A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult

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A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult

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Buy A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: General Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Holly Lewtas
Reviewed by Holly Lewtas
Summary: This topical novel presents both sides of the ever-present abortion debate in the form of a harrowing, thought-provoking story that will stay with you long after you’ve turned the last page.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 368 Date: October 2018
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1444788129

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The Center is the last remaining abortion clinic in the state of Mississippi and is the source of great controversy when it comes to the Pro-Life versus Pro-Choice debate. It is at The Center where one man, George Goddard, takes it upon himself to get revenge for the loss of his grandchild, in the form of a mass-shooting. What arises is a novel that details the lives of the remaining hostages, as well as other characters central to the story. One of these characters is Hugh McElroy, a hostage negotiator called in to help deflate the situation, who soon discovers that his sister and daughter, Wren, happened to be at the clinic that day.

"A Spark of Light" is not told in your typical format, instead, the novel opens in the penultimate hour of the disastrous event, with the following chapters going back in time by one hour until you reach the period before the shooting began. At first, I couldn't help but wonder if it would read better in a more traditional, chronological format, yet as I delved deeper into the story I realised just how effective this was. Picoult is able to create suspense by delicately picking which pieces of information she gives to the reader and what they are left to speculate. When reading the blurb of this novel I was apprehensive about reading it as I thought it might be too brutal. However, by starting the novel almost at the end, it lessens the daunting aspects as you know the status of most characters, whether they are alive or dead, leaving room for a heavier focus on the bond you form with the characters instead.

Each chapter is split into sections that focus on one character, often flitting between the situation at hand, and the actions that led them there. My favourite part of this novel was how well you get to know every character and follow them throughout their story. It shows how several people are all brought to this clinic, which then allows Picoult to explore the various scenarios that can lead a woman to an abortion clinic. An interesting, more subtle part to this novel was the parallels between good and bad characters, helping to add a humane, relatable side to even the most awful of characters.

The main theme of this novel is clearly abortion yet Picoult does not tread lightly and shows the great lengths to which extremists from both sides of the debate can go to. By presenting different cases of how conception can happen, whether it be rape, misguided affection, etc., it highlights just how blurry the lines are when it comes to when an abortion is acceptable and when it isn't. Picoult covers all bases in this novel and has clearly well-researched the topic at hand, even going as far as discussing women who are against abortion, even though they have had one themselves.

Picoult has created an expertly written novel that I would urge everyone to read due to how well she presents the abortion debate. This novel contains elements of humour that are then contrasted with shockingly honest truths, such as how we live in a world where in some places "the waiting period to get an abortion was longer than the waiting period to get a gun". Whether you enjoy the plot or not, you will only benefit from reading "A Spark of Light".

If like myself you are eager to read more by this author then I would recommend Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult which deals with a shooting in an entirely different manner.

Buy A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult at Amazon.co.uk


Buy A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult at Amazon.com.

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