A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult
Many, many thanks to Random House for my free copy! A Spark of Light was one of my most anticipated releases of 2018 as Jodi Picoult is my all time favorite author and I’m honored to be able to provide an early review. I’m also going to the very first stop on her book tour on Wednesday. I’ll be sure to let you all know how that goes as well.
Goodreads Synopsis: The warm fall day starts like any other at the Center—a women’s reproductive health services clinic—its staff offering care to anyone who passes through its doors. Then, in late morning, a desperate and distraught gunman bursts in and opens fire, taking all inside hostage.
After rushing to the scene, Hugh McElroy, a police hostage negotiator, sets up a perimeter and begins making a plan to communicate with the gunman. As his phone vibrates with incoming text messages he glances at it and, to his horror, finds out that his fifteen-year-old daughter, Wren, is inside the clinic.
But Wren is not alone. She will share the next and tensest few hours of her young life with a cast of unforgettable characters: A nurse who calms her own panic in order save the life of a wounded woman. A doctor who does his work not in spite of his faith but because of it, and who will find that faith tested as never before. A pro-life protester disguised as a patient, who now stands in the cross hairs of the same rage she herself has felt. A young woman who has come to terminate her pregnancy. And the disturbed individual himself, vowing to be heard.
Told in a daring and enthralling narrative structure that counts backward through the hours of the standoff, this is a story that traces its way back to what brought each of these very different individuals to the same place on this fateful day.
Jodi Picoult—one of the most fearless writers of our time—tackles a complicated issue in this gripping and nuanced novel. How do we balance the rights of pregnant women with the rights of the unborn they carry? What does it mean to be a good parent? A Spark of Light will inspire debate, conversation . . . and, hopefully, understanding.
Review: Jodi Picoult knows how to tackle the most relevant and controversial topics of our time. A woman’s right to choose is something I feel very strongly about. Between that and the fact that there is a shooter situation (Nineteen Minutes is my favorite novel of hers) I knew I was in for an emotional read. I won’t get on a soap box about reproductive rights, because that’s not what I’m here for and I know I won’t change anyone else’s mind. I think this is an important read no matter which side you’re on. It certainly gave me some insight to the pro-life argument.
Firstly, I’d like to address Picoult’s writing style. Her writing is what got me hooked on multiple narrators and alternating timelines. This one is a little different. It’s written backwards starting at 5:00pm and goes back each hour until 8:00am. Within each section there are multiple narrators, but each narrator’s section only lasts anywhere from a few paragraphs to a few pages. It was more difficult to keep track of who was who in this novel than her previous works. Once I got used to it, I fell in love with each and every character.
From what I can remember, I’ve only read one other book written in reverse: All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda. When you begin a book that starts at the end, you can’t help but wonder “How can there possibly be any big reveals or suspense when I know how it’s going to end?” If you’ve read even one of her previous novels, you know she’s going to find some way to shock you. She has a way of putting information right in front of your face, but somehow it’s impossible to see what you’re looking at until she’s ready to show you. This book was no exception. I did expect the reveal to involve a different set of characters than it did, but perhaps that was the point.
My only complaint is that it left some unanswered questions at the end, and I just wanted it to keep going.
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publication Date: October 2, 2018
Page Count: 352
Overall Rating: 5/5