When I was entering my last week of classes, I made a promise to myself: that I would read a book that I actually want to read before I start studying for my finals. I have not read a book that I wanted to all semester as my reading requirements were really heavy.
So it was an easy enough promise to keep because I needed a break from my text books anyway. The difficult part was what I should read. This question answered itself as I was walking through my public library and saw my favourite author’s new book in the Popular Picks section. I, of course, had to borrow it. So here is my newest review:
A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult
If you have seen my previous blog post about Jodi Picoult books, you will know how much I truly enjoy reading her work. I did not know much about this book when I originally picked it up. The only thing that I did know was that it was written by my favourite author. So, of course, I brought it home.
Unsurprisingly, I flew through this book. I was immediately pulled into the story and the characters were impossible to not care about. In other words, it lived up to my expectations for a Jodi Picoult (no pressure). Let me start with a quick summary of this brilliant book.
There are days where everything is normal. Until it is not. It is that kind of a day that readers are met with when they open to the first pages of this story. A women’s reproductive health clinic, called the Center, is caught up in a hostage situation after an armed gunman has shown up. When Hugh McElroy shows up to run the hostage negotiations, he soon learns that his own daughter, Wren, is inside.
Wren may only be fifteen, but she is well aware that actions have consequences. That is the reason she is at the clinic, after all. And now, she is embroiled in a situation that she never would have expected. She is hardly alone though, as there are several other hostages with her. They are an eccentric bunch, who learn plenty about each other, as they struggle to survive the anti-choice gunman’s wrath.
One of the most incredible aspects of this story is how the narrative is written. The story is told backwards, starting at 5 PM when the hostage situation is well underway and then flowing back through the hours. Each new chapter adds another layer to the story and the characters. Everything that you thought you knew when you started reading finds a place of focus as the story continues and all of your assumptions are challenged.
I personally have always been pro-choice, but it was truly interesting to read some of the insights of the anti-choice characters. It did not change my opinion, but Jodi Picoult has always been amazing at making me question myself. This book was no different in that way.
The only thing that I was not impressed with is that it felt unfinished. I have read a lot of Jodi Picoult’s book, but this was the first one that I felt frustrated that there was not more. I wanted to know more about the fall out. How do the characters who survive move forward? How do the loved ones of those lost react? Part of me felt like there was a chapter missing. However, that could just be because none of the characters saw the inside of a courtroom, as usually happens with in her stories.
Each of the characters that we delve into is full and rich with emotion and unseen motivations. The story line is justifiably intense, with the right amount of devastation. You know, the amount that makes you want to bawl your eyes out every so often. I think that is why most people pick up her books though. I know it is one of the reasons that I will search her name every so often to see if there is something new to read written by her.
With that, I highly recommend this novel to anyone who has ever considered the debate around abortion. Also, I recommend it to all women, as our words and stories so often are neglected, but Jodi Picoult gives rise to that, lifting our voices up together towards the beautiful sky.
In case you didn’t know, there is currently a tumblr boycott happening due the new censorship regulations. It is a 24-hour boycott happening over the 24 hour period of December 17th, 2018. I’m posting about it on all my social media and pushed off this post to make sure that I could include #logoff2018 with this update. You should follow Log Off Protest on Twitter to find out how you can make your voice heard.