REVIEW – A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult

A Spark of Light

Published: October 2nd, 2018 by Ballantine Books

As soon as I see that a new Jodi Picoult book is going to be released, I can’t wait to read it. But as much as I wanted to drag out this novel and make it last, I couldn’t stop reading. I had to find out how it all began…and how it all came together in the end. This novel is written in a way I wasn’t sure I would like. But I actually really enjoyed how the story was told. The book begins at five pm and moves backward in time with each chapter one hour earlier than the previous chapter.

“The Center” was formerly known as The Center for Women and Reproductive Health. Due to the restrictions designed to make these centers disappear, The Center is now the last clinic of its kind in Mississippi. Though it’s been through many battles the fluorescent orange building is still standing, offering services and support to those who come through its doors. It is a safe space…until the day a distraught and desperate man barges into the building, opens fire, and takes everyone inside hostage.

We learn the stories and hear from a variety of people inside The Center. What brought these people together on this fateful day?

Fifteen-year-old Wren doesn’t think today is a good day to die.

Hugh McElroy is a hostage negotiator and has dealt with all types of hostage takers. Some are drunk or high, some are on a political mission, and some are depressed and determined to take others with them. But this hostage situation is very different. In fact, Hugh should have stepped down and let someone else take over.

Dr. Louie Ward is a fifty-four-year-old ob-gyn. He decided to become an ob-gyn, in honor of his mother. Dr. Ward attended mass faithfully but also became an abortion provider. He wanted women to feel that they were not alone. He knows the protestors don’t realize just how many people they know have actually visited places like The Center ……”Wipe away the stigma and all you were left with was your neighbour, your teacher, your grocery clerk, your landlady.”  

George Goddard knew he hadn’t been the best husband, but he was determined he would be the best father possible. “It was why, this morning, he had driven all this way to The Center, the last standing abortion clinic in the state of Mississippi”.

Three hours away in another part of Mississippi is seventeen year old, Beth.  She is terrified and alone and has just found out that she’s being accused of a horrible crime.

Those are just a few of the characters we meet in this story. Just like in real life, we have people with many different views. I thought the characters were well-developed, their stories intriguing and heart-breaking. They are all very different yet have more in common than they would have ever thought possible.

As I mentioned earlier, the way this story is told is a bit different. But in the end, I thought it was the perfect way to tell this story. I’m sure this novel will spark debates and there will be a variety of opinions. I understand it may not be for everyone. Regardless of opinion, I feel that many people will still find this book interesting and thought-provoking.

I have been reading Jodi Picoult’s books for years. Her books bring important issues to the forefront, using ordinary people’s stories. In my opinion, “A Spark of Light” is another incredible and unique novel.  This story will stay with me for a very long time.

It stood to reason that both life and death began with a spark of light”


I’d like to thank Ballantine Books for providing me with an advanced copy of this novel.

21 thoughts on “REVIEW – A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult

  1. I’ve had this one on my shelf for months. I started reading her work about 13 years ago. I read a few but haven’t read anything new in years. I hope I can squeeze this one in. I love that she remains fearless and willing to address controversial issues. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great review, Dee! This is one of the reviews I’m behind on. As in, I read it before the release date, but haven’t gotten round to reviewing it yet. 😥 It was my second book by Picoult (Small Great Things was my first), and I have to say, though I enjoyed it and found the method of storytelling and subject matter compelling, it didn’t hit quite home the same way Small Great Things did. At some point I’d like to go back and read some her earlier work. What is your favorite Picoult novel?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so far behind on reviews too, Myndi. Good thing I make notes. Otherwise I would forget so much of it. I LOVED Small Great Things too. I really do enjoy all of her books but one of my favorites is definitely “The Pact”. It was my first JP read and it’s one that stuck with me. I really hope to read it again soon. I hope you read more from her as I would love to hear what you think of them. Hope you had a great weekend! Happy reading!!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Fab review, Dee. I started reading this one a while back but had to stop because of the format. I guess I wasn’t in the right mood for it so I found it kinda confusing. I can’t wait to go and read it again especially after this review.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great review, Dee! I’m listening to this one on audiobook right now and loving it! I don’t think that I’ve read one of her books that I haven’t enjoyed! She’s just wonderful, I think!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Great review Dee. I read this one a while ago (I was on the list at the library for a few weeks) and I did like the story but the backwards telling threw me for a bit. It took awhile, but I had to keep looking back to check things.

    Liked by 1 person

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