Author: Jodi Picoult
Genre: Literary Fiction
Format: Hardcover 368 pages
Release Date: 30 October 2018 (Hardcover)
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
I would like to thank the publisher and the author for the opportunity to read this book via NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. I would also like to say happy publication day as A Spark of Light is now available for everyone to read!
The Centre for women’s reproductive health offers a last chance at hope – but nobody ends up there by choice.
Its very existence is controversial, and to the demonstrators who barricade the building every day, the service it offers is no different from legalised murder.
Now life and death decisions are being made horrifyingly real: a lone protester with a gun has taken the staff, patients and visitors hostage.
Starting at the tensest moment in the negotiations for their release, A Spark of Light unravels backwards, revealing hour by urgent hour what brought each of these people – the gunman, the negotiator, the doctors, nurses and women who have come to them for treatment – to this point.
And certainties unwind as truths and secrets are peeled away, revealing the complexity of balancing the right to life with the right to choose.
You can order your copy of ‘A Spark of Light’ on Amazon at:
I don’t really know where to start reviewing this book as I haven’t read a book that has moved me and had me questioning my thoughts and beliefs in the way I have since finishing this book in such a long time. To say the book has been thought-provoking for me would be a complete understatement!
The book starts in the most dramatic of ways in the middle of a hostage negotiation whereby a man has entered a clinic for women’s reproductive health (primarily offering abortions) killed some and taken others hostage. What makes matters worse is we discover that the policeman tasked with trying to talk the hostage taker down actually has a daughter and sister inside the clinic at the mercy of the crazed gunman.
There are various characters introduced through these early chapters who are all involved with the centre in some way or another. We have the women themselves who are there seeking an abortion, we have a doctor who performs the procedures, we have workers at the clinic, we have an activist who has managed to secretly gain access into the clinic as a mole trying to uncover failings of the clinic and it’s staff, and there are some characters who are there as moral support and some who are there seeking help from the clinic for the other services they offer.
Usually for me if a book has too many characters I can sometimes get turned around but that was definitely not the case here. Every single character had their own unique part to play in this story and was developed with a back story and without even one of these characters the story wouldn’t have been the same.
The story unfolds from all these different characters points of view and whether you are for or against abortion, the author gives an extremely well rounded view of this controversial subject from every angle. This is an extremely sensitive topic to deal with there is no doubt about that, but the author tells the story with grace and no bias one way or the other.
The story is told in reverse and then works back through the hours leading up to the hostage situation and leading us through the characters lives and what bought them to be in that fateful situation. Even though you effectively start at the end and work back to the beginning there is so much back story to each character that is revealed as each hour passes that the tension is on a knife edge throughout the whole book.
I really enjoyed how the author chose to tell the story in this way and it worked so well for this particular plot and these particular characters. By working back through the story in this way you don’t actually start to find out until the end the hows and whys of why each particular character came to be in the clinic on that day and sometimes it wasn’t always for the initial reasons I first thought.
This book isn’t about what’s right or what’s wrong, it’s not about whether you’re for or against, it’s about presenting two sides to every story, it’s about developing us as people and having the knowledge to understand that despite what we may believe there is always someone who’s going to think differently, but not judging people for their difference of opinion but trying to understand and sympathise with them instead.
I haven’t read a book that stirred up this many emotions in me for a while, if ever. Upon finishing I actually felt a bit exhausted, but in a good way. The author took me on one hell of a journey with this book and I came away with some new perspectives on issues that I hadn’t considered before. Ive really got so much I could say about this book but all I really want to say is read it, it’s amazing, you won’t regret it! This is easily one of my top reads of 2018.
About the Author
Jodi Picoult is the author of twenty four internationally bestselling novels, including MY SISTER’S KEEPER, HOUSE RULES and THE STORYTELLER, and has also co-written two YA books with her daughter Samantha van Leer, BETWEEN THE LINES and OFF THE PAGE. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and three children.
Her most recent adult novel SMALL GREAT THINGS first published in the UK on 22nd November 2016. It was both a Sunday Times and New York Times bestseller, as well as a Richard and Judy Book Club 2017 pick.
Her new adult novel, A SPARK OF LIGHT publishes in the UK on 30th October 2018.
Follow Jodi Picoult on Twitter @JodiPicoult and find out more at http://www.jodipicoult.co.uk or on Facebook/JodiPicoultUK.
For more reviews and updates you can follow me on Twitter @BooksBucks