Posts Tagged death penalty

Change of heart. (Jodi Picoult, 2008)

Change of heart. (Jodi Picoult, 2008)

“One moment June Nealon was happily looking forward to years full of laughter and adventure with her family, and the next, she was staring into a future that was as empty as her heart.  Now her life is a waiting game.  Waiting for time to heal her wounds, waiting for justice.  In short, waiting for a miracle to happen.

For Shay Bourne, life holds no more surprises.  The world has given him nothing, and he has nothing to offer the world.  In a heartbeat, though, something happens that changes everything.  Now, he has one last chance for salvation, and it lies with June’s eleven-year-old daughter, Claire.  But between Shay and Claire stretches an ocean of bitter regrets, past crimes, and the rage of a mother who has lost her child.

Father Michael’s decisions as a young man led him to devote the rest of his life to God.  But when he comes face-to-face with Shay, he is forced to question everything he’s been taught to believe about religion, about good and evil, about forgiveness.  About himself.”


This was the first Jodi Picoult I read, and I have to say I’m excited to read more of her books.  It’s not that Change of Heart was particularly suspenseful or surprising.  I guessed the main plot by page 10.  I think I just like her writing style–very easy to read and I didn’t have to look up the definitions of words too many times.  During this leisure reading experience, I learned a few things about medicine, theology, and the justice system.  Not bad for slightly over 400 pages of one-and-a-half spaced medium print.  The characters are interesting with a little romance and a little mystery intertwined with a lot of spirituality.

Sorry, I need to gripe about another ending so you might not want to read on if you don’t want a spoiler.  I just don’t get June Nealon’s character.  I tried being sympathetic towards her, but it became increasingly harder as the story progressed.  By the end of the novel, I couldn’t stand June Nealon.  I don’t know how it feels to have my children taken from me by a murderer or, for that matter, have children at all.  I don’t know if it would be possible for me to reconcile with someone who’s killed a person so dear to me, but I know I would at least try for my own sanity.  I know that whenever I felt hate in my heart, it caused me more internal torture than anything else.  I find that it’s easier to accept people as they are.  If someone’s wronged you, remember what they did but move on and forgive.  That doesn’t mean you have to completely trust them again.  You can choose to not include that person in your life anymore while forgiving them at the same time.

Anyways, back to the story, the reason I don’t like June Nealon is because she decides to take Shay Bourne’s heart to save her second daughter even after she discovers that he might not have murdered her husband and elder daughter.  She was fine with not only stealing 11 years of Shay Bourne’s life as he rotted away in a penitentiary for a crime he might not have committed, but also killing him through capital punishment.  I don’t think I could live with killing someone else to save my own child, especially if the person I’m killing is innocent.  The guilt I’d feel would be endless because the person I’m killing must be loved by someone as well.  Yes, Shay Bourne insisted on giving his heart to June’s daughter, Claire, and was willing to die to do it.  That still doesn’t make it right.  June never contested or even questioned if what she was doing was right.

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