International Writers Magazine - Our Tenth Year: Review
of Heart by Jodi Picoult
496 pages Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks (22 Jan 2009)
Change of Heart is Jodi Picoults second novel
to debut at number one on the highly prestigious New York Times
bestseller list, and deservedly so. A book based around a mothers
moral dilemma is of course, with Jodi Picoult, not quite as black
and white as it seems.
The American based
tale gives each character a narrative voice in a chapter by chapter
account of a sick murder and its lengthy consequences.
One moment a pregnant June Nealon was a happy wife and mother of one,
with a second child on its way. Yet the next moment she was cruelly
robbed of both privileges. In her final stages of pregnancy with her
second daughter, June had to endure this murdering ordeal with the only
consolation being that the man responsible was found guilty, and sentenced
to death by lethal injection. June had no idea that later on this decision
was to be her call.
Father Michael, originally a member of that double homicide trial jury,
ironically landed the job as Shay Bournes, the convicted murderer,
spiritual advisor. Father Michael, Shays lawyer Maggie, Shays
fellow inmates, along with half of Americas media press however;
began to notice some unusual events occurring around Arizonas
first death row prisoner in sixty nine years. These well researched
and cleverly written events even forced Father Michael to question his
faith. These events help Shay appear likeable, which in the circumstances
seems hard to believe, and we begin to wonder if everything is really
as it seems.
The story of Shay Bourne, a thirty three year old carpenter turned convicted
murderer, nicknamed by the press as "The death row Messiah",
shows how a unique man seeks his redemption, and unusually without the
longing to be exonerated.
Eleven years on since the murder and with Shay still locked away in
prison, June had successfully given birth to second daughter, Claire.
As Claire hits pre-school however; June discovers that her run of bad
luck has not let up, with Claire being diagnosed with a heart defect.
With all the subtlety of a pneumatic drill, you can begin to see how
Shay tries to make up for his wrongs.
After having already suffered a fate worse than death eleven years previous,
June Nealon now faces the prospect of seeking help from the one man
she wishes dead, or she risks going through losing a daughter all over
"Your daughter needs a new heart, the only match comes from a murderer,
what would you do?"
© Charlotte Francis Oct 2009
charlottefrancis205 at hotmail.com
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