I have just finished reading Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult. This came from a recommendation from a friend who I have not received many book pushes from previously (except How to be a Woman – Caitlin Moran, which is now my own personal gospel).
When I think of books by Picoult, I have only read one previously, I think of films with soft lighting followed by chocolate and girls crying. I may be wrong but ‘emo’ seems to be her preferred format and by gosh she must do it well! I was not aware how many books she has written in the past. Following this last read I may need to put her on my ‘go to’ holiday reading list! I would call that a guilty pleasure list but I am trying to avoid that phrase. After all, if you enjoy something why should it be deemed ‘guilty’?
So, down to the book itself. It centres a round a double murder, the murder trial, the conviction of the murderer and the sentence being execution. The catch here is that the sister of the murdered girl is in need of a heart and the inmate wants to give away his to save her life. Written like that I don’t think the story sounds as compelling as it is. Written in a format that focuses on 4 character perspectives (a priest, laywer, inmate and victim’s mother) you get to see different perspectives of those involved as the story unfolds and throughout the book you can make your own judgement on the situation.
The theological side of the text, from the perspective of the priest, as well as how the lawyer can use this to justify changing the form of execution, is fascinating. I cannot imagine how much research was required to be able to write about such a large topic with that level of knowledge – both in terms of law and religion!
It does raise some points in regards to the death penalty in the US that certainly do make you think and not just in the sense of a one-sided argument. Maggie, the lawyer, is like me –very much against the ruling that anyone could be convicted of such a penalty. What is interesting is that it is broached that this is a stance easy to take when you have not had someone taken from you in such a heinous and destructive manner. The questions being; Wouldn’t we all want some kind of justice? and If a ‘life for a life’ really does equate to justice?
This book didn’t especially pull at my heart strings and at one point I did not believe the inmate to be lacking in formal education and struggling with learning disabilities as he was portrayed initially. Despite this I was fully interested in the book and feel like I have consumed it at a rate of knots.
That was the tenth novel I have read this year so far and I am really struggling for what to read now. There will always be far too much choice…