A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult is a novel that grabs your attention and draws you in with the topic of abortion and all the controversy that surrounds it. At an abortion clinic in Jackson, Mississippi, one day all present are taken hostage and the reader slowly learns how all the random people that are there that day came to be at the clinic and how their past lives have intersected and made them who they are.
This book reads a bit unconventionally in that the first chapter begins at “5:00 pm”, the second chapter begins at “4:00 pm”, taking the reader back in time all the way to “8:00 am”. The final chapter concludes at “6:00 pm”. When I started reading the book, at first I found it somewhat confusing as to who the characters were and their backgrounds, since you are taken right into a hostage standoff, in which some characters are injured and others are dead on the floor. As I continued reading, the story unfolds in an interesting way with the characters becoming more developed with details from each’s past. This in turn caused me to want to learn more about what made them who they are, why they felt the way they did about abortion, and what brought them to the clinic on this fateful day.
Picoult was very thorough in her research for this novel. She creates characters that take all points of view on the topic of abortion, uncovering the many social and ethical issues that many people feel today. The choice for the unusual book title is revealed in chapter “8:00 am”, with a scientific discovery that explains why “It stood to reason that both life and death began with a spark of light”. A Spark of Light, like many of her others, is another very thought provoking and powerful novel from Picoult.