By Jodi Picoult
Essentially a fiction writer, Picoult picks up controversial topics for people to either dig deeper into the subject, or simply enjoy a highly entertaining read. Must say, Picoult’s in depth research before penning down the story or the characters (almost) authenticates the subject to the tee, making the viewpoints of the experts (in the story) (almost) credible.
This thought-provoking novel features a mix of stories. June Nealon has an eleven year old daughter (Claire) who is in dire need of a heart transplant.
June is desperately seeking a donor. And the one available is a death row inmate- I.M. Bourne a.k.a. Shay Bourne.
But here’s a twist. Shay is the same guy who had killer June’s ex-husband (a case of drunk driving) about ten years ago.
While in prison, Shay is known to have conducted miracles – like turning water into wine, reviving a dead bird, healing terminal illness, making him almost a “messiah”.
June is stunned and confused about the offer. But can’t seem to let go of what seems to be the only chance for her daughter’s survival.
The only thought she cannot fight is – whether she can forgive the killer of her ex-husband (and younger daughter) and accept his organ to save her dying child?
(I did not understand how an adult’s heart would match that of a minor?)
One incredible factor attributing to the success of this novel is the inclusion of Gnostic texts – namely the Gospel of Thomas that is not a part of the Bible, since it was believed to be written after 175 AD. Though somewhat misleading in claims, the work comprises 114 sayings attributed to Jesus. Shay Bourne is portrayed as a man eerily similar to that described in the Gospel of Thomas.
Picoult does a good job of gripping her readers while striking the emotional cord through the short chapters of the book. She weaves in moral dilemma, courtroom drama, death penalty, crime, with surprising twists and ease – with the central theme of restorative justice.
The story is seen from different viewpoints which keep the pace going.
The characterization could have been a bit more developed, but that’s just my point of view.
But as Picoult puts it, in the bold, high-concept idiom of movie ads: “Would you want your dreams to come true if it meant granting your enemy’s dying wish?”