Title: Change of Heart
Author: Jodi Picoult
Publisher: Allen and Unwin
It is almost impossible to walk past a bookstore or airport gift shop without seeing a Jodi Picoult novel. So phenomenally successful is the
Picoult sticks to her winning formula of moral dilemma meets legal question in this, her 15th novel.
Change of Heart sees Shay Bourne on death row for the murder of a five year old girl and her police officer step-father. Shay sees a chance to redeem himself when the young victim’s sister needs a heart transplant. Problem is the State of
The book is told from four points of view. Maggie, the lawyer assigned to Shay’s case, June, the mother who lost her daughter and husband to the murder and the mom of the girl needing the transplant, Father Michael, Shay's Roman Catholic Priest who also happened to be on the jury which convicted him, and Lucuis who occupies the cell next to Shay.
The novel suffers at times both from a lack of strong editing (which was also apparent in some of her previous books) and some moments that smack of unoriginality - bordering on plagiarism. Stephen King’s epic story The Green Mile is gloriously ripped off, in particular a scene where one of the inmates has a baby bird brought back to life after being killed by a guard. Maybe Picoult considered it homage to one of
It also takes some time to get used to the jumps in point of view which coincide with changes of font for each of the narrators but once you get passed this, it is exactly what you expect from a Jodi Picoult novel: slightly formulaic but ultimately gritty, emotionally charged and thoroughly compelling.
As an aside...fans will be pleased to know that the next Jodi Picoult novel has already been announced. The tentatively titled “Handle with Care” is due for release in 2009.
First published in Nexus Magazine, Issue 5, 7 April 2008. Reproduced with kind permission.