Jodi Picoult is one of my all-time favorite authors and I’ve read nearly all of her amazing books. I was so exciting and counting down the days (literally) until A Spark of Light hit the shelves. I have really enjoyed her latest books, especially Small Great Things because it really touches on sensitive and real-life subjects so respectfully and gracefully. When I read the synopsis of A Spark of Light, I knew I was in for another good one.
An outraged gunman charges the Center, a clinic that provides women’s health and reproductive care, shooting aimlessly and holding hostage both patients and staff inside the Center for many grueling hours. Hugh, a police negotiator tasked to handle the gunman situation, discovers shortly after arriving on scene that his teenage daughter and his sister are inside the Center and are being held hostage at gunpoint. Knowing he would have to surrender his position as lead negotiator due to personal connections, he does not share this newly found information to his boss. Instead, he works that much harder to free his family and the other victims from the Center and discover the motives behind the enraged gunman who is dangling Hugh’s life in front of his eyes.
Picoult wrote A Spark of Light in such a unique and thoughtful way, beginning the story with all facts and details up front and counting down an hour as each chapter goes by. It was an interesting way to lay out a book and as a reader, we are used to gradually building up that shock factor to reveal the “big idea” at the end. Instead, we know from chapter one exactly what is happening and who is involved but it takes the remainder of the book to connect the dots. As we read about events that lead up to the gunman holding the Center hostage a gunpoint, we really begin to understand and piece together each character’s unique story. I thought it was brilliant writing from Picoult, as always.
This book is highly sensitive and speaks freely upon prime issues in the spotlight of today’s realism: abortion (pro-choice and pro-life perspectives both equally represented) birth control, women’s health and reproductive rights, gun laws, gunman and hostage situations, etc. In an era that has trained our society to become so indifferent and “comfortable” to mass shootings and women’s reproductive rights it was the perfect time to release this book. There were many controversial topics in this book that I admit made me cringe with awkwardness but also made me think differently from both sides.
A Spark of Light is another thought-provoking book by Picoult that may take some tough skin to get through. While I adore Picoult and her writing, this book fell just slightly short for me. I will always be a fan and look forward to continue reading her books that stretch the boundaries and push the limits.