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Search tags: Jodi-Picoult
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review 2018-11-01 20:38
A Spark of Light
A Spark of Light - Jodi Picoult

As a fan of Jodi Picoult for years now, I of course was more than excited to get her latest novel A Spark of Light. While nothing she writes will compare to My Sister’s Keeper (in my humble opinion), one of the things I love most about Jodi is her ability to tackle tough subjects and turn them into a conversation via a fictional story with rich characters.

 

Her latest novel is centered around the age-old argument of pro-life or pro-choice regarding abortion, as well as women’s rights. 

 

The description of the book on Goodreads reads:

 

The warm fall day starts like any other at the Center—a women’s reproductive health services clinic—its staff offering care to anyone who passes through its doors. Then, in late morning, a desperate and distraught gunman bursts in and opens fire, taking all inside hostage.

After rushing to the scene, Hugh McElroy, a police hostage negotiator, sets up a perimeter and begins making a plan to communicate with the gunman. As his phone vibrates with incoming text messages he glances at it and, to his horror, finds out that his fifteen-year-old daughter, Wren, is inside the clinic.

But Wren is not alone. She will share the next and tensest few hours of her young life with a cast of unforgettable characters: A nurse who calms her own panic in order to save the life of a wounded woman. A doctor who does his work not in spite of his faith but because of it, and who will find that faith tested as never before. A pro-life protester, disguised as a patient, who now stands in the crosshairs of the same rage she herself has felt. A young woman who has come to terminate her pregnancy. And the disturbed individual himself, vowing to be heard.

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.

One of the most fearless writers of our time, Jodi Picoult 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.

 

As a woman and parent myself, I don’t necessarily condone or support the abolishment of abortion; however, I am neither pro-life or pro-choice, but rather pro women’s rights. I believe every woman has a right to choose what happens to her body, even if that involves pregnancy. I also understand that we are talking about a potential human growing inside of her and what rights that future child should have, but I also have the opinion that a baby is not “alive” until it is born, so how can something that hasn’t been born yet be “murdered”? And how can it be murder if it’s just tissue when most abortions occur? Do we allow tissue to have rights? By the time a fetus has a functional brain and fully developed heart and other organs, it is far too late to abort, so allowing the baby to have rights when it is more a baby than tissue makes sense, but do we value those rights over the rights of the woman carrying the potential baby?

 

I can’t answer these questions, nor can anyone, which is why we have such extreme opinions on both sides. These are the types of issues Jodi Picoult tackles in this novel. Every character is different and comes from a different angle regarding abortion and women’s rights. It is amazing to me how she can take such a controversial topic, include all sides of the argument, and interweave them into a crazy Venn diagram where all the opinions overlap and we are all left wondering, what is the right answer? How can we come to some sort of understanding as a country, and why do we have to resort to violence to be heard and feel understood?

 

While I don’t think this was her best novel to date (again, I'm biased with My Sister's Keeper), I do love the fact that she wrote this book during such a difficult and pivotal time in our country. Women died for their rights, to be equal to men, and it’s unreal how in 2018 this is still such a hot topic. There are many moments in this novel where she makes some poignant points through various characters’ dialogue, but perhaps the best thing she wrote was included in her author’s note, which reads as follows:

 

“Honestly, I do not believe we, as a society, will ever agree on this issue. The stakes are too high, and both sides operate from places of unshakeable belief. But I do think that the first step is to talk to each other—and more important, to listen. We may not see eye to eye, but we can respect each other’s opinions and find the truth in them. Perhaps in these honest conversations, instead of demonizing each other, we might see each other as imperfect humans, doing our best”.

 

One of the only issues I had with the book is there is a character, a background character that had a purpose and was the catalyst of the events of the gunman, but her story was not wrapped up in an appropriate way. Jodi sometimes leaves things to our imagination but this particular character inadvertently started the entire chain of events, yet we don’t know what becomes of her. While that was disappointing, the novel itself is still definitely worth a read. Especially if you’re a woman and especially if you have opinions about abortion and women’s rights. Perhaps reading this book will open your eyes to other perspectives. 

 

And thanks to Jodi Picoult for once again working her magic and tackling such difficult issues and making her readers do some critical thinking and possibly reevaluate where we stand, or how we treat each other.

 

Guest Review: Kara Kelly

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review 2018-10-02 17:55
This book is very disturbing and emotional read.
Nineteen Minutes - Jodi Picoult

Right now I've mixed feelings about it. On one hand I loved author's writing style and the story itself, on the other hand, I hated most of the characters. I guess it's because there wasn't much fictional about them, they acted and sounded too much like living breathing people, people prone to making mistakes, people doing things they never should, people treating others the way that was despicable no matter how you look at it.

Story was told from different point of views. All the characters were well developed, even if they weren't so likable. I hated most of them, no scratch that, I only liked one-the detective. That's it, and we didn't get to be in his head as much as I would've liked. But story wasn't about him so he didn't have much to add to it. Still it was good to get his POV now and then.

It's true that bullying is a real problem in many societies and it's also true that everyone who is bullied will have different reaction to it, but the trauma is real. Maybe that's why I hated everyone in this story so much, because I've very strong feelings about bullying and how teachers and parents deal with it. Also, note that we aren't talking about children here but teenagers and that makes it so much worse. By the time you're seventeen you should know right from wrong and it's so sad that so many don't.
Anyhow, the story is well written and if you don't mind sensitive topics, being inside the head of a murderer, and multiple POVs, then sure give it a read. Even though I hated it I still kept reading so you got to give author credit for that.

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review 2018-09-11 02:20
Where There's Smoke & Larger Than Life
Where There's Smoke (Short Story) and Larger Than Life (Novella) - Jodi Picoult,Kathe Mazur

"Where There's Smoke" is a short story, and Larger Than Life is a novella.  These two short pieces are mini-prequels to Leaving Time.  The first features psychic Serenity Jones, while the second is narrated by Alice, the elephant researcher whose disappearance in Leaving Time forms that book's central mystery.

 

This was a quick, four-hour listen, and was a bit like accessing DVD extras, filling in some background information on the characters in question.  The stories are not essential for readers of Leaving Time--I'm glad I read the novel first, but  I don't think that reading in the opposite order would hurt anyone's enjoyment of either work.

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review 2018-04-01 17:37
Small Great Things -- My Unpopular Opinion & Female Mansplaining
Small Great Things - Jodi Picoult

Though this has the qualities I associate with fiction, it felt a lot like being forced to listen to a room full of college kids who just read Nietzsche for the first time and come home to perform that knowledge for hours *at* me - without asking 1) if I already know this, 2) if I care to listen to all of their newfound knowledge, and 3) if I agree with their strong opinions.

 

That's how I felt for much of the second two sections of this book (and I won't even go near the author's note that follows -- beyond saying that it's the best example of mansplaining a woman could hope to portray.) I have no problem with a white writer writing a person of color. I do have a problem with a fiction that is only thinly disguised "racial sensitivity 101" built on a cadre of stereotypical "types." I felt like Jodi Picoult took a class (and I was right - she did!), saw the light, feels woke, got serious, and set out to explain it all to all of us, without asking us to join in the conversation - or what we could hope to bring to it - much like an author who assumes you don't know any of the big words she uses. It was the long passages of internal dialogue that killed this book dead for me. The "aha" moments that took up pages and pages and then more pages repeatedly were so awfully serious and so awfully lecture-like, they could have been lifted from racial sensitivity 101 -- which made them completely unbelievable because as we teach in those classes, changing one's racial mindset takes a long time and is an internal process that cannot be done through thoughts alone. Practice will help, awareness is key, but no change like this happens overnight. I've taught those classes, and they sound just like this book, with the caveat I just made about changing (even when you start out as a stereotype, like every single character in this book.) Nonfiction exists for a reason. I thought this was a story - not a lecture, but I was wrong. Jodi Picoult doesn't realize that she's become the white savior that Kennedy is supposed to portray.

 

The book felt extremely condescending to the reader. Picoult should now wait while I go take a class on writing, interview a few writers, then I will type my long, heartfelt, dissertation length "aha" moments in a story and she should be FORCED to read my new feelings about writing. Because that's just about how ridiculous the inner dialogue of her characters sounded to me.

Two books I can recommend to Picoult or anyone else who actually cares about race and all the feelings white people are now having that I've read this year that cover similar topics: So You Want to Talk about Race  and Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People about Race. If you want to go deeper, there are so many better books, both fiction and nonfiction.

 

The story's basic foundation could have held up a lovely tale. Picoult got indulgent with her newfound awareness and had her characters thinking and behaving in unrealistic ways to cram more of that knowledge into their heads, then she polished it off with an ending torn from a Disney Princess's wishbook. It all became very trite and downright silly by the end.

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review 2018-03-22 10:11
Ein wichtiges Thema
Kleine große Schritte: Roman - Jodi Picoult,Elfriede Peschel

Ruth Jefferson arbeitet schon seit Jahren als Säuglingsschwester. Sie hat viel Erfahrung in diesem Beruf und sie tut immer ihr bestes, damit es ihren kleinen Patienten und den Eltern gut geht. Mit viel Freude macht sie ihren Job. Dann trifft sie auf Turk Bauer und seine Frau Brit, die beiden wollen nicht, dass ihr Kind von einer Afroamerikanerin angefast wird und die Klinikleitung wird informiert. Kurze Zeit später klebt ein Zettel auf der Akte des Kindes. Keine Behandlung durch afroamerikanisches Personal. Nach der Beschneidung des kleinen Kindes ist Ruth mit ihm alleine in einem Zimmer, als das Baby einen Atemstillstand erleidet. Ruth weiß nicht, wie sie handeln soll. Trotz der Bemühungen des Klinikpersonals verstirbt das Baby und die Eltern finden in der schwarzen Hebamme einen Sündenbock und sie sorgen nicht nur dafür, dass Ruth nicht mehr arbeiten darf, sie zeigen sie auch bei der Polizei an.

Jodi Picoult spricht in diesem Buch ein ernstes Thema an, den die Bauers sind offene Rassisten und Ruth sitzt nur aufgrund ihrer Hautfarbe vor Gericht.

Das Buch startet sehr spannend und interessant. Es ist schrecklich in die Gedankenwelt der Bauers einzutreten. Ich habe mich bei einigen Gedanken richtig erschrocken, denn es gibt ja leider wirklich Menschen die genauso denken, wie Turk Bauer.
Die Kapitel werden nicht nur aus der Sicht von Ruth und Turk erzählt, sondern auch von der Rechtsanwältin und Brit. Die Geschichte wird aus verschiedenen Blickwinkeln erzählt.

Der Prozess nimmt einen ziemlich großen Raum in dem Buch ein und ab da fand ich das Buch nicht mehr ganz so spannend. Es zieht sich alles wahnsinnig in die Länge und ich musste mehr als einmal zwingen das Buch wieder in die Hand zu nehmen.

Picoult gibt sich Mühe auch den unterschwelligen Rassismus, dem alltäglichen herauszuarbeiten, dennoch habe ich das Gefühl, dass sie über viele Sachen einfach hinweg geschrieben hat. Turk ist relativ klischeehaft und das gefiel mir nicht so gut.
Das Ende des Buches passte überhaupt nicht zu dem, was ich erwartet hatte. Es war komplet merkwürdig und sehr unbefriedigend.

Das Nachwort der Autorin ist sehr lesenswert.
Mich konnte das Buch nicht überzeugen, wenn man schon so ein Thema wählt, dann bitte in allen Facetten und ohne Klischees.

Ich habe das Buch von Bloggerportal bereitgestellt bekommen und bedanke mich herzlich dafür.

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