Thursday, June 12, 2008
I have long been a fan of Jodi Picoult. Most I have loved, like My Sister's Keeper and Plain Truth. One I hated, The Tenth Circle. But on a whole, I'm totally enamored with her work. So.....when I saw a new book by Picoult on the shelf, I figured it would make a great addition to my reading list for "The Pub Challenge".
Shay Bourne is the first man on New Hampshire's Death Row for over 69 years. He was convicted 11 years ago of killing a police officer and his 7 year old step-daughter. A jury of his peers found him guilty and sentenced him to die by lethal injection. But now that the execution has been set and Shay has been moved to the I-Tier, "miracles" seem to be following him around. A dead bird is "resurrected", a dying AIDS patient's disease seems to disappear, and a tiny piece of gum seems to be stretched to feed all the inmates of the block. Now, people are lining up outside the prison to see the "Death Row Messiah".
June Nealon knows better than anyone about Shay Bourne. It was her husband and daughter that were killed. She holds an amazing amount of hate towards Shay. But will she be able to get past all that hate to accept a gift from him that could save her OTHER daughter, Claire?
Maggie Bloom is an ACLU attorney that would like nothing better than to do away with the Death Penalty altogether. But in her quest to shed light on this issue, she takes Shay's case about HOW he is going to be executed. As much as she would like to have Shay's case reopened for fear that an innocent man will die, she has to follow her heart and the things Shay is asking her to do.
Father Michael has been called in from St. Katherine's Church to be a spiritual advisor for Shay Bourne. But is Father Michael as interested in saving Shay's soul as he is his own? Because before Father Michael was a priest, he was a college student that sat on the jury that sent Shay to Death Row.
One of the things I love about Picoult's writing is her amazing ability to see all sides of a situation. In this book, she writes from numerous perspectives, so you can see what many of the characters are feeling. And as with all of her previous books, she tackles tough issues. In this one, namely the death penalty. And if she had just stuck with one, it probably would have been a 5 Star review. But instead, she hit on some other topics that kind of muddied the point of view. Reminiscent of The Green Mile with "miracles" performed by an inmate, she also choose to touch on religion, which is another subject all together. Bringing in topics like the Gnostic gospels, while interesting, took away from the main storyline a little.
Don't get me wrong. I still loved the book. And I still cried in the end, as I usually do when I read a Picoult. But I had figured out the "Twist" long before it was actually revealed. And unlike a lot of Picoult's books, this actually left me with questions to ponder, even after the book was finished. No clear cut ending for this one. Still, it was a page-turner and I'm glad I read it. I'd love to hear your opinions, if you read this one yourself!! 4/5