‘A Spark of Light’ by Jodi Picoult

This was vintage Picoult with a bit of a twist, although not in the tale, but in the structure. Picoult always takes on a big controversial issue and extensively examines it, but never taking sides. Her characters are clearly on opposing sides, but sometimes they gain empathy for each other and find in their own stance something that might be questionable, thus maturing in their own understanding. Seeing something from someone else’s point of view is something that sadly seems to have gone missing in our world today.

In this case the issue is abortion and the novel begins with a shooting/hostage-taking at an abortion clinic. The author describes the event and then backs up an hour in time every chapter after that, leaving the epilogue to explain a few things, not even all, (which is kind of a cheap trick in this case because the novel is going back in time the reader has no choice but to hang in there, or skip to the end). It’s a different sort of structure for Picoult, perhaps she was trying to break out of a formulaic box. At any rate, in this case, I found the reverse timeline made the book drag on because all of the action had taken place at the beginning and the rest was backstory. Interesting, but not very compelling, and I felt that it resulted in too much dwelling on and rehashing of the tragic attack which made the book unnecessarily traumatic. Picoult is known also for a breathtaking twist, but again, in this one the only twist was small and predictable. However, the ‘Author’s Note’ at the end of the book was excellent, where in essay form, she discusses abortion in the US and the wider world. Clearly her research was thorough as usual, but it didn’t translate into an amazing story for me this time.

2 responses to “‘A Spark of Light’ by Jodi Picoult

  1. Wow! You have been reading up a storm! My favorite Picoult is Small Great Things. I found it powerful and gave me a good glimpse of white privilege. I’m currently loving The Dress by Jennifer Robson!

    • Haha, don’t be impressed. That series I started last year, and a few books I was half way through and a vacation helped me to finish some up. I did read all of the Canada Reads contenders but they were all short ones. I also thought Small Great Things was very good. Oh, thanks for the reminder, I’ll put the Robson book on my list. It looks really good!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s