Post by Pam Campbell
We begin at the end in Jodi Picoult’s latest mesmerizing audiobook, A Spark of Light. It speaks to her storytelling abilities that we’re able to follow along in reverse. The theme of the audiobook is controversial, but her writing is in top form. To be honest, I am at a loss as to where to begin this review. Trying to keep my personal beliefs about this topic to myself and simply review the story line, characters, writing, and world that Picoult has created is difficult. I’m going to borrow her method and start with how I normally end a review and work my way backwards.
At the heart of this story is a woman’s right to make decisions with regards to her body; her self; her worth. What Picoult brings to this sensitive subject is a somewhat balanced view of individuals on either side of the pro-life vs. pro-choice debate. Bahni Turpin does a wonderful job of bringing the characters to life and enhances the heightened atmosphere created by Picoult.
Exploring every aspect of women’s health and how it can affect those around us, Picoult takes a private matter and shines a light on how it becomes a public matter, exposing the raw emotions of why this topic is so provocative, and why there are such extreme opinions.
A Spark of Light is fast-paced, which made it difficult to press pause. Every chapter represents an hour in time on the fateful day when a women’s health center is held hostage. We are immediately taken to the end of the day and the end of the hostage situation. We are introduced to the survivors in disbelief, and to Hugh McElroy, the hostage negotiator and father of 15-year-old Wren, a hostage in the center.
The end unfolds before us, before we have bonded with the characters, before we know their motives. And it works. I was immediately invested in knowing how this came to pass. I wanted to know more about Wren, Hugh, Janine, Dr. Ward, Joy, Aunt Bex, and George. A Spark of Light begins like a newscast interrupting your daily programming to bring you a breaking story. It is a story that needs to be told and one that Picoult expertly delves into with passion, respect, and conviction.
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