A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult
Penguin Random House: 10/2/18
eBook review copy; 384 pages
A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult is a highly recommended
timely novel that tackles both sides of the abortion issue.
During one fall day at the Center, a women’s
reproductive health services clinic, a gunman enters, opens fire, and takes everyone inside hostage. A Spark of Light
follows what happens in the clinic during this one day - starting with
events from 5 PM and then moving back in time to 8 AM. Hugh McElroy, a
negotiator, has his 15 year-old daughter, Wren,
and sister Bex, inside. Also inside are a Dr. Louie, nurse Izzy,
Olive, Joy, Janine, and several
other women. As the events of the day move backwards in time, the
backstory of the characters involved in the hostage situation are told.
First, this is a Jodi Picoult novel so there is no doubt that it is
well-written and the character development is phenomenal. Along with
exceptional writing, Picoult is known for tackling controversial issues
in her novels and this is no exception. She is also known for doing
research on her topics and trying to present both sides of the heated
topics. This results in creating characters that are portrayed as real
people with reasons for why they believe what they do and why they act
the way they do. A Spark of Light should result in many heated
book club arguments. Picoult includes an author's note with additional
information from her research. She also adds her own personal thoughts,
which I appreciated.
My issue with A Spark of Light is the choice to start with the
end of the day, with the heart-stopping explosive situation, and then...
poof, back an hour in time. While I appreciate the fact the Picoult is
willing to try something new and take some risks by employing the
backwards-in-time format, I really didn't like it. Learning about the
backstory of the characters kept me reading while anticipating getting
back to the end of the day and what happened. For me, the book’s reverse
chronological structure took away from the actual story.
My review copy was courtesy of Penguin Random House.