Review A Spark of Light: A Novel by Jodi Picoult

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.

Amazon.com Review

Review

“Picoult at her fearless best . . . Timely, balanced and certain to inspire debate.”The Washington Post

“This is Jodi Picoult at her best: tackling an emotional hot-button issue and putting a human face on it.”People

“Thoroughly realistic storytelling . . . Picoult has achieved what politicians across the spectrum have not been able to: humanized a hot-button issue. Excellent for book clubs, this should also be considered for discussions in critical thinking and political debate.”Library Journal (starred review)

“The author presents the white-knuckled narrative in a reverse-chronological order. The effect is mesmerizing, as Picoult establishes moments in the overarching event, before revealing how they came to be.”Houston Chronicle

“Picoult delivers another riveting yarn . . . in this carefully crafted, utterly gripping tale.”Booklist (starred review)

Praise for Small Great Things

“A courageous and important work.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune

“This riveting drama is sure to be supremely satisfying.”Redbook

“Page-turning . . . a novel that puts its finger on the very pulse of the nation that we live in today.”—San Francisco Book Review

“A book that needs to be read.”—The Detroit News

“Picoult has outdone herself.”St. Louis Post Dispatch

Customer reviews

Casey Gabler

The best thing I love about Jodi picoults books is that she does controversial issues and she wants to open your mind in a creative way. She always does a great job on telling the story on both sides. This book didn’t fall short on what she normally writes.

I was a little sad that there wasnt a court scenario in this one, bit it didn’t make me dislike this book. This story kept grabbing me and I couldn’t put it down!

It was an interesting way of writing a book. She wrote the events backwards. It was nice to get right in to the action and it really made the twists at the end amazing!

melissa block

“””…. How do you get someone who is blind to see what you see”””
“””where we draw the line shifts”””
This book is a heart wrenching story about a women’s clinic full of patients taken hostage by an active shooter. Then the police negotiator finds out daughter and sister are among them. The story was brilliantly written from everyone’s perspective. The amount to research put into this…simply mind boggling. Huge shout out to #jodipicoult for once again diving into a subject that can be so personal, so controversial… the afterward resonates. To give any more details would be a spoiler. To each interpretation is own ❤️

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