A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult

Release Date - October 2, 2018

Let me give a little background. When I was 18 (go back to the '80s), a friend went to Planned Parenthood for her first pap smear. Pro-lifers were outside and threw rocks at people entering the building. She was terrified, all because she needed an affordable pap smear. I have not had respect for pro-lifers since that moment.

A Spark of Light takes a look at both sides. Several women are in a women's clinic for different reasons. A gunman walks in. Some are shot, some are taken hostage. The resulting story looks at all of the women, the law enforcement trying to save them, and the gunman.

Hugh McElroy is the police negotiator. He's stunned when he discovers his teen daughter is one of the hostages. He's raised her almost single-handedly. The only person helping him out, Aunt Bex, is one of the hostages whose been shot.

Over the span of the story, which is told backwards in terms of time, you meet the doctor, his pregnant nurse, a pro-lifer who snuck in to prove it's a murder factory by posing as a woman in need of an abortion, a woman who came for an abortion, an older woman who is there for an unknown reason, and Wren, Hugh's 15-year-old daughter. Then you have the gunman, George, who is there after his own teen has an abortion.

I love Jodi Picoult's books. This one ended up being a miss. I finished it, but I never felt a big connection to the characters. My own personal bias had me disliking the pro-lifer and George, but the story is set up in such a way that it's really hard to like them anyway. If anything, it's Olive (the older woman) who broke my heart and made me wish things were better for her.


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