Author: Jodi Picoult, 2008
Genre: Family Drama. Contemporary.
Other Details: Hardback. 450 pages.
Family with kids + multiple narrators + ethical dilemma + court case + twist at end = a Jodi Picoult novel.
This is the third book I've read by Picoult and the above formula does appear to hold true. In this one, she poses questions about justice, vengeance, faith and redemption.
Eleven years ago Shay Bourne was convicted of the double murder of police officer, Kurt Nealon and his 7-year old step-daughter Elizabeth. As a result he is the first person in 58 years to receive the death penalty in New Hampshire. June Nealon's life had been devastated by these deaths and she was only able to carry on due to the unborn child she was carrying. However, Claire was born with a heart defect and has been on the transplant list for years.
Time is running out for Claire. It is also running out for Shay Bourne as his date for execution approaches. When he sees a television appeal about Claire's need for a new heart, he requests that after his execution his heart be donated to her. This offer raises all kinds of issues emotional, medical, ethical and legal.
OK, it's a pretty unlikely situation all round even without the aspects very reminiscent of Stephen King's 'The Green Mile'. Yet despite my cynicism, I was still glued to the settee for a couple of days reading this and was mulling over the issues raised. It may be chick lit but it isn't fluff. This is a reading group selection for later this month and expect it will prove one that generates a lively discussion.
Change of Heart - Picoult's page on the book, including the story behind the story and excerpt.