A Spark of Light

Title: A Spark of Light

Author: Jodi Piccoult

Publication Date: October 2, 2018

Belief. Faith. Experience.

Picoult does here what she does best, presenting all sides of a hotly debated and contentious issue. This time around, the topic of abortion is on the chopping block. Pro-choice and anti-abortion sides along with the various shades of gray are presented in this high-stakes story of an abortion clinic whose inhabitants have been taken hostage by a deranged man whose undesired personal connection to the clinic has rendered him a ticking time-bomb.

In Mississippi, Hugh McElroy is a 40-year old detective and hostage negotiator. While setting up the outside perimeter of the Center, the only abortion facility for miles around, he receives a barrage of texts on his cell phone. The texts are coming from his daughter who is trapped inside the Center without Hugh’s knowledge.

The hours are fraught with nail-biting anxiety as each of the characters and their unique perspectives are introduced, each symbolic of a point of view. The most fascinating by far is Louie the travelling doctor whose strong Catholic faith and significant childhood experiences draw him to the work of giving women the opportunity to end their pregnancies. He is a man clearly on the side of women and a strong opposition against those who either aren’t or are too steeped in their own ignorance to know the difference. We don’t run across too many Louie’s in our patriarchal society which makes him stand out all the more.

Told in backward chronology, counting back from a dramatic yet still unresolved ending, this tense story leaves one big unanswered hook that will keep you reading till the end.

This was not my favorite Picoult novel (I have pretty much read all of them). Many scenes were repetitive and boring though that might have been a necessary part of the narrative’s structure. Her research is impeccable, a hallmark of Picoult’s and her skill in presenting a balanced argument is irrefutable.

BRB Rating: Read It.