change of heart

By Jodi Picoult
590 pages, excluding reading guide paperback edition (2017). Published by Simon and Shuster
ISBN: 978-1-5011-0243-1

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About the Author

Jodi Picoult is an American writer who has authored over 26 novels and short stories, many of which are in print worldwide and translated into 34 languages. That is per Wikipedia. I do not have any firsthand knowledge of this. What I do know is that my daughter loves her books. This is enough for me to give the books a try.

Review and Evaluation

I thought “Nineteen Minutes” started slow, but this “change of heart” was even slower for me. You need to get through all the development to begin and understand and appreciate the story. Patience, little grasshopper.

I first looked at the back cover to get an idea of what the book is about. And it was whether a mother could grant an enemy’s wish if that would help save someone she loved. That is how I interpreted it. This story is about a killer and a developing relationship with the mother of the victim.

I enjoy stories that involve magic and sorcery. Even those that blend science and the supernatural. I do have a problem with stories I feel critique or make fun of a religion. Christianity, Catholicism in particular, is fair game. Which I understand given the many problems the catholic church has had. It just makes the book a little harder to read.

More patience little grasshopper.

As I mentioned, this is the second book by Jodi Picoult that I’ve read. “Nineteen Minutes“, the first book was engaging. I even looked forward to reading the following pages, and the next chapters. As with her other books, there is a reading guide at the end to help start discussions for schools or book clubs.

This was not the case with “a change of heart”. Is this a story of redemption? It would make us think so. The principal character, Shay seems to display acts of miracles like curing disease and bringing animals to life. He also has the uncanny ability to quote from gospels not included in the accepted version of the Bible. 

And despite his alleged lack of intelligence in a common way, he makes a fool of a priest, Michael, by making him doubt his core beliefs and question all he has ever learned about his faith. Fr Michael even considers Shay as Jesus, who has returned in the second coming. Only to find out later on that he was playing. All the miracles the principal character allegedly did were explainable, even if I considered these a stretch. His knowledge of a Gnostic Bible was harder for Michael. Not until Shay himself blew the cover off the sham, he pulled did it become clear. Shay revealed himself to be not only a convicted murderer but a fake messiah. Or was he? The story is left hanging as to whether this is true. It is implied that whatever power Shay had transferred to his beneficiary.

One Final Thought

So is this a story about one man’s quest for redemption? Or is it a story of one man’s quest to have the final say over an event in his life over which he never had much to say?

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