When Hugh McElroy responds to a hostage situation at a women’s clinic he doesn’t realise that one of the hostages is his daughter, and he will do anything to save her.
We hear the story of women at the clinic, and the story of the gunman. Is there really a reason to be so strictly anti-abortion?
It’s no secret that I’m a Picoult fan (and this is a signed edition- eeek) so I was really looking forward to reading this one.
I think recently there has been a bit of a style change for Picoult. She still covers heartfelt topics, but they are wider somehow, and the books come off as more serious (certainly when it comes to this one and ‘Small Great Things‘). Picoult wrote of how she had wanted to write ‘Small Great Things’, or at least something on racism and neo-nazis, for a long time but had wanted to make sure she did it right, I wonder if it is a similar thing for ‘A Spark of Light’. Abortion is a controversial topic, and I feel there is a similar lack of understanding between sides (although I doubt you’ll get many people actually saying they’re pro-racism).
I should probably mention that I generally would consider myself to be pro-choice, although there are very few situations where I could imagine myself having an abortion. I don’t believe that my own preferences should be forced upon others, although I do know that for many abortion is more than just a medical ‘procedure’ and there should be support for those who choose to have one, both before and after, and I know this sort of thing can be seen as a barrier or dissuasive tactic.
Generally speaking Picoult is good at showing both sides of a story, and of showing the ‘bad guy’ as a real person who has a rational behind their actions. To a certain extent we did see this with the shooter, and other pro-lifers in ‘A Spark of Light’, but I did get the distinct feeling that Picoult herself is pro-choice. It’s not exactly that I didn’t see the motivation of the pro-lifers, or that there wasn’t more than the expected shown, it is more that I didn’t feel like there was enough to sympathise with their point of view.’
I suppose what I hoped to see was something more like ‘Nineteen Minutes‘ in which we can sympathise with a school shooter, but whilst we saw some motivation behind the shooter in ‘A Spark of Light’ I felt we didn’t really get to know enough of him to make us care.
There is also the issue that the story started at the end and worked backwards (except for the very end of the book) and that took a while for me to adjust to…although it probably would have helped if I read the chapter names!
I would recommend the book, and it might round your perspective a bit- whether you are pro-life or pro-choice. If you’re a Picoult fan you will almost definitely enjoy it. However there are better Picoult books out there, and I wouldn’t use it as a jumping off point.
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