Thursday, September 1, 2011
Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult
June Nealon's life has been a ragged bundle of troubles. First, a drunken driver annihilates her happy marriage in an instant. Then, not long after she weds the police officer who saved her, tragedy reappears on an even larger scale: Seemingly without cause, a day laborer murders her new husband and her daughter. Seven months pregnant at the time of the slaughter, June somehow goes on, and homicidal carpenter Shay Bourne is led off, tried, convicted, and sentenced to death. For 11 years, he waits in his cell until, appeals exhausted, his appointed day of doom approaches. Then, strangely, even miraculously, a convergence begins to occur. Strange events unfold, leading many to believe that Shay is a shackled Messiah. Meanwhile, June must confront a crossroads decision: Can she believe or at least forgive this killer even if her only daughter's life is at stake? Jodi Picoult plunges us into another gripping story at women at extremes. (from GoodReads)
So it's good to know before you start reading this review that I'm obsessed with Jodi Picoult and all her books. Good thing she has like a million and writes a new one every year, so I always have plenty of reading material. I haven't disliked a single one of her novels and they usually get a rating of 8 to 10 consistently. That is the mark of good writing, my friends.
Change of Heart follows the same basic structure as all her other novels: multiple points-of-view, a contentious legal case at the heart of novel, controversial subject. The main case in Change of Heart is that Shay Bourne, an inmate on death row, wants to donate his heart to a little girl named Claire Nealon. However, there are two catches: one, New Hamsphire uses lethal injection, which will make a heart unsuitable for transplant, and two, he has been convicted of murdering Claire's father and half-sister. So there are many things going in the novel, but main question is whether the death penalty is morally wrong or right. As usual, Jodi Picoult deftly provides insightful commentary on the subject without sounding biased or judgmental. She is able to weave the stories of four characters, and include their feelings, hopes and dreams, into this engrossing legal drama.
Change of Heart is extremely readable, and hard to put down. Jodi Picoult always does such a fine job researching for her books, and I felt like I learned a lot from the novel. For example, an important part of Change of Heart are the Gnostic Gospels, which are supposedly stories that could have, but were not, included in the Bible. I found this so interesting because if these stories were included Christianity would be very different than it is today.
If you've read my other reviews for Jodi Picoult's books, you know I love them all, so it should come as no surprise that I highly recommend Change of Heart to everyone!
Rating: 9 out of 10.
FTC: borrowed from library.
2008/Atria Books/447 pages.