Book Review: A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult

What’s it about?

The Center for women’s reproductive health offers a last chance at hope – but nobody ends up there by choice.

Its very existence is controversial, and to the demonstrators who barricade the building every day, the service it offers is no different from legalised murder.

Now life and death decisions are being made horrifyingly real: a lone protester with a gun has taken the staff, patients and visitors hostage.

Starting at the tensest moment in the negotiations for their release, A Spark of Light unravels backwards, revealing hour by urgent hour what brought each of these people – the gunman, the negotiator, the doctors, nurses and women who have come to them for treatment – to this point.

And certainties unwind as truths and secrets are peeled away, revealing the complexity of balancing the right to life with the right to choose.

My thoughts

Say what you like about Jodi Picoult but she knows how to spin a good yarn and is always relevant and on topic with it!  Her research is second to none and I am utterly convinced, every time, of her facts and detail.

This was a recent book club read and one which we had a really good discussion about.  We couldn’t have been reading and discussing at a more pivotal moment as the Alabama abortion bill was all over the news.

The book starts at 5pm and works back in time, gotta be honest here I didn’t love that the timeline started at the end and went backwards as you were given all the characters and hadn’t a clue what was happening.  As the story moves back through the day we begin to see how they these characters all came to be at the clinic at the wrong time and as the ending (or actually the beginning) nears you understand why it was totally necessary to begin at the end, it couldn’t have really worked with the timeline moving forwards and therefore I concede 😉

Of course this book isn’t going to be for every reader, there is a particularly detailed scene of an abortion which is quite brutal and in all honesty this made me really challenge my own thoughts and feelings on abortion…although I still know on which side of the fence I sit, it doesn’t make for pleasant reading!

You could cut the tension with a knife in practically every scene of this book and as long as your nerves and stomach can take it you might make the end.  The end…well here I am again, I didn’t see it coming at all or how the characters intertwined.  With all that tension, hostages, shoot outs and family drama I could definitely see this working as a movie.

As a side note – I’ve managed to convert members of my Meetup book group to read a Jodi Picoult book as they’ve all wrongly assumed, based on the covers, that they would get a very different reading experience and I’ll leave that there.


“So the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. Will we be extremists for hate or for love?”

Martin Luther King Jr.

Book links: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Author Links: Website | Twitter

Small print for info
Source: Borrowed
No of pages: 368
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

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