Archives for posts with tag: Jodi Picoult
Change of Heart is a provoking read which is hard to put down. It gives a rich insight into many topics; including the Catholic Church, Prison, the ideas of justice and salvation and ultimately the dynamics of faith itself.  The narrators of the story are very different people, but their lives all temporarily revolve around Shay Bourne, a convicted murderer on death row. Shay seeks redemption by wanting to donate his heart to the sick child of the woman whose life he destroyed.
The narrators include June Nealon, the mother herself whose daughter and husband Shay Bourne murdered,  a ACLU lawyer who remains deeply unsatisfied with who she is, a Priest whose beliefs are shaken when his past comes back to haunt him and a convicted criminal who Shay winds up in prison with.
It is a touching tale, and feels thoroughly original and refreshing. June is forced to ask whether or not she would take the heart of the man that killed her family to save her child.
The theme of religion is explored when miracles are performed in prison cells, which raises the question of where goodness and supposed holiness are found, and what do we do when our idea of something Godly comes in the package of a man that a jury believed was better off dead?
“Change of Heart” challenges the foundation of religion and redemption, and how quick we are to jump to conclusions because they seem logical, or because we’re so uncertain of everything happening around us. It’s a gripping read, and the final pages will resound with the reader long after they’ve finished the book.
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In true Jodi Picoult style, this book is bursting at the seams with highly charged emotions, moral grey areas and characters with a considered depth to their personalities. It is a gruesome tale, as one would expect with a school shooting, and the book is structured using the court trial of the culprit, Peter Houghton, after he commits his crime.
The characters are well developed, including the spectrum of different social groups amongst teenagers at school. The book demonstrates how prepared some are to fight their way to the top, and who they’re willing to sacrifice along the way. There is also the reality from Picoult that the all American cookie-cutter child sometimes harbours dark secrets, which is projected through Josie and Peter’s older brother.
The mourning parents and displays of panic and hysteria are well written, engaging the reader as they follow a situation that has rapidly spiralled out of control, and tracking the consequences that destroy the lives of so many people.
I think that ultimately, this book explores¬† what it is like to be different, and how a child becomes toxic after being bullied and ostracised. Nineteen minutes is a chilling read, and leaves the question hanging of who is left living with the guilt of a school shooting, because it doesn’t always rest on the shoulders of the culprit.