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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult

Change of Heart is an interesting novel from Jodi Picoult. The story is told through the perspectives of 4 different people, one of whom is a tragic widow, June , whose first husband died young in a car accident leaving her with a tiny daughter. She then marries a cop she met in the aftermath of the accident and a some years later is expecting another child with her second husband, Kurt. Kurt and her daughter are both murdered just before her second daughter, Claire is born. Claire is diagnosed with a serious heart ailment and by the time she is eleven, will soon die without a transplant. The other voices in the novel include, Michael, a Catholic priest who, as a young college student, was on the jury for the trial of the man who murdered June's family. Also, Maggie, a young idealistic ACLU attorney, with an interesting family dynamic of her own, who takes up the cause of the convicted murderer, Shay. Finally, we hear from Lucius, the prisoner with AIDS in the cell next to Shay. The basic premise of the novel is that Shay wants to donate his heart to June's daughter Claire, but to do that, the method of execution must be changed.

Like many of Picoult's novels, this book doesn't really answer any of the big questions, it simply asks them. Our understanding of Shay varies greatly throughout the book, is he simply a murderer, a messiah, a con artist, a master manipulator, a simple man, or ?
The book is about testing our limits of faith, love and loss. Yes, it does seem just too coincidental that a grown man's heart should fit into a child's body, and I spent a great deal of the book thinking, "oh please". And yes, as previous reviewers have stated, one can see the big plot "twist" coming from a mile away. That plot twist is important though, because it changes your whole idea about the death of Kurt and his stepdaughter that set all this in motion. But ultimately isn't just a simple story about a devastated family. It was about life, and our perceptions of miracles, mundane and grand.

(Posted on Librarything May 16, 2008)


bermudaonion said...

I enjoyed this book and I think you're right, it's like all of Jodi Picoult's books - thought provoking