Saturday, October 30, 2010

Change of Heart... Jodi Picoult

Number 46. I just realized that if I read another 6 more books before the year is over, I'd have averaged one book per week for the year!!!! Let's see how it goes. Without my Ipod, I would not have been able to read this many... My Ipod would rank as a very good buddy to me this year.

Back to the book. This book has given me much pleasure and also much to chew on. Style is narratives by the various main characters.

Shay Bourne (Isaiah Matthew Bourne... sounds like I M Born - again??) is convicted of murdering June's husband Kurt and daughter Elizabeth. He is sentenced to death by lethal injection. He makes one request to donate his heart to June's other daughter, Claire who was dying from a heart disease. A past and a crime committed running parallel. Shay's sister Grace was raped by her foster father. In a fire set by her, she becomes disfigured but Shay takes the fall. He is sentenced as a juvenile. In his final days, he finally revealed that he had caught Kurt trying to molest his step daughter, Elizabeth. Yet he chose to die. It's his own way of finding redemption for not being there for his sister. Instead of lethal injection, his lawyer manages to get the authorities to let him die by hanging so that his organs can be harvested. Miracles find their way around him.... a reprieve for a dying AIDS inmate, water turning into wine, grass growing in his chamber where he spends his last night....

Change of heart... religion divides us into either 'us' or 'them'. There is no middle ground cos the middle is usually occupied by guns. Isn't that so true today. The way we go for conversions... more like coercion, 'bribery' and force. Your faith, my faith.... I am right, you are wrong. And because of that we fight.

The issues put forward by the novel - death penalty, a mother facing the possibility of losing her daughter being offered the heart of the man who killed her husband and other daughter, miracles in the correctional facility.... Also of love and redemption and hope in the darkest of moments and places.

I like it for the way it reminds me of this.. organized religion stops becoming a faith when it becomes a tool to remain in power. The writer encourages us to question the basis of our faith. Interesting to note that she used the Gnostic Gospels as the vehicle. I've only read in passing the existence of the Gnostic Gospels. This book has made me want to know a bit more. Perhaps I will do a little reading up on that.

It's a nice book, tear jerker; hard not to be moved to tears some of the narratives. Very Piccoult-like. It's her third book that I've read and all 3 have something to do with believe. How it can move mountains, make us go beyond our selfish selves....

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