Amy Reads Books

Change of Heart

Change of Heart - Jodi Picoult (3.5 Stars)Looking at this novel I thought I new exactly what I was letting myself in for, and had pretty much made up my mind about the central dilemma (of course you’d take the heart; it’s not like your daughter’s going to turn into a murderer for Christ’s sake). However, Change of Heart isn’t really about organ donation or transplants. It’s only a little bit about the death penalty as well. Rather, Change of Heart is about faith and kind of about Jesus and sort of about reincarnation. Whilst I didn’t really get the plot that much, and I saw the ‘twist’ coming from the opening chapter, there was something about Change of Heart I really enjoyed.The basic plot outline is that June’s husband Kurt and young daughter from her first marriage (which ended in tragedy as well) Elizabeth are murdered by their kind of handyman Shay Bourne. In an apparent desire to repent for what he did, Bourne wishes to donate his heart to Claire, Jane & Kurt’s daughter, after he is put to death. The story is told from several perspectives; from June herself, from Michael a priest who was on the jury that convicts Shay, from Lucius the guy in the cell next to Shay in prison and from Maggie, a kind of rights lawyer who takes on Shay’s case. Unlike The Very Thought of You, Change of Heart deals with the multiple characters ably. Each perspective is well-fleshed out and well written, to the point that none of the characters were stereotypes, especially when the novel deals with gay characters and religious characters. It is strange to read a book where the victim comes across as the least likeable character, some of June’s actions struck me as somewhat selfish, but then no doubt in a situation as strange as the one she faces I doubt I would act much differently.The only part of the novel that did bamboozle me was the plot. It seemed that a novel that was selling itself on being about a kind of medical and moral dilemma, actually turned into a novel that discussed religion, as it was almost as though Shay becomes like a Christ figure capable of performing miracles (seriously)…but then…maybe not. Whilst I was a little bit baffled by this, the fact that Picoult discusses things like athiesm, Catholicism, Judaism and even the Gnostic gospels in a sensible way in mainstream fiction is pretty awesome.Change of Heart was a real page-turning, fun light read with some really great characterisation that meant that I can (almost) overlook the confusing plot.