I’m reading Jodi Picoult’s latest novel. Once again she dives into controversial issues, this time capital punishment and organ donation. When she was pregnant with Claire, June’s husband and daughter were allegedly murdered by Shay Bourne. Now 11, Claire needs a heart transplant, and Shay, on death row, wants to give her his heart after he’s put to death.
As with several of her other books, the story is told from many different perspectives: June, Lucius (Shay’s cell neighbor), Michael (Shay’s priest), and Maggie (Shay’s lawyer). While on death row, miracles start to happen: water turns to wine, a bird is raised from the dead, a piece of gum becomes never-ending and a disease is cured. The cell occupiers, as well as the public, believe Shay is the next Messiah.
Sound a little familiar? Didn’t someone already write this story? Change the bird to a mouse and make the illness a major UTI and I think Stephen King covered it the first time in “The Green Mile.” So, that’s been throwing me off a little bit. Why copy – and so blatantly? And of course, as with any Picoult books, there will be a twist. I’m 90 percent sure I already know what it is.
Picoult’s book are always engaging, so this one isn’t any different. The arguments for and against capital punishment are definitely interesting to think about, as are the thoughts about religion and what people believe in. However, even though I’m only halfway through, I’m disappointed. I expected a little more. It’s too similar to someone else’s work. Some of the questions get answered a bit too conveniently. I didn’t want to figure out the ending 20 pages in. (Though, since I’m not done yet, I could still be wrong.)
However, the book raises an interesting question: If your child needed a heart, would you accept one from a murderer? Even if he was the man who murdered your family? If you were Claire, would you take the heart? Pretty sure I would.
My favorite quote mentioned in the book: “I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish He didn’t trust me so much.” Mother Teresa.
Somedays that just says it all.