REVIEW: A SPARK OF LIGHT, BY JODI PICOULT

 

The warm fall day starts like any other at the Center—a women’s reproductive health services clinic—its staff offering care to anyone who passes through its doors. Then, in late morning, a desperate and distraught gunman bursts in and opens fire, taking all inside hostage.

After rushing to the scene, Hugh McElroy, a police hostage negotiator, sets up a perimeter and begins making a plan to communicate with the gunman. As his phone vibrates with incoming text messages he glances at it and, to his horror, finds out that his fifteen-year-old daughter, Wren, is inside the clinic.

But Wren is not alone. She will share the next and tensest few hours of her young life with a cast of unforgettable characters: A nurse who calms her own panic in order to save the life of a wounded woman. A doctor who does his work not in spite of his faith but because of it, and who will find that faith tested as never before. A pro-life protester, disguised as a patient, who now stands in the crosshairs of the same rage she herself has felt. A young woman who has come to terminate her pregnancy. And the disturbed individual himself, vowing to be heard.

Told in a daring and enthralling narrative structure that counts backward through the hours of the standoff, this is a story that traces its way back to what brought each of these very different individuals to the same place on this fateful day.

My Thoughts: A crisis, a cast of numerous characters, and the defining moments that brought them together form the core of A Spark of Light.

The alternating narratives begin near the end of the explosive events, and as the story takes us back in time, we learn about each of the characters in depth, from their flaws to their hopes and dreams.

Wren, a fifteen-year-old girl who turns out to be the daughter of Hugh, the hostage negotiator, was there for an entirely different reason than some of the others. And Janine, another hostage, had a secret goal on that day, one that could mark her as the enemy.

I enjoyed watching as the author peeled the hours back to the very beginning, revealing much and offering a chance to understand all points of view. It is sometimes impossible to understand another person’s perspective on an issue until faced with circumstances that bind them together in life-and-death moments. If people could learn to listen and try to understand each other without having to come to this point, there might be less anger and fewer violent episodes. This story shone a light on the author’s trademark issues: controversy, conflict, and multiple perspectives set against a violent stand-off.

In the end, we are gifted with a sense of resolution as we watch how the day ends for the characters. And in a surprising twist, we learn about some unexpected connections. 5 stars.

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INTERIOR THOUGHTS: PROTESTS, MAKING A DIFFERENCE, & THE WRITING LIFE

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Good morning, and welcome to my Interior World.

I love the desktop background above…I shot this one a while ago, featuring one of my favorite coffee mugs and the Fall images on the laptop.

Fall is my favorite season, and it’s not just because my birthday is in October.  Or because my second son’s birthday is on the 5th, and that I have several other family members born this month.

Maybe it’s the crispness of the air (I can ALMOST feel it here, but there is still a bit of warmth from summer).

As a kid, I remember the wonderful Fall feelings as I trudged to the school bus, eager to begin again.  I loved school, despite some of the annoying aspects like bullying, etc.  Yes, I was a bookworm, so I was fair game for some of the kids.

But at some point, I learned to deal with them.  I gave them a taste of their own medicine…and the bullying stopped.

Not everyone is so lucky, and these days, bullying has escalated and taken on forms previously unimagined, with viral messages and images.

I think I was born at just the right time….looking back on it, I think the times were kinder, in many ways…aside from the wars, the protests, etc.  LOL

 

 

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Those were my college years, so it was only natural that I would be drawn to the message and the hope of a peaceful world.

We learned that protesting did little to change things, despite what some might believe.  Instead, I chose to try to make a difference in individual lives…and was drawn to a helping profession.

 

socialworkAfter thirty years of dedication, I was more than ready to turn to a different kind of life:  hence, the writing and blogging.

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Speaking of blogging, I have been obsessed with trying new themes in my SIX remaining blogs, and also in my website.  After going back and forth between various “looks” for my website, I ended up back with this same theme, and this header:

 

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It is Banned Books Week, and tomorrow, I will be posting here on the book I reviewed.  Sheila is leading the pack and sharing our posts throughout the week.  Head on over…and enjoy.  You might be surprised by some of the books that have been banned over the years.  Yes, some of my favorites!

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Today I’m reading Rainy Day Sisters, by Kate Hewitt, and I have never read this author before, but I’m thoroughly enjoying this one.

 

 

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I was drawn in by that gorgeous cover…coziness wins out every time!  And it’s a story of sisters who have been separated for years, and seemingly share very little.  But Juliet, the older sister, invites Lucy to her Bed and Breakfast in the Lake District after a very bad series of incidents occurred in Boston, where Lucy had been living.

Their ambivalence toward their mother Fiona is something they have in common.

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What does your weekend look like?  Are you planning a getaway, or curling up with a good book or movie?  Enjoy!

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