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Thursday, 1 November 2018

#BookReview A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult

About the book

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 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 cross hairs 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.

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.

Published by Hodder & Stoughton

Purchase Links


This is definitely a book that will cause a great amount of debate and deals with a very emotive subject in an extremely clever, thoughtful and considerate way.

You are thrown straight into the story with a hostage situation at an Abortion Clinic underway. The story is told back to front and this works so well in allowing the frenetic pace of the action grab you in a completely different way. You get to understand the back stories of all of the characters, hear their views on the subject of abortion and find out how past events shape how their minds think now.

At the centre of the story is Wren, a young girl who chose today to go to the clinic to get birth control - wrong place, wrong time. Her father is a police hostage negotiator and is involved in the outside chaos so his panic and fear in not doing things the wrong way is plain for all to see. He has a vested interest in one of the hostages. And then there is George who is the man who started all this by entering the building with a gun - what has driven him to this action?

I think the author has done a wonderful job of not preaching on this subject. Abortion is a topic that raises so many emotions from people on both sides of the debate that it is often difficult to have sensible conversations about it. But with this cast of characters she allows ALL points of view - from medical to religious to name but two - and every point gets a fair hearing. It often goes into graphic detail of the process which doesn't make for pleasant reading but it does give a balanced overview and it was so thought provoking that I was gripped every day. I read this via The Pigeonhole app so the story came in 10 sections, which was a great way of breaking down the story and allowed me time to gather my thoughts each day before the next installment.

This book will not be for everyone - from the subject involved to the way it was told (back to front) - but I found it to be thoroughly engaging and made for compelling reading


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