Autumn Reading Challenge #6 – A Spark of Light Review

The beginning of November has arrived and with it comes my review for one of the books on my challenge list. With only 5 books remaining from my list I am optimistic that I may complete the whole challenge. Anyway lets get on with the review.

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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 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 cross hairs 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 was so excited when my wish was granted via NetGalley and I received and arc of this book. Jodi Picoult is one of my all time favourite authors so much so that I have all of her books in hardcover. For me a great author is someone who is not afraid to ask the tough questions, write about hard hitting subjects and make you question everything you thought about a particular subject. Picoult manages to do all of this and more with her powerful, hard hitting writing but she does so without forcing her own views on the reader.

From reading this book it is clear that Picoult has thoroughly done her research and has taken time to tell the story from every point of view. I love how the story was told in reverse order and hour by hour we learn what brought each person to the Center that day. There were plenty of revelations that I had not been expecting and lots of colourful characters, all playing a crucial part to the story. Two of my favourite characters were Olive and Izzy, the way they protected and helped the others in the hostage situation, above their own lives was heroic. I enjoyed reading their background stories and seeing how everything turned out for them.

Yes this story is predominantly about abortion and this is a topic that everyone has their opinion on. I agree with Picoult that we will never see eye to eye on this topic because the answer simply isn’t black or white. Another fantastic 5* read from Picoult and possibly my favourite read of the month.

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