Sunday, January 13, 2013

Book #82: Change of Heart

Book #82: Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult
5/5 stars

Once again, Jodi Picoult delivers in her 2007 novel that tackles tough subjects such as religion and the death penalty. If you aren't hooked on her novels yet, what are you waiting for?!

June, a woman who has suffered the loss of a husband and child gets no break, when her remaining child, who never got the chance to meet her father, is growing weaker by the day. Her daughter is desperately in need of a heart transplant, yet she is racing against time, as she comes closer to death every day that she waits for a donor. Meanwhile, Shay, the murderer of June's husband and first daughter resides in jail, as the first death row prisoner in New Hampshire in over 60 years. He is simply waiting to die, having lost all of his appeals.

However, things start to change in the jail, and people start to wonder if Shay is not in fact a bad person, but perhaps a Messiah. Shay even has a priest who was on the jury that convicted him doubting whether he was truly guilty. Yet Shay is also in a battle with time, as his life is drawing to a close, in a very different way than June's daughter. He finds a chance for salvation before death, but it involves the cooperation of June, who is having an understandably difficult time in life, and who is not receptive to helping the man who screwed everything up for her.

I wish I could say more, but what I love about Jodi Picoult is that her novels include so many twists and so much suspense, up until the very last page. What I can say is that this novel poses some deep questions about organized religion and the death penalty. It really made me think, and I wanted to talk to everyone about the book because it has some great discussion points. The novel is told from four different viewpoints: June's, Father Michael's (the priest previously mentioned), Lucius's (a fellow inmate of Shay's), and Maggie's (a lawyer who becomes involved with Shay's case). The changing narration makes the story move quickly and offers different ways of looking at the intense situations presented. Plus, it helps keep the suspense of, something that Picoult has mastered.

I am a lover of all of Picoult's novels, and Change of Heart was certainly no exception. I love that she stares controversial subjects right in the face, and clearly does her research, in this and all of her novels, making them so much more realistic. This would be a great novel for a book club, or just to read on your own...just make sure to find me or someone else who has read it when you're finished, because there's so much to discuss! Happy reading =)

What I'm reading now...

1. White Swan, Black Swan: Stories by Adrienne Sharp (short stories)

2. The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer (YA Science Fiction)
3. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (classic)

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