Would you give up your vengeance against someone you hate if it meant saving someone you love?
For the record: I am neither for nor against the death penalty. I have not researched enough about it to form an educated opinion. This may come off as ignorant but I don’t ever make judgements on things I don’t know enough about.
The quote about encompasses what the entire book is about and it leaves you thinking. Shay is convicted of killing June’s husband and daughter and is set to die. With his death, June’s other daughter, Claire, gets another shot at life. But it is so much more complex than what I am making it to be. Of course, I don’t know of a book about the death penalty that isn’t complex.
One of the strongest things about this book and about Jodi Picoult’s writing is the multiple POVs that come together to tell the story of Shay. The four POVs are in no way overwhelming and offer multiple insights to the story. Many authors struggle with two POVs but Picoult can balance upwards of six with ease. One of the things she does that I think all authors should do if they have different POVs, is change the font type. That helps loads and gives the characters a more personal feel. For me anyway.
This book also talks a lot about religion, as one of the POVs is a Catholic priest and the lawyer is Jewish but not practicing. I am not religious, not in the “normal” sense anway. Because of that, I tend to judge books with religion more than if they didn’t have that element with the exception of historical fiction. It’s a personal flaw that I am working on overcoming. For those that aren’t religious like me, this book might come off as preachy at times, especially with Michael’s POV (the Catholic priest). But it also gives insight to how some religious officials feel about the death penalty.
Overall, this book is amazing. It’s an excellent reason why Jodi Picoult is so good at what she does. Her topics, often controversial and morally grey, make you think about things in an entirely different light. I am seriously tempted to go and do research on the death penalty and how it came to be. I highly suggest this to anyone looking into a read that isn’t your typical book.