Happy Monday! Today I have a review of the much-anticipated newest release from Jodi Picoult, A Spark of Light! I first experienced reading a book by Jodi Picoult several years ago with My Sister’s Keeper. It’s memorable to me because it was one of the three times in my life I remember having the flu! That book was an emotional read, and I’ve since read several of her books with the same memorable experience (minus the flu, thankfully!). A Spark of Light will be published by Random House/Ballantine on October 2, 2018.
As a fan of her writing, I have noticed Jodi Picoult’s topics have gotten more fiery as the years have passed, and they continue to be thought-provoking.
The Center is a women’s clinic serving all their health needs. Everything changes when a man with a gun enters the building, begins shooting, and takes everyone hostage. My first questions are who is this man and why is he so distraught? I knew there would be more to his story.
Hugh McElroy is a hostage negotiator for the police. He arrives on scene and completes all the typical first steps in a grim and terrifying situation like this only to have his phone buzz with the news that his teen daughter, Wren, is one of the hostages.
Wren shares her story inside the building, while also shedding light on the other hostages, including clinic workers among others. There is Catholic Dr. Louie who believes he exercises his faith in his daily work. A nurse hero is also there. Also inside is a pro-life protestor who disguised herself as a patient that day only to find herself on the other side of the rage she herself was feeling. The characters in this novel are what make it a cut above. I felt empathy for each complex character; it was easy to with the way they were written.
The structure of the book is interesting. It goes backward through the day of the stand-off. I enjoyed it because it was different, but I had to remind myself a few times the story moves backward retracing how everyone arrives at the clinic that day.
As with all her books, it seems as if Spark of Light is meant to ignite a dialogue about an important topic to many. The storytelling is second to none, all the varied emotions are checked off, the research is firmly present, and the exploration of both sides is offered. Fans of Picoult should find much to love here.
I’m ecstatically grateful I had the opportunity to read an early copy of this book. Thank you to Random House/Ballantine. All opinions are my own.
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.
Have you read Spark of Light, or is it on your TBR? Any favorite books from Jodi Picoult? Happy Reading! ~ Jenni THR