From Lipsyy : I started doing ‘lazy Saturday reviews’ as a way of getting reviews done in just 30 mins, and they proved to be quite popular. They are quick and snappy, and concentrate less on the plot (or content) and writing and more on my overall feelings about said book. They generally end up being a bit of a rant. My fave!
Ps: My lazy reviews are more often good ones than rants, haha!
For this one, I need to thank both the publisher on NetGalley and The Pigeonhole for allowing me to read this novel in exchange for an honest review.
Title: A Spark of Light
Author: Jodi Picoult
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Date of publication: October 2018
Source: NetGalley / the pigeonhole
Number of pages: 355
Rating: 5 🧚♀️
Whose choice is it?
The masterful new novel from the Number One bestselling author of Small Great Things.
The Center for women’s reproductive health offers a last chance at hope – but nobody ends up there by choice.
Its very existence is controversial, and to the demonstrators who barricade the building every day, the service it offers is no different from legalised murder.
Now life and death decisions are being made horrifyingly real: a lone protester with a gun has taken the staff, patients and visitors hostage.
Starting at the tensest moment in the negotiations for their release, A Spark of Light unravels backwards, revealing hour by urgent hour what brought each of these people – the gunman, the negotiator, the doctors, nurses and women who have come to them for treatment – to this point.
And certainties unwind as truths and secrets are peeled away, revealing the complexity of balancing the right to life with the right to choose.
The joy of discovering a new author never gets old. If this ever changes, I’ll stop reading.
A Spark of Light was my very first Jodi Picoult. I had been staying away from the hype, the reviews, the general enthusiasm because I really wanted to have no expectations whatsoever when I finally took the plunge and joined everyone on the bandwagon. Truth be told, I didn’t even read the blurb before getting her latest novel. I’m crazy like that.
I had a title. I had an author name. I had a phone. Thanks to Pigeonhole, I received staves each day for ten days if my memory doesn’t fail me. If this way of reading is fantastic when you’re in the middle of a thriller, I must admit it was very frustrating while reading A Spark of Light.
Why? Not because I was bored. Oh, no. I just became so emotionally involved in the events and the characters’ lives that it was torture to have to wait to know what would happen to them. This was no cat and mouse hunt, no crime puzzle. It was life in all its forms. It was reading about so many different paths, names, decisions. It was the clock ticking in my head so loudly it was deafening.
What is brilliant in the way Jodi Picoult wrote this novel is that no matter where you stand about the subject, there is room for thoughts. She leaves all doors open so you can try and understands where everyone stands, why they do, what they think. It was not an invasion in the private life of women, it was a cry for freedom. No, freedoms. All kinds of liberties that we should be allowed to have. The right to be wrong, the right to stand for what you believe in. Most of all, A Spark of Life is just that: a spark. A way to start a conversation. A gentle push to move forward, without judgement. A tale of women by a woman.
The writing is subtle, beautiful, like a petal floating in the wind. It carries feelings all the way to your heart. Few authors make me shiver with emotion the way Jodi Picoult did with this novel. It hurt to see people hurt. It hurt to witness fears take over, to watch life corner people and leave them helpless. It felt good to see hope, to look at people’s kindness, to be in the here and now and be overwhelmed with emotions.
A young girl got pregnant. She was afraid. With laws against her, she found another way to abort. She broke a rule. She broke her father’s heart. People paid the price. But so many other stories end up just like hers. So many others get offered another way. Regrets and tears, pain, joy, and blood. Oh, what a simplistic sum-up of what A Spark of Light is about. It’s about love, for yourself, your children, born or unborn, for life.
The structure of the novel is unusual. Time goes backwards. You meet those strangers stuck in an impossible situation, at the worst of their life. Then slowly, as if someone was pulling a thread, you climb back the hours, finding more about each of them. What are they doing here, what kind of fate brought them at the same place on the same day? Nothing is left to chance. Jodi Picoult writes life as it should be written. With respect, with an open heart, with such powerful words in the perfect order that you can’t help letting them wrap you up in a bubble. Thought-provoking without a spark a fire ready to burn everything down to anger or concrete to build walls between people, just an observation of what is, what was, what might be.
No, I don’t believe this book is only for women. I strongly recommend everyone read it. We need to talk, to keep the debate open, and to take care of ourselves, our bodies and our minds.