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The #1 New York Times bestselling author of Small Great Things returns with a powerful and provocative new novel about ordinary lives that intersect during a heart-stopping crisis.
When Vonita opened the doors of the Center that morning, she had no idea that it would be for the last time.
Wren has missed school to come to the Center, the sole surviving women's reproductive health clinic in the state, chaperoned by her aunt, Bex. Olive told Peg she was just coming for a check-up. Janine is undercover, a pro-life protester disguised as a patient. Joy needs to terminate her pregnancy. Louie is there to perform a service for these women, not in spite of his faith, but because of it.
When a desperate and distraught gunman bursts into the Center, opening fire and taking everyone hostage, Hugh McElroy is the police negotiator called to the scene. He has no idea that his fifteen-year-old daughter is inside.
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.
Jodi Picoult - one of the most fearless writers of our time - 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.
Book Review by Ben Hunter
A thump of energy from the get-go, A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult is focused on a sole-surviving women’s health clinic in a deep-south state. A “pro-life” gunman has stormed the place and is now deep in a hostage crisis. Each of these hostages has an urgent and moving story to tell, most of all Wren, who came that day past a sea of older men and women protesting her choice and her right to make it. Now on the other side of the barricaded door, her own father is the specialist police negotiator fighting to keep her alive.
It all sounds very powerful and dramatic, which it is. But “powerful and dramatic” this is the playing field on which Picoult truly shines. Such a high-stakes plot would overpower the work of many novelists but Picoult pours her heart into every moment of the nail-biting drama, infusing every page with life and feeling. She finds ways to connect what we so often see as irreparable divisions in our world. She speaks out where everything is thought to be spoken. She beams light into the dark spaces and lets the reader see them sparkle.
How does she do this again and again? Picoult has maintained the quality and credibility of her work in spite of massive commercial success, which isn’t an easy feat. In my opinion, Picoult is one of but a few authors in that unfathomable stratosphere of success (Hello Stephen King! Hello J.K. Rowling!) who strive to write books that are 100% their own, and who deliver smash hits each and every time.
Picoult’s has a large and devoted fan base for a very good reason. She always takes the time needed to meet the high benchmark set by her previous work, to write books that her readers will love. A Spark of Light, like all of her novels, is well worth waiting for.
As always, an excellent, thought provoking read from Jodi Picoult. Jodi always gives the reader the story from the perspective of each of her characters, without judgement. Well worth a read...and a re-read.
A wonderful read
This author has been and is a great read.
Really enjoyed this book
Just have the tissues ready
Jodi Picoult is never one to shy away from controversial topics. A well delivered story on abortion that is informative, well researched and makes you stop and think about both sides to the argument.
As with all Jodi Picoult books, this one deals with a tough subject. I love Jodi's books because she doesn't take a side & really makes you think about the subject. Jodi's books aren't for everybody & you need to be in the right frame of mind to read them. Can't wait fir the next one 😊
I'm struggling with this book, not her usual style
With all Jodi's other books I have struggled to put down, with one is different and I struggled to finish. I will look forward to her next book though.
yet another informative, insightful and thought-provoking re
A Spark of Light is the twenty-third novel by popular American author, Jodi Picoult. In Jackson, Mississippi, a women's clinic that provides, amongst other services, abortions is targeted daily by pro-life campaigners. They harass the staff and the clients as they enter and leave. But today is different: a gunman has entered the building and begun shooting.
Trained police hostage negotiator, Detective Lieutenant Hugh McElroy is soon on the scene to talk to the gunman, but within minutes learns that his daughter, Wren and his sister, Bex are inside the clinic along with other innocent hostages. As he tries to reason with the shooter, those inside struggle to help the injured without further enraging their captor.
The day's events, as they unfold over ten hours, are told in reverse, with an epilogue resolving the dramatic end of the first chapter. As the story follows the path that directs each character to their destiny at the Clinic, their thoughts and dialogue give the reader a deep appreciation of their nature, their challenges, their passions. The shooter's motivation and the series of events that leads up to his shocking actions illustrates how easily misunderstanding, desperation, a deficit of compassion and happenstance together can end in tragedy.
Picoult never hesitates to tackle controversial topics, nor does she in this latest work. The main issue is, of course, abortion, but many other related topics feature: the legal obstacles, the reason doctors and nurses work in these clinics, the for and against arguments, the situations where abortion seems appropriate, the fallacies that are spouted by pro-lifers, inequity between laws that protect the foetus and those protecting the mother, the legal inconsistencies between states, the import of illegal abortion drugs from China, and even the semantics surrounding the issue.
While many will feel that her treatment of the topic is balanced, Picoult's latest novel is bound to polarise readers. The depth of her
A Spark of Light
ISBN: 9781760110512 ISBN-10: 1760110515 Audience:
Number Of Pages: 384 Published: 2nd October 2018 Publisher: Allen & Unwin Country of Publication: AU Dimensions (cm): 23.4 x 15.3
About the Author
Jodi Picoult is the bestselling author of twenty-three novels: Songs of the Humpback Whale (1992), Harvesting the Heart (1994), Picture Perfect (1995), Mercy (1996), The Pact (1998), Keeping Faith (1999), Plain Truth (2000), Salem Falls (2001), Perfect Match (2002), Second Glance (2003), My Sister's Keeper (2004), Vanishing Acts (2005), The Tenth Circle (2006), Nineteen Minutes (2007), Change of Heart (2008), Handle With Care (2009), House Rules (2010), Sing You Home (2011), Lone Wolf (2012), The Storyteller (2013), Leaving Time (2014), Small Great Things (2016) and the YA novels Between The Lines (2012), and Off The Page (2015), co-written with her daughter Samantha van Leer. Her last nine novels have debuted at number one on the New York Times bestseller list.
She wrote five issues of the Wonder Woman comic book series for DC Comics. Her books are translated into thirty four languages in thirty five countries. Four – The Pact, Plain Truth, The Tenth Circle, and Salem Falls - have been made into television movies. My Sister’s Keeper was a big-screen release from New Line Cinema, with Nick Cassavetes directing and Cameron Diaz starring, which is now available in DVD. She received an honorary Doctor of Letters degree from Dartmouth College in 2010 and another from the University of New Haven in 2012.
Jodi serves on the advisory board of VIDA: Women in Literary Arts, a research-driven organization whose goal is to increase critical attention to contemporary women’s writing and to foster transparency around gender and racial equality issues in contemporary literary culture. She is part of the Writer’s Council for the National Writing Project, which recognizes the universality of writing as a communicative tool and helps teachers enhance student writing, and is a spokesperson for Positive Tracks/Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth, which supports youth-led charity fundraising through athletics. She is on the advisory committee of the New Hampshire Coalition Against the Death Penalty. She is also is the founder and executive producer of the Trumbull Hall Troupe, a New Hampshire-based teen theater group that performs original musicals to raise money for local charities; to date their contributions have exceeded $120K. She and her husband Tim and their three children live in Hanover, New Hampshire with two Springer spaniels, two rescue puppies, two donkeys, two geese, ten chickens, a smattering of ducks, and the occasional Holstein.
Picoult studied creative writing with Mary Morris at Princeton, and had two short stories published in Seventeen magazine while still a student. Realism - and a profound desire to be able to pay the rent - led Picoult to a series of different jobs following her graduation: as a technical writer for a Wall Street brokerage firm, as a copywriter at an ad agency, as an editor at a textbook publisher, and as an 8th grade English teacher - before entering Harvard to pursue a master’s in education. She married Tim Van Leer, whom she had known at Princeton, and it was while she was pregnant with her first child that she wrote her first novel, Songs of the Humpback Whale.