Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Matters of the heart
Change of Heart is typical Jodi Picoult -- the book equivalent of comfort food. She uses her usual shifts between characters, tackles timely moral issues, and throws in a courtroom and a twist toward the end. The plot itself is complicated enough -- a death-row inmate wants to donate his heart to the girl whose father and sister he killed. But then Picoult brings in an even more complicated religious element that, in my opinion, was a little too much. Shay didn't need to be a Jesus figure for me to consider his rights -- his humanity was enough, especially the way the case was presented. It just seemed like overkill, which made the book not as strong as some of Picoult's others. I also wanted more from the mother, June -- her character was rarely present and seemed not as well drawn as others. At some points in the book, her absence worked well, but at others I needed to hear more from her. And the title is just a little too punny, but that's typical Picoult too, so I'll let it slide. Let's call Change of Heart meatloaf that's a tiny bit too dry -- still comforting, still awfully tasty, but not quite perfect.