Change of Heartby Jodi Picoult

From the book jacket –

One moment June Nealon was happily looking forward to years full of laughter and adventure with her family, and the next, she was staring into a future that was as empty as her heart.  Now her life is a waiting game.  Waiting for time to heal her wounds, waiting for justice.  In short, waiting for a miracle to happen.

For Shay Bourne, life holds no more surprises.  The world has given him nothing, and he has nothing to offer the world.  In a heartbeat, though, something happens that changes everything.  Now, he has one last chance for salvation, and it lies with June’s eleven-year-old daughter, Claire.  But between Shay and Claire stretches an ocean of bitter regrets, past crimes, and the rage of a mother who has lost her child.

Father Michael’s decisions as a young man led him to devote the rest of his life to God.  But when he comes face-to-face with Shay, he is forced to question everything he’s been taught to believe about religion, about good and evil, about forgiveness, about himself.

Can we save ourselves, or do we rely on others to do it?  Is what we believe always the truth?

My thoughts –

I have to say, I enjoyed this latest installment by Picoult better than most of her other books.  The subject matter was very touchy/interesting (can a man sentenced to die for two horrible murders actually be the Messiah in disguise?  And can you give a piece of yourself, a physical piece, to atone for a brutal wrong you have committed?) but I really got into this story.  And with all Picoult books, things aren’t always what they seem, and there’s new information that comes to light toward the end of the book that makes you rethink all the opinions you had formed throughout the story.  I won’t give anything away, of course, but I do recommend this book, especially if you are a fan of Picoult already.

One more thing – I am a Christian, a believer in God and Jesus and the Bible.  But I also am a person who does not think the Bible is meant to be a literal translation of the word of God.  I am a rational person and I know from learning history that the Bible was not written by God himself, or even Jesus, or even, in some cases, by people who knew  Jesus.  A lot of it is stories told from person to person and finally captured in writing years later.  So the portions of the book about the Gnostic gospels were particularly interesting to me.  I actually may do further research on this topic (it’s VERY rare for me to do any type of research about something I’ve read in a book.  Usually when I’m done with a book, I’m just done).  I don’t think Picoult meant to say anything negative about organized religion, I simply think she was doing what she always does, writing a book that attempt to question commonly held beliefs and values, and make people rethink what they know as fact.

9 stars.

Read Christina’s review here, Julie’s review here, Devourer of Books’ review here, Di’s review here, Darcie’s review here, Natasha’s review here, Lynne’s review here, Susan’s review here, Jill’s review here, and Lesley’s review here.

** Because of my overflowing bookshelves and my feeling that I’ll probably not pick this book up again in the future, I have decided to give it away!  Please leave a comment on this post by Sunday, May 24th at midnight central time to win.  If you blog about my giveaway, you will receive TWO entries!  Also, I’m thinking about giving away the rest of my Picoult books later on (I have 5 others) so watch out for those in the near future.  Good luck everyone!**