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Book review: A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult

As Jodi Picoult’s modus operandi, A Spark of Light provides a fictional and engaging way of discussion a controversial topic. This time, it she tackles abortion by setting the story at an abortion clinic that is being held up by a gunman.

The police negotiator just happens to be the father of one of the hostages, along with a woman who has just had an abortion, a compassionate doctor who performs abortions, a nurse, a protester on a clandestine mission to uncover any unethical behaviour at the centre, and others.

While this all sounds interesting enough, for some reason I didn’t really enjoy this novel. It all seemed a little bit too manufactured in order to tackle this issue. Some of the character relationships also came across as a little too ideal – the devoted father who has been a pillar of strength for his daughter since his wife left them both just seemed a little too much, as did the gunman’s motivations.

For some reason, this obsessive love of their daughters struck me as being over the top and unrealistic. I’m well aware that fathers love their children, but that fact was beaten into my skull during this book.

Picoult was unfailingly fair in her discussion of the issue, helping the reader see abortion through the eyes of those who relied on the procedure and those who believed it should not happen.

But for me, this just made it all seem a bit too bland, trying to please everyone but satisfying no one.

A Spark of Light was entertaining enough and discussed an important problem, but it’s not a book I’d be likely to recommend.

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