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Shalee the Critic  Change of Heart

Page history last edited by Mrs. K. 11 years, 8 months ago


Shalee The Critic: Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult

By: Shalee H

Well I admit it, I am a binge reader.  You may ask, what exactly is a "binge reader"?  Well, I am one of those students that doesn't read very often by any means, but when I do read, all of my focus goes into that one book and nothing else for a good three to five days.  On my latest binge, I read the book Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult.  Now, I don't know about you, but when I think of the phrase, “a change of heart”, I think of changing your mind about something, like those expensive shoes that you just had to have when you were standing in the store, and then realized, after purchase of course, that you will probably never wear them.  Or that one of a kind purse that could do nothing less than complete your life entirely, that only later realize it is quite possibly the ugliest handbag that you have ever seen.  Some changes of the heart also involve something deeper than shoes and purses.  In this novel, Change of Heart, Picoult does a fantastic job of portraying the figurative and the literal idea of "a change of heart".  Did I just say literal?  Yes, I most certainly did.  This book involves a literal change of heart, a heart transplant.

          One of the definite positives of this book is the storyline.  Of course, the good tear jerker of a family member or a friend donating their heart to a loved one would make for a good book, or even just the story of a young girl waiting for a heart and then at the last minute finding a perfect match.  Picoult, however, twists the idea of a heart donation past anything I could have ever imagined. June Nealon's first husband was killed in a car accident leaving June and her daughter Elizabeth.  She then married the policeman that helped her through the death of her first husband, Kurt Nealon.  When June became pregnant she hired a man, Shay Bourne, to build a nursery for her soon to come baby girl.  When June returns home one night after a doctor's visit, she finds police cars and ambulances surrounding her house and later learns that her husband Kurt and her daughter Elizabeth have both been shot and killed by Bourne.  How much pain can one woman take?  After short deliberation by jury, they find Bourne guilty of two counts of first degree murder, and sentence him to death by lethal injection.  Seems like quite the story doesn't it?  Well it certainly does not end there.  One night in prison, Bourne learns that June's daughter, Claire, is in desperate need of a heart transplant.  After finding this information, Shay is on a mission to donate his heart to Claire Nealon.  If I were June Nealon, there are two things that I would never want: First, I would never want to lose my only daughter after I'd already lost so much, and second, I would never want the heart of the man who killed my husband and my first daughter beating in my second daughter's chest.  This storyline is the kind of storyline that demands you to think and feel for the characters, and to see things in an entirely different perspective.  

           The storyline and the creativity of the characters in this book are very good, however, there is always a negative side.  This book is very technical, for lack of a better word.  It has a lot to do with medicine and religion and what is right and wrong and full of very real, but very hard to follow facts.  For instance, Bourne is unable to die by lethal injection because the potassium will stop his heart and then he cannot donate it, so there is a long drawn out process of getting a judge to believe that Bourne needs to be hanged for his death sentence.  Though the importance of this problem is clear, most of the legal issues in this book are hard to follow.  The religious themes in the book get very monotonous as well.  A great deal of people in this book believe that Bourne is the messiah.  They believe he is the messiah because they believe that he has performed miracles such as turning the water in the prison to wine, bringing a baby bird back to life, taking one piece of gum and having enough for seven men, and even healing a man with AIDS. All of the religious arguments and facts are very hard to follow and often get quite boring.  I found myself skipping paragraphs because it felt like I was reading the same thing over and over.  Though there had to be explanations about the religious controversies, these explanations were drawn out too far and took away from the book. 

          Over all, this book was well written and very unique, I give it an eight on a scale of one to ten (ten meaning this is the perfect book, and one meaning this book was a waste of paper).  I believe the elements that make a book unforgettable are: the uniqueness of the storyline, the reader/character relationship, and the delivery.  Jodi Picoult, I believe, is a very gifted author.  In fact, three of her books hold positions in my top five favorite books, but this book lost a lot of interest for me through the fact vs fiction and religious sections.  I would still highly recommend this book, though, and I strongly believe it is worth a good three to five day binge.



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