Wednesday, October 3, 2018

A Spark of Light

A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult
Penguin Random House: 10/2/18
eBook review copy; 384 pages
ISBN-13: 9780345544988

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 police hostage 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.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Penguin Random House.

No comments: