Monday, September 15, 2008

What I am Reading - Minor spoilers- plot explained


I love to read.  At any one time, I have 3 - 4 books that I am reading as well as magazines, blogs and cookbooks.
One of my latest books is Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult.
Jodi Picoult is a talented writer who lives here in NH.  Many of her books have settings based in NH, fictional NH, but allude to many local spots that I recognize.  So, I am fascinated by the familiarity of seeing places I know in print.
Jodi Picoult, for those not familiar with her "signature style" always tackles a controversial subject, leads you on one path through the plot and then twists it last minute.  Reading multiple books close together is not recommended, as they become predictable.  But they are intriguing.

I enjoyed many of her books and I loathed others.  I feel that her books are interesting, but forced.  She clearly has a politically liberal agenda and stuffs it down your throat with the characters. 
Change of Heart is about the death row inmate who wants to give his organs to save another life.  This part might be believable, but then the book delves into the fact that the child's life that he offering to save, is that of his victim's sister.  Now, here is where you have to suspend belief further, the murdered is a 30+ year old man who is wanting to donate his heart to a 11 year old girl.  And it is a match. 
Further suspend belief that this man performs miracles while in his cell, turning water to wine, etc.
The author writes the story clearly sympathetic to the Death Row inmate, implying throughout the book that he is wrongly accused (like all death row inmates),  that is merely misunderstood and was at a disadvantage his whole life.  The author writes the victim and her surviving family to be unlikeable and cold.  The author completely glosses over the damage done to the surviving family when the husband and 8 year old where murdered in their home.  The surviving family still resides in the home where the murder took place, the mother seems to never have struggled or been affected by the death of her husband or daughter.  But, it is the murdered who is a changed man and who's last wish in this cruel world is to implant his heart in the child.
There are side plots about religion, specifically Catholic and Jewish.  Again the characters, an uncertain priest doubts his religion (the same priest voted to convict the murdered and now regrets it).  The Rabbi is portrayed as brilliant while his daughter is portrayed as smart but an insecure basket case.  The author clearly has a point to make anti-Catholic, even going so far as making the priest character a "hero" because he is open minded and willing to doubt and betray his religious vows.

With my harsh review, I am still hooked on the story.  I am less than halfway through and I can't wait to read more and more.  I know that when I read a Picoult book, that I have to suspend belief.  Her political views, her moral views differ from mine. But, I still enjoy her story.

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