A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult

I’ve been a fan of Jodi Picoult for a very long time, so I didn’t even have to check the blurb to find out what A Spark of Light was about. I just bought it.

A Spark of Light is set almost entirely in ‘The Center for women’s reproductive health’. While women can go there to get the pill or to find out that they’ve got cancer, most women go there for an abortion. Set in deeply religious Mississippi, the Center is barricaded daily by protestors who believe it offers little more than legalised murder.

The story begins as a hostage situation with a lone gunman at the Center is nearing its conclusion. It follows the gunman, the negotiator, the Center’s doctors and nurses and the women who were there for treatment. The reader finds out the many and complex reasons why women had ended up there – and why staff had chosen to work there.

Interestingly (and at times frustratingly), the story works backwards, hour by hour. So it starts at 4pm and works back to 9am. It took me a while to get to grips with this device and I did occasionally have to look back in the book to remind myself who was who, and what had happened to them. The other downside of it starting at 4pm, before the action was fully concluded, is that the reader never actually finds out what happened to some of the characters in the end. Did they live or did they die? I know it didn’t fit with the way the book was written, but I found myself sufficiently interested in the characters that I wanted to know how things turned out for them.

As a UK reader, I like to read about different cultures, but I found this whole anti-abortion thing a bit TOO different. I know there are people in the UK who believe that abortion is wrong, but I think they are in the minority and it’s certainly not something that rules people’s lives, as it seems to do with some of the characters in this book. For someone who knows abortions are available in hospitals on the NHS with none of this fuss, the big issues of the book were quite alien to me.

However, this is a very good read, and I would definitely recommend it if you enjoy a moving book and aren’t put off by a little bit of gore.

(But it’s not quite as good as Jodi Picoult’s Small Great Things, which I consider to be a brilliant read and easily her best book to date.)

A Spark of Light, A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult, Jodi Picoult, Book review

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Author: Sarah Mummy

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16 Comments

  1. I will add that to my list thank you for the recommendation. I had never read any of her books before but read Small Great Things on holiday last year and couldn’t put it down. I loved the fact that I actually learnt quite a lot from the book and it was such a great story.

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    • Small Great Things is a really special book. This is almost as good.

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    • You’re very welcome, it’s definitely well worth a read!

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  2. I took a break from reading Jodi Piccoult’s books because I found some of them started to sound similar to each other. This sounds like a very different topic but I think I would rather read Small Great Things.

    #ReadWithMe

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    • I know what you mean! They were coming out in very quick succession and we’re getting a bit similar. Small Great Things definitely took things to a new level though and I can’t recommend it highly enough. This one is very good, but not quite to that standard.

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  3. I still haven’t got round to reading any books by this author. It does sound a strange way of telling the tale backwards #readwithme

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    • She’s a very talented writer and I would recommend pretty much any of her books, with the exception of Lone Wolf. I did find the backwards story confusing at times.

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  4. I read this one quite a while ago and I have to say I felt the same as you re the way it was set out with the timings but over all I found it all quite poignant. Thanks for sharing with #readwithme

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    • I would definitely recommend it, but I perhaps would have preferred it written in a conventional order!

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  5. I’ve never read any Jodi Picoult but this cover sooooo makes me want to! #readwithme

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    • I would definitely recommend Jodi Picoult, she is a very good writer. I’ve been reading her books for years.

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  6. I put lots of Jodi Picoult books out on the shelves at the charity shop this morning. I’ll check next time I go to see if they have this and Small Great Things 🙂

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    • I would definitely recommend you snapping them up if the charity shop does have them!

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  7. I haven’t read many Jodi Picoult books and I like the sound of how it is written although I think I would be frustrated about not finding out what happened to some of the characters too.
    #ReadWithMe

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    • This one is definitely worth a read! Although I really would have liked to find out what happened to some of the characters.

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