Catching Katy

Reads, Eats, & Everything Else


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A Spark of Light

Many years ago I went on a Jodi Picoult reading binge. I didn’t dislike any of them I just needed a change of pace eventually. Her books would still always come up as recommended so I decided to give one her new a shot. I honestly had no idea what A Spark of Light was about when I started reading it. I don’t always read synopses of books, especially if I know friends have read it or it’s been on certain lists. That’s not to say I would not have read it, but everyone should be prepared for a heavy story line.

A group of women sit one morning at a women’s clinic in Mississippi when a man comes in and starts shooting. You find this out early so I’m really not spoiling anything. What’s also unique about this book is that the timeline goes backwards by the hour and during each hour you learn about what’s happening from each character’s perspective. There’s the doctor, a nurse, a girl and her aunt, the shooter, the hostage negotiator, the shooter’s daughter, a pro-life protester, and a patient who just had an abortion. There it is. The heavy topic of the book is abortion. The clinic is the only one in the state that does abortions – along with general women’s health.

I’m not going to get into a political debate or talk about my views but the book was very interesting. Each character has a very different opinion about abortion. Many see it as a black or white issue while others have varying degrees of agreement or opposition. Picoult obviously did her research and I think it took a lot of guts to write a story like this, especially with social media and public access to writers, celebrities, etc.

It’s a good read but don’t start it looking for a lighthearted beach read. You have been warned!


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Small Great Things

I’ve read many Jodi Picoult books and consider her to be a great writer of fictional, take-to-the-beach type books. So when I saw she had a new novel out, I didn’t even read the synopsis before grabbing a copy.

Small Great Things was probably the most personally challenging book I have ever read. Depending on who you are, it will make you uncomfortable, make you relate, and/or make you question yourself and the world around you. It is a detailed story of race and privilege. Even if you are not (or believe you are not) racist, there are inevitable prejudices we all have due to our society. This story broadcasts such prejudices, whether slight or extreme, into a spotlight.

My only complaint is the end still wraps everything up in a nice neat bow and I think it was a little unrealistic. Although most characters were based on people Picoult interviewed, so I guess it’s not completely out of the question. I also enjoyed reading, after the end of story, her thoughts about writing this story and the journey it took.

This is not a happy story but it is an important one that I appreciate her writing. Enjoy!

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