Life Coach Magazine

A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult

By Debi Lantzer @debiL1611

A Spark of Light by Jodi PicoultA Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult
Published by Ballantine Books on October 2, 2018
Genres: Literature & Fiction
Pages: 352
Format: ARC
Buy on Amazon


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.

Sometimes I’m super excited about the fact that I’m a book blogger with NetGalley because of the awesome early opportunities I’m provided to read books by amazing authors. Today’s book is A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult.  I’ve never read a Jodi Picoult book that I didn’t love, and this book was absolutely no different!

There are two story lines followed in A Spark of Light.  The first and main story is about a seemingly normal day at a women’s health clinic.  As usual, the protesters are outside the clinic, and nervous women are inside the clinic. There are doctors and nurses moving around providing the best possible care to their patients…..

…..and then the unexpected occurs.  George, an active shooter, enters the abortion clinic and begins shooting.  A police officer and hostage negotiator, Hugh, is called to try and diffuse the situation thanks to his skills for talking people into surrendering. The job seems like a normal situation to Hugh until he learns that his daughter and sister are actually inside the clinic. Everything that is important to Hugh in this world are inside that clinic.

The unusual thing about this whole book is that the author delivers the story from nearly the end to the beginning.  She uses chapters that each represent a hour of time.  While readers start with the shooting, we slowly move backwards in time as we learn more about each of the characters involved, both inside and outside of the clinic.  We learn about how each of them ended up in the position they are in.

A Spark of Light is a very thought provoking and emotion inducing read.  Jodi Picoult writes about the tough issue of abortion and she does so with grace and dignity.  You will be glad you read A Spark of Light, even if the content is sometimes heartbreaking to read.

A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult Jodi Picoult studied creative writing with Mary Morris at Princeton, and had two short stories published in Seventeen magazine while still a student. Realism – and a profound desire to be able to pay the rent – led Picoult to a series of different jobs following her graduation: as a technical writer for a Wall Street brokerage firm, as a copywriter at an ad agency, as an editor at a textbook publisher, and as an 8th grade English teacher – before entering Harvard to pursue a master’s in education. She married Tim Van Leer, whom she had known at Princeton, and it was while she was pregnant with her first child that she wrote her first novel,Songs of the Humpback Whale.

In 2003 she was awarded the New England Bookseller Award for Fiction. She has also been the recipient an Alex Award from the Young Adult Library Services Association, sponsored by the Margaret Alexander Edwards Trust and Booklist, one of ten books written for adults that have special appeal for young adults; the Book Browse Diamond Award for novel of the year; a lifetime achievement award for mainstream fiction from the Romance Writers of America; Cosmopolitan magazine’s ‘Fearless Fiction’ Award 2007; Waterstone’s Author of the Year in the UK, a Vermont Green Mountain Book Award, a Virginia Reader’s Choice Award, the Abraham Lincoln Illinois High School Book Award, and a Maryland Black-Eyed Susan Award. She wrote five issues of the Wonder Woman comic book series for DC Comics. Her books are translated into thirty four languages in thirty five countries. Three – The Pact, Plain Truth, and The Tenth Circle, have been made into television movies. My Sister’s Keeper was a big-screen released from New Line Cinema, with Nick Cassavetes directing and Cameron Diaz starring, which is now available in DVD. She received an honorary Doctor of Letters degree from Dartmouth College in 2010.

She and Tim and their three children live in Hanover, New Hampshire with two Springer spaniels, two donkeys, two geese, one duck, eight chickens, and the occasional Holstein.


I was provided with a complimentary digital copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review and unbiased opinion. A positive review was not required.

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