• Clarissa Laws

#BOOKSHELFIE: A SPARK OF LIGHT BY JODI PICOULT


I was extremely eager to get my hands on the latest novel from Jodi Picoult. She has been one of my favorite writers since I was in middle school reading My Sister's Keeper, and her works of fiction never fail to capture my attention for hours on end. One of my favorite things about Jodi Picoult is that she almost always throws a curveball at the end of her books that catches even the most seasoned readers off guard. A Spark of Light was particularly exciting to me because I thought that the plot sounded extremely socially relevant as well as being a subject that resonates with me on a personal level. Jodi's latest work tells the story of the Center, a women's reproductive health clinic, on its most tense day. A pro-life gunman shows up and either kills or takes hostage everyone inside. The story focuses on the handful of hostages, all there for a different reason, one of the hostage's father, a cop on the scene, and the gunman himself. It is told in rotating narration from each point of view. The narration is interesting, because the plot moves backward by hour, developing in reverse order, up until the very end. I found this writing style confusing at first and actually thought that my book had been printed incorrectly...don't laugh at me.

There were a lot of things to love about this book. The characters were extremely believable and the author did an incredible job of telling both sides of one of the most controversial subjects of our time. Critical subjects were explored, such as where the line should be drawn between the rights of a mother and those of an unborn child. The writing style was unique in the way that it was told in reverse. However, overall, I found this novel to be quite dull. If I hadn't liked the characters so much, I think I would have put it down about 1/3 through. I was expecting a much faster paced plot based on the jacket description, but this book wasn't just slow, it hardly developed at all from the first chapter. Because you are essentially told how the book ends at the very start, there were no real twists and turns along the way. My opinion is that Jodi Picoult did this because the book was intended to be a study of the subject of women's reproductive health clinics rather than a suspense-filled hostage story. The "twist" that was revealed at the very end of the book was something I picked up on at the very beginning, and I actually expected the "twist" to be that I was wrong about my assumption. I would recommend this book to any curious readers because the subject is important and recognizing the opposite side's point of view was pretty new for me. But, if you are looking for an intense plot, you should look elsewhere.