Book Review: A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult

Jodi Picoult is my all-time favourite author. I’m always super excited during the lead up to a new release. It was no different for A Spark of Light. Let me tell you what I thought about it in my latest book review.


A Spark of Light* by Jodi Picoult is set in a women’s reproductive health clinic. Late one morning, a gunman comes in and takes a bunch of hostages, even killing some. Police hostage negotiator Hugh McElroy rushes to the scene to communicate with the gunman. However, once there, he finds out his 15-year-old daughter Wren is one of the hostages.

A Spark of Light Jodi Picoult Book Review Joyful Antidotes


A Spark of Light is a timely and relevant story. I felt it to be especially so for me as an Irish woman. In Ireland last year, a referendum to legalise abortion was passed. Early this year it came into play and unfortunately we have already heard of people refusing to perform abortions, as well as the usual group of anti-abortion protesters on the scene.

As you can imagine, abortion is a touchy subject. Hats off to Jodi Picoult for handling it so well. There is absolutely no bias in this story. It simply tells things how they are through a collection of different characters with different stories. It shows that the black and white areas we are brought up to believe exist are actually rather minuscule in comparison to the murky grey area that lies between.

A Spark of Light shows us that it is not just women who want an abortion visit these clinics. They are also visited by women needing contraception and women who unfortunately have cervical cancer. It also recalls just a few of the many reasons a woman may want an abortion, the reasons not also being so clear cut.

Once again, Jodi Picoult proves herself to be a fearless, controversial writer. Alas, this was one book of hers that left me feeling disappointed at the end. I can’t explain exactly why, just that I didn’t have the same buzz I get while reading one of her books that I usually do. If I were to give reasons about why I was disappointed, two things immediately come to mind. One is that, while A Spark of Light was very well researched, it lacked the emotion I have come to attach to a Jodi Picoult book, and the emotion I felt this story certainly deserved. Secondly, the timeline was a bit confusing. It took me a while to realise the story was being told in reverse order. By the end of the book I understood why Jodi Picoult choose to write it this way, but the revelation was not enough to save the story for me.

I can’t say that I disliked this book because I didn’t. It was a good read. I just felt slightly let down. Has anybody else read A Spark of Light and felt the same?

*Warning* A Spark of Light contains scenes that may be triggering

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  1. I read “My Sisters Keeper” by Picoult and wasn’t a huge fan, so I haven’t read any more of her books, but after seeing this review I feel like I might give her another try.

  2. Hi! I’m a huge Jodi fan and this book has been incredibly divisive, not just in terms of subject, but because the way in which the timeline is structured – I absolutely loved it, and it is now my favourite book of hers. I had the honour of going to see her speak about this book and she just blew me away with how eloquent and passionate she was about the subject. You’re definitely not alone with being disappointed though!

  3. I’ve read a couple of Jodi Picoult’s books. I think she’s a great writer and her books definitely pull me in. They are just tough for me! I can’t handle how heart wrenching they are. From the two I read, she makes it seem like everything will end okay and then at the last minute, she crushes your heart. I should try another one of her books though.
    This book sounds interesting but that stinks that you didn’t like it as much as her other ones.

  4. I’ve read a few Jodi Picoult books and they’ve always been good and had interesting themes in them. I haven’t heard of this one but it definitely sounds right up my street!

    Jenny in Neverland

  5. Such a shame that this was a let down for you! It sounds like it had so much potential. I’d love love love a book like this as long as the emotional connection was there x


  6. Thanks for saying it’s triggering …..I’am a Jodi fan and went to see her on her tour of this book last year. I got a signed copy but not read it yet as not sure I can come with reading about abortion ….it may bring back bad memories. How graphically does it describe the procedures?

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