Publisher: Random House Publishing Group, Ballantine Books
Date of publication: October 2nd, 2018
Genre: General Fiction, Women’s Fiction
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 to 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 crosshairs 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.
I went into reading A Spark of Light with an open mind. I am not a person who likes to read things that can start debates and cause strife in real life. Which is why I stick to romance/fantasy/horror..etc. So reading A Spark of Light for review is not something I would do. But I liked the blurb. I wanted to see what the author had to say about the Pro-Choice/Pro-Life debate. I wanted to see where this book would go. I will tell you all this. I was not expecting such a well-written book that explored both sides of the debate.
What I liked about this book was how it was written. It started at the end and ended at the beginning. This is a different written style then what I am used to and it could have failed. But, for me, it didn’t. I felt that it revealed everything at the right time. It wasn’t without its faults. There were times, at the beginning of the chapters, where I was confused by what was going on. But that cleared up after the first paragraph. Other than that, this writing style worked for me.
I also liked how the characters were portrayed. Instead of having a clear line between good and bad, the author blurred it. Which I thought was fantastic. Because of the topic she chose to write about, those lines should be blurred. The only one whose line wasn’t blurred was the shooter, George. But even then, I couldn’t help but have some pity for him.
I did like how the author handled the Pro-Choice/Pro-Life debate. She explored both sides and why the people felt the way they did. Take, for instance, the Dr. His decision to do abortions came from his mother dying of one in a backroom one when he was younger. He was deeply faithful but he also understood that women needed the correct medical help if they wanted to end a pregnancy. Or the undercover pro-choicer. She was trying to ease the guilt for an abortion she had when she was a teenager. She felt by being a fanatic about it, she would be absolved of sin. The author made me think about what each of those people was going through. What brought them to that clinic at that exact point in time.
The end of the book was good but I wasn’t satisfied. I wanted to know how the other storylines ended. The only one that was mentioned was Wren and we knew what happened to the other people who were within the clinic. Also, I wanted to know what happened to Beth. My frustration level with the ending was through the roof.
What I liked about A Spark of Light:
- Well written book
- The writing style
- How the author handled the Pro-Choice/Pro-Life debate.
What I disliked about A Spark of Light:
- The shooter
- How Beth was treated in the hospital
- The ending
I gave A Spark of Light a 4-star review. This is a well-written book that will make you think about the Pro-Choice/Pro-Life debate. I did have an issue with storylines not being ended and that did figure into my review. Other than that, I enjoyed reading this book.
I would give A Spark of Light an Adult rating. There is sex, but it is not graphic. There is language. There is violence. There are also scenes where abortions are done (both at home and at the clinic). I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.
I would reread A Spark of Light. I would also recommend this book to family and friends. But I would throw in a warning about the abortion scenes.
I would like to thank Ballantine Books, Random House Publishing Group, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review A Spark of Light.
All opinions stated in this review of A Spark of Light are mine.
**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**