Author: Jodi Picoult
Publisher: Random House Canada
Publication Date: October 2, 2018
The lives of ordinary people become intertwined when a gunman takes hostages at a women's clinic in the #1 New York Times bestselling author's latest.
At Mississippi's sole remaining women's reproductive services clinic, a gunman bursts in and takes its patients and staff hostage. The stories that brought these individuals to the clinic vary, from a woman awaiting cancer screening results to a protestor hoping to catch the clinic in a scandal that could be used in a pro-life campaign. Then there is the police hostage negotiator, whose daughter is also trapped inside the facility, and the gunman himself, who has a vendetta to carry out. Meanwhile, across the state, a seventeen-year-old woman lands in the hospital after an attempt to self-terminate her pregnancy and is subsequently charged by the pro-life DA for the murder of her unborn child. They, too, are connected to the events unfolding in the clinic.
As the book moves backward in time, each chapter set one hour earlier than the last, we learn how all these people and their stories are unwittingly connected--and that none of these characters' reasons for being where they are at this fateful place and time are exactly what it appears at first glance.
❃ I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. ❃
A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult is a book that really took me by surprise. Reading a novel in which you already know the ending to seems a little daunting. However, the format really seems to fit the story. The controversial topic of women’s reproductive rights is presented in a gripping and interesting way that doesn’t ask the reader to choose a side, but asks the reader to look at all the sides.
Reverse chronology is a plot structure that most definitely adds to the understanding of A Spark of Light. As the day moves back in time, more of what brought each of these characters to the clinic is revealed. Peeling back each individual’s layers after the knowledge of their fates is so eye-opening. This method has not been a favourite of mine in the past, but Picoult has definitely used this technique to raise awareness in a unique way.
The story is compelling and will have you on the edge of your seat. Also, the characters are interesting, as they represent different walks of life and have different points of view, yet they somehow all end up at the same place. Even though the end of the story is known at the start of the novel, there is so much to discover. The last part of the story holds a lot of detail and will surprise the reader.
At the heart of this novel is the exploration of women’s sexual and reproductive rights. The setting is a U.S. state where women are having a difficult time accessing certain services. It is heartbreaking to read, and at times can be quite graphic in nature. All sides are explored and the information presented by Picoult has been thoroughly researched. There is a very detailed author’s note at the end of the book that I found to be enlightening, and also contains resources for further reading.
This is the first novel that I have read by Jodi Picoult, and I am excited to read more of her work. I found myself so invested in A Spark of Light that I had a hard time setting it down. This is one story that has given me so much food for thought, and is still making me think long after reading.