Tag Archives: Jodi Picoult

Book Diva Review: A Change of Heart

achangeofheart A Change of Heart, by Jodi Picoult is an excellent novel that examines several factors, from the death penalty to church and politics, and to the dynamics of organ donation. I Give it Five Stars!

Shay Bourne is awaiting execution on death row in New Hampshire, for the murder of policeman Kurt Nealon and his stepdaughter, Elizabeth. It will be the first execution in 69 years. Bourne feels it is the only way he can find redemption and salvation, within his personal spiritual belief. The problem is that death must be by hanging, and he has been sentenced to death by lethal injection.

It is not without reason that I find Picoult named the prisoner Shay Bourne. The given name Shay in Hebrew means supplanter and also gift, and the irish meaning is hawk and also can mean admirable, while the Gaelic meaning is gift. The surname Bourne means spring or stream, or one who lives near a spring or stream, or even border/boundary. It can also mean birth, beginning, rebirth. The variables of these names can apply to the traits and the endeavor of Shay Bourne to donate his heart to Claire, sister of the murdered Eliabeth, daughter of the policeman Bourne murdered.

The story is woven and alternates between Bourne, June Nealon..wife of Kurt, Michael…a priest who was on the jury that convicted Bourne, and he is now Bourne’s spiritual advisor, Lucious…a prisoner, Maggie…an ACLU representative, and Claire.

Jodi Picoulthas written a compelling novel, on many levels, including mother-daughter relationships, prisoner rights in relation to religious beliefs and the choice of dying, forgiveness and love.

Shay is viewed by some as the Messiah, due to some incidents in prison where others feel he performed miracles, such as reviving a dead bird, bringing wine into the prison water system, etc. The Gnostic Gospels come into play, as Bourne seems to be able to quote from them, with sayings supposedly made by Jesus. Bourne becomes a martyr of sorts for the death penalty.

The ending surprised me, lending clarity as to the reasoning behind Bourne’s decisions. I recommend A Change of Heart to everyone.

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Book Diva Review – My Sister’s Keeper

My Sister’s Keeper, by Jodi Picoult, begins with teen-aged Anna and her visit to see a lawyer due to the fact that she wants to sue her parents. Anna was specifically conceived through genetic engineering in order to save her sixteen year-old sister Kate, who has a rare form of terminal cancer. In this respect, Anna has spent her entire life, literally, in and out of hospital settings in order to donate blood and other parts of herself in order to save Kate. She is tired of being prodded, and tired of having lack of control over decisions made regarding her own body. Anna is now at the point in her life where she wants to be free of the restrictions and parental decisions that have bound her to her sister’s life. Therein begins a dilemma of huge proportions in so many aspects.

Kate, meanwhile, doesn’t always seem to appreciate what has been given to her. Her parents dote on her every whim, even those whims that aren’t necessary for survival. They do this to the extent that they often forget they have two other children. Kate is their main focus in life, yet Anna is expected to yield pieces of her body at any given moment.

The fact that the parents emotionally neglect Anna and give up on their son Jesse are integral to the fact that they are not able to make the right decisions that are in the best interests of Anna.

My Sister’s Keeper deals with the extreme issues of ethics, morals, and the social and legal ramifications of genetic engineering. All of these dilemmas are masterfully conveyed within the pages of this compelling story. Picoult is brilliant in her assessment of the issues and repercussions regarding the choices made by the family members and others involved in the situation. She raises a lot of questions, and leaves the reader with a lot to ponder. Which sister is the actual keeper? Is there an answer to that question? You read and decide.

I highly recommend My Sister’s Keeper, by Jodi Picoult, to everyone.

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