A Spark of Light

Jodi Picoult. Ballantine, $28.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-345-54498-8
Drama abounds in Picoult’s latest issue-driven novel (following Small Great Things) in which a hostage crisis in a women’s health center/abortion clinic provides a look at a volatile subject. George Goddard, a lone gunman seeking revenge for his daughter’s abortion, busts into the clinic in Jackson, Miss., killing and wounding several staff and patients. He holds a handful of them hostage, including Wren and Bex, the 15-year-old daughter and adult sister of Hugh McElroy, the police hostage negotiator assigned to the crisis. Meanwhile, Beth, a teenager in a hospital in Oxford, Miss., whose attempts to have a legal abortion were thwarted, takes medication to abort her 16-week-old fetus and nearly dies from blood loss. She is brought to a hospital and her life is saved, but the state prosecutor’s office accuses her of murder upon finding out the reasons for her condition. Picoult’s extensive research shines throughout, but the book’s reverse chronological structure interferes with the complicated back stories, which include the gunman’s reasons for going on a rampage; a doctor’s path to performing abortions; why a pro-life believer goes undercover to the clinic to obtain damaging evidence; and the relationship between Wren, Bex, and Hugh. Nevertheless, this is a powerful story that brings clarity to the history of abortion and investigates the voices on both sides of the issue. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/20/2018
Release date: 10/02/2018
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 384 pages - 978-0-345-81341-1
Paperback - 400 pages - 978-0-345-81342-8
Paperback - 400 pages - 978-0-345-54500-8
Library Binding - 978-1-4104-6375-3
Compact Disc - 978-1-984828-09-5
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-987145-99-1
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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