It’s a very special post/review today on the blog. Today, it’s all about Jodi Picoult’s brand new spellbinding novel, A Spark of Light.
I was lucky enough to grab myself a proof copy and read it as it’s not out until the end of October. But I couldn’t wait that long to write about how much I loved this book. So, what’s it about? Here’s the blurb:
The Centre 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 protestor with a gun has taken the staff, patients and visitors hostage.
A Spark of Light is an urgent and enthralling book. Its narrative structure grips from the start, with the action unfolding in reverse, following seven characters whose lives – past, present and future – tangle in a fraught tapestry of pain, terror and beliefs. These are decisions that face millions every day. If there is judgement to be passed, who has the right to pass it?
Sounds brilliant, right? I’m sure I’ve read some of Picoult’s work but not for a long time. I tried reading Small Great Things but life got in the way (but I’m itching to read it after reading this) but when I saw this book on social media, I was interested straight away. From the cover to the blurb to the title, I was hooked. And for good reason, too.
There is so much to discuss with this book. Too much. With it not out until the end of October, I’m not going to spoil anything for you – this is just an overview of the book and my thoughts. I really do think this is a book that you have to go in without knowing anything. It’s a book that will shock you, surprise you and make you gasp again and again.
The story and plot of this novel is timely and brilliantly written. Through the lives of the seven characters, we explore the issue of women’s reproductive rights – in all manners of the spectrum. Picoult’s books have been exploring important issues in society and asking questions throughout but also questioning the reader, too. Picoult makes you see the world and the issue in question on both sides of the argument. Like I said, it’s timely and beautifully written on both sides of the argument.
At first, I thought seven characters was a bit much to follow and they would blur all into one. When I first started reading it, it took me a while to get used to but over time, I got used to it and I was interested in every single character. Each character is beautifully explored. We get an insight of why they are there, what has happened in their lives that leads up to the hostage at the Centre. My favourite characters have to be Hugh, Olive, Wren and I found reading about George too.
The main thing about this book that interested me was that the story is told in reverse. We start at 5pm in the Centre in the midst of the hostage situation but then we go back one hour and we see how the situation happened and we see the lives of the characters weaved throughout and the decisions they have made. I found this fascinating – I don’t read much books that go backwards to tell the narrative but I felt that this wasn’t a gimmick – this was a great way to tell the narrative and to get an insight into the lives of the characters.
Since finishing this book, I haven’t stopped thinking about it. I was captivated in this story and the lives of these characters. My only issue is that I felt it ended a bit abrupt and I would have liked to see what happened to the rest of the characters. But overall, this is one of my top reads this year. A striking story told in a beautiful, authentic way with wonderfully written characters in a terrifying and horrible situation that’s full of twists and made me gasp out loud time and time again. I think this would make a great mini-series on TV – I think the narrative wouldn’t suit a film and more suited to TV – a HBO/Sky Atlantic mini-series, anyone?
I know this is a book that I will be gifting a lot this Christmas. It’s not published until 30th October but I know this is another masterpiece from Picoult and will be a book that will make people talk, but more importantly, make people listen.
A Spark of Light is out on 30th October 2018 in the UK and is published by Hodder & Stroughton. A big thank you to Eleni at Hodder for my proof-copy!