I am still a Jodi Picoult fan, always will be. Sometimes being a breastfeeding mom, you will get tied in bed with your little hungry one and nowhere to go, so it helps to have a book nearby. My sister gave me this book for the longest time and it was only during my maternity leave did I get to ‘sink my teeth’ into this enthralling book.
June Nealon is a mother who had a tragic loss. Her daughter and her new husband were murdered by their carpenter, Shay Bourne while she was pregnant. Shay Bourne was sentenced to death by lethal injection. Fast forward eleven years after, the baby June was carrying during the tragic death,is on the news. Claire Nealon is sick and needs a heart donor. While Shay Bourne inside the prison was making news himself. He suddenly was performing miracles like turning water into wine and resurrecting a dead bird and some people thinks he is the new Jesus Christ. Shay, upon hearing the news of poor Claire’s heart, is adamant to give his heart to Claire after the lethal injection. Shay was given a spiritual mentor, the young Father Michael, to prepare him for his death. While single mother, June, is in a dilemma if she will accept the offer of her other daughter’s murderer to give a new life to her ill daughter.
Change of Heart is definitely a page-turner. Like most Jodi Picoult novels, it is narrated in different voices: June – the mother; Father Michael – the spiritual director; Lucius – the gay prison mate of Shay, and Maggie Bloom – the atheist lawyer that will help Shay in bringing justice to his death wish. A little trivia, Jodi Picoult, tailored the narrators to the Bible’s gospel of Matthew, Luke, Mark and John hence the first letter of the names of the narrators. Some Catholics will find the novel to border into anti-Christianity because of trying to model the convicted Shay into the new Jesus Christ and the reference to the gnostic gospels. Is he or isn’t he the new Messiah? It wasn’t really that clear in the end. I love the character of Father Michael in the book. He was a voice of reason for most part of the novel however in the later end, he became a bit gullible to Shay’s charm. Being a new mother myself, it would be tough to be in June’s shoes. Would you take your daughter’s murder’s heart to save your other daughter’s life? There is a surprise revelation in the end which would make you cringe a bit. But this one is definitely an entertaining and interesting book that Jodi Picoult’s fans would love.
POINTS FOR DISCUSSION:
1. If you are June, would you accept Shay’s offer to give your daughter a new heart even if it means that she will be living with the heart of a murderer?
2. Are you in favour of the death penalty?
3. Can you forgive someone in your past if they ask for forgiveness, even if their previous actions lead to permanent ‘scars’ in your life?
4. How can you differentiate religion and faith?