Monday, November 26, 2018

Julie's Review: A Spark of Light

Author: Jodi Picoult
Series: None
Publication Date: October 2, 2018
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Pages: 384
Obtained: publisher via NetGalley
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5
Bottom Line: Humanizing a very polarizing subject matter
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab
Summary: 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 to 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 crosshairs 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. One of the most fearless writers of our time, Jodi Picoult 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: A Spark of Light is no different than Ms. Picoult's other novels; she takes a sensitive subject and adds humanity to it. In this novel it's abortion and a shooting at a Center that performs abortions.  The story is told backwards so we are left with wondering what happens until the end of the book. This can be confusing at times but once you get into the characters and their stories you'll start to forget the backward timelines.

She gives each of the people in the Center a story and a reason for them being there. We meet Wren who is there for birth control with her Aunt because she didn't want to tell her father. Now her father is negotiating with the man who is holding them all hostage. We meet Dr. Ward who flies around the country performing abortion despite (or because) of his strong Catholic faith. He helps women who he feels have exhausted all the options. Then there is Joy who was there to have an abortion and was recovering from it. Perhaps the most shocking is Janine and her backstory or maybe it's not shocking at all. We have a nurse, Izzy, who is the real hero of the story due to her ability to jump in and save lives.

It is quite evident even before the authors note that she did her research for this subject matter. I don't really think that she aimed to change views but wants to make people understand the dangers of a world that thinks extremely on either end. It is dangerous for women to even walk into one of the clinics regardless that abortions is minor compared to all the other medical offerings.

 I highly recommend A Spark of Light for fans of well researched and complicated fiction.



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