Lives will change forever…
Set in a women’s reproductive health centre in Mississipi, A Spark of Light follows a horrific shooting and hostage situation.
Each person visiting The Centre has their own personal reason for being there and in an instant they are all in fear of their lives. Wren, a fifteen year old girl in the process of discovering herself as a woman, visits The Centre with her aunt, Bex. Joy is at The Centre for termination of her pregnancy and Janine, pro-life protestor, is hoping to uncover incriminating evidence against the abortion practices at The Centre. Olive is an older woman dealing with health issues visiting her Dr. Heath is an on duty Police Officer and Wren’s father, unaware of his daughter’s whereabouts. Dr Louie is going about his business, treating patients.
Many current issues are explored within the novel and the reader is encouraged to consider their stance. How will you feel after reading this novel? Will your views change? Will you feel more aware of what is happening in the world?
Jodi Picoult has again encouraged me to delve deeper into my personal views surrounding issues that are important and current. I love this about her writing and A Spark of Light was no exception.
The development of the characters was strong, especially Janine who faces her demons of the past throughout the time she is in the Centre and Wren, a young girl in a situation that forces her to be more adult than ever. From the beginning, I felt my heart pounding, as Wren is at gunpoint and her father is attempting to save her. The love between parent and child is evident and as a mum of a toddler, I felt a lump in my throat considering what Hugh must be going through. I particularly loved Dr Louie, who put aside his original views, working daily for his patients he considers to be ‘warriors’ and having the utmost respect for their decisions.
I was expecting a powerful novel, after reading Reverend Dr. Martin Luthur King Jr.’s quote ‘The question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. Will we be extremists for love or hate?’ This quote cleverly sets the scene and is linked to the issues presented throughout the novel, encouraging understanding in society. Each person entering the Centre is approached by protestors; some of who simply want to try to help and have a strong view on the preciousness of life. Others are violent in their speech, actions and written documents. I was surprised by the lack of consideration and the difference compared with my hometown when someone visits a hospital or gynecologist. The violence of some is a true example of extremists of hate; hate for women trying to make a life changing decision. Will your eyes be opened as mine were?
The way in which the novel is structured is interesting. It works back in time, from 5pm to the beginning of the day, until the last chapter, which deals with the present. In the middle of the novel I was frustrated and found myself wishing it would be structured from beginning to end. By the end, I again had appreciation for this type of structure. The Author’s Note at the back of the novel gave me further reason to appreciate Picoult’s themes in the novel. This is an author who watched abortions being performed in order to write a novel in which was heartfelt and filled with emotion. I couldn’t believe the extent gone to for an author’s understanding and an ability to portray the truth.
If you’re a Jodi Picoult fan, you won’t be disappointed. Will you have a thought provoking experience like I did?