things in ur life that matter most to you? For me this year I’m embarking on spiritual growth…thruout the years I’ve come to realise that mat’l possessions no matter mean much to me…they never make me happy even after I’ve acquired them…not that I’m filthy rich la…so some of my resolutions are that I’m working on to improve relationships with my folks…and to heal some of my long buried issues within my unconscious mind…(” ,)

  45. heyhey.i’ll support you forever:D
    7pincess are th love(D

  46. hey joanne,
    did you read perfect match by jodi picoult before?
    well although its about wierd stuff, but the feelings are written perfectly well.
    my next book is gonna be my sisters keeper cause my friend recommended it to me after reading too =)

  47. erm do you have any other recommendations on books? love to read them 😀
    anyway, good luck in your filmings 😀

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