Book Reviews of A Spark of Light

A Spark of Light
A Spark of Light
Author: Jodi Picoult
ISBN-13: 9781444788129
ISBN-10: 1444788124
Publication Date: 10/30/2018
Pages: 400
Rating:
  • Currently 3.2/5 Stars.
 13

3.2 stars, based on 13 ratings
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton Ltd
Book Type: Hardcover
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

5 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed A Spark of Light on + 526 more book reviews
I was about a third of the way through this book, when I realized it is written backwards. By that I mean the end of the story is written at the beginning of the book, and the story is told in reverse chunks thereafter. I should've realized it when the chapter headings went like this: 5 pm, 4 pm, 3 pm, etc. down to 8 am. Then the very last chapter is the conclusion: 6 pm. Sound confusing? It's even more confusing trying to read this mess!

I don't understand why authors try to use this gimmick when writing a story. This is the second book that I have seen written in this manner (the first was 'The October List', by Jeffrey Deaver).

Jodi Picoult's writing is very detailed, visual, and heartfelt. Her characters truly come to life and you feel everything they are going through, because the story is from each one's point of view. The problem with her writing this story backwards is that, as you proceed reading the chapters, the little details that seemed so important in the chapter you just read are forgotten, because now you are reading a NEW chapter that was supposed to have happened before the LAST chapter! I hope this is making sense.

Once I figured out how the book was written and realized I was not enjoying it at all (although I did like the story concept), I began reading the book backwards from the second-to-last chapter, 8 am. I then read each chapter in reverse order till I ended up at the beginning of the book. Finally, I read the very last chapter, 6 pm.

If this book had been written in 'standard' chapter order, I would give it a 4-star review for the story. Picoult has a way of writing that brings you right into the center of the story and you really feel with the characters are feeling. As it is, I must deduct points for the stupid literary choice she made.

I recommend reading from back to front, ending with the concluding last chapter, 6 pm.
reviewed A Spark of Light on + 115 more book reviews
It starts off as a typical day at the Center, a women's reproductive health care clinic in Mississippi. For Hugh McElroy, it's his 40th birthday, and a day that he hopes will pass by quietly and quickly. But everything changes in a moment when an armed shooter enters the Center--shooting employees and patients on sight. Hugh, a negotiator for the police, is immediately called to the scene. Once there, he comes to the horrifying realization that his sister, Bex, and his only daughter, fifteen-year-old, Wren, are inside. Hugh tries to keep this information to himself, determined to save the people he loves the most. Meanwhile, many inside the clinic are struggling to stay alive, while the shooter is trying to come to terms with the reasons that brought him to the clinic in the first place.

"Here was the one thing all these women had in common: they hadn't asked for this moment in their lives."

Jodi Picoult is known for her powerful books that make you question the world around you, and her latest is certainly no exception. This novel asks interesting, thought-provoking, and timely questions: not just about abortion but about women's rights in general and the power men have over women, including their bodies. It makes you think, and it's certainly not an easy read. I found it to be an eye-opening experience. You may go in with a set view and particular political stance--and while this novel is in no way attempting to change your view--it allows you to see things from all sorts of points of view. The book is filled with complicated people and their stories; nothing is simple here.

The novel is told backward: starting with a shooter entering the clinic and working back from that moment. I'm not always a fan of this format, and it does take some getting used to (for me anyway). I read this one while I was sick and busy at work, so I always had to pause a little bit to get my bearings with each chapter. But the format causes the story to be extremely tense, forcing you to really want to know what happens. I've read some reviews where they thought the backward style left nothing unexplained/nothing left to know, but I found it to be the opposite. The first chapter leaves you with a near cliffhanger, and you spend the rest of the book frantically flipping the pages, trying to find out what happens.

I found this one to be especially poignant and excellent at portraying its characters. Picoult captures moments in time, as our characters remember back on things. It's a lovely look at fatherhood for two sets of families, and Hugh and his daughter, Wren, are a wonderful pair. Picoult does an excellent job paralleling them with another set of characters, too. Then there's Izzy, a nurse, with whom I dare you not to fall in love, and Dr. Louie, the doctor at the clinic. Both are so tough and easy to root for. I also learned so much while reading about them. It was easy to picture these characters and even easier to fall for them--all signs of a well-written novel.

By the end, Picoult has some twists up her sleeve: some surprising, some not. I thought the ending wrapped up a little quickly, but I still was impressed with one. You don't enjoy it, per se--the subject matter is a little rough for that, but you'll find yourself wowed by the characters and their shared story. 4+ stars.

I received a copy of this novel from the publisher and Netgalley in return for an unbiased review (thank you!).
reviewed A Spark of Light on + 526 more book reviews
I was about a third of the way through this book, when I realized it is written backwards. By that I mean the end of the story is written at the beginning of the book, and the story is told in reverse chunks thereafter. I should've realized it when the chapter headings went like this: 5 pm, 4 pm, 3 pm, etc. down to 8 am. Then the very last chapter is the conclusion: 6 pm. Sound confusing? It's even more confusing trying to read this mess!

I don't understand why authors try to use this gimmick when writing a story. This is the second book that I have seen written in this manner (the first was 'The October List', by Jeffrey Deaver).

Jodi Picoult's writing is very detailed, visual, and heartfelt. Her characters truly come to life and you feel everything they are going through, because the story is from each one's point of view. The problem with her writing this story backwards is that, as you proceed reading the chapters, the little details that seemed so important in the chapter you just read are forgotten, because now you are reading a NEW chapter that was supposed to have happened before the LAST chapter! I hope this is making sense.

Once I figured out how the book was written and realized I was not enjoying it at all (although I did like the story concept), I began reading the book backwards from the second-to-last chapter, 8 am. I then read each chapter in reverse order till I ended up at the beginning of the book. Finally, I read the very last chapter, 6 pm.

If this book had been written in 'standard' chapter order, I would give it a 4-star review for the story. Picoult has a way of writing that brings you right into the center of the story and you really feel with the characters are feeling. As it is, I must deduct points for the stupid literary choice she made.

I recommend reading from back to front, ending with the concluding last chapter, 6 pm.
reviewed A Spark of Light on + 526 more book reviews
I was about a third of the way through this book, when I realized it is written backwards. By that I mean the end of the story is written at the beginning of the book, and the story is told in reverse chunks thereafter. I should've realized it when the chapter headings went like this: 5 pm, 4 pm, 3 pm, etc. down to 8 am. Then the very last chapter is the conclusion: 6 pm. Sound confusing? It's even more confusing trying to read this mess!

I don't understand why authors try to use this gimmick when writing a story. This is the second book that I have seen written in this manner (the first was 'The October List', by Jeffrey Deaver).

Jodi Picoult's writing is very detailed, visual, and heartfelt. Her characters truly come to life and you feel everything they are going through, because the story is from each one's point of view. The problem with her writing this story backwards is that, as you proceed reading the chapters, the little details that seemed so important in the chapter you just read are forgotten, because now you are reading a NEW chapter that was supposed to have happened before the LAST chapter! I hope this is making sense.

Once I figured out how the book was written and realized I was not enjoying it at all (although I did like the story concept), I began reading the book backwards from the second-to-last chapter, 8 am. I then read each chapter in reverse order till I ended up at the beginning of the book. Finally, I read the very last chapter, 6 pm.

If this book had been written in 'standard' chapter order, I would give it a 4-star review for the story. Picoult has a way of writing that brings you right into the center of the story and you really feel with the characters are feeling. As it is, I must deduct points for the stupid literary choice she made.

I recommend reading from back to front, ending with the concluding last chapter, 6 pm.
reviewed A Spark of Light on + 10 more book reviews
I have loved all of Jodi Picoults books.... but not this one. The ending was just bad. It felt like she was told she needed to have her book into her publisher in 3 hours and she handent even started to wrap things up.... so she slapped an ending in it. What happened to Beth? What about her Dad? Did Bex finally tell the truth to Hugh and Wren? An entire book back and forth with tons of characters and lots of stories to wrap it all up in 5 pages with no mention of the others at all? Yuck, save your time.