A Spark of Light

A Spark of LightA Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult
Published by Ballantine Books on October 2nd 2018
Pages: 352
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“Today, Wren McElroy thought, was not a good day to die.”

This book begins with a hostage situation at the local Center. The Center is a place for women (and teens) to go and get birth control, have gynecological examinations, and obtain abortions. It is known as a woman’s reproductive health services clinic. Naturally there are those who do not want such a clinic in their community and there are those who are thankful that it is there.

One day a man bursts into the clinic and begins firing. Another man, Hugh McElroy, a police hostage negotiator is called to the scene. He has been getting a flurry of texts from his daughter and learns that she is inside the health clinic and is one of the hostages. He also learns that his sister is with Wren and has been injured.

Wren and her aunt are not the only hostages. There are others and through the story we get to learn about each character, his/her past and why they are in the clinic that day. They either work at the Center or they are there for services. We are given each of their perspectives. This book is told in reverse. It starts with the hostage situation and goes back in time to the beginning of the day. For some this reverse story telling may work, for others, it may not. There is also a story-line being told in this book apart from the hostage, in a different location, but is connected to the hostage situation.

I requested this book without even knowing what the subject matter of this book would be, I didn’t care as I enjoy Jodi Picoult. She never shy’s away from controversial or uncomfortable subject matter and always does her homework. Some books I enjoy more than others. This was certainly the case with this book. What I appreciated the most was that this book was not preachy. The reader is never pushed to be pro-life or pro-choice. In the Author’s note she gives statistics and cites laws. I also enjoyed how she gave back story on the characters and his/her reason’s for being at the clinic that day.

I am teetering back and forth between a 3 and a 3.5 star rating for this book. I will admit, I wasn’t a fan of how this book was told in reverse. I might have enjoyed it more if it was told from beginning to end instead of end to beginning. What worked for me in this book were the various voices as I stated above. Plus, there is a little secret revealed at the end which leads to an aha moment. I appreciate that she took on such important and timely subject matter. Regardless of where one stands on the issues, I think she did a very good job of telling the story.

Thank you to Random House Publishing – Ballantine and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


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