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'A writer the world needs to be reading right now' The Independent
'An apposite and nuanced novel... Picoult writes about an emotive, controversial issue with unflinching precision.' Red
'Incredibly compelling and page turning' Dolly Alderton
'A very special novel about a very difficult subject.' Grazia
'Her intelligent, meticulously researched novels explore ethical dilemmas through heartrending, headline-grabbing scenarios' The Sunday Times
A lone gunman takes the women and doctors at a controversial abortion clinic hostage. Nobody has ended up there by choice.
As the tense negotiation for their release unfolds, hour by crucial hour, back in time through the day that brought the hostages and their captor to this moment, every certainty is questioned, every judgement thrown into sharp relief.
Because matters of life and death look very different when you, or the ones you love, are staring down the barrel of a gun . . .
Powerful, thought-provoking and deeply involving, Jodi Picoult's new novel is told in reverse, propelling the reader through intertwining characters and uncovering motives in this unflinching exploration of what makes a life.
Drama abounds in Picoult's latest issue-driven novel (following Small Great Things) in which a hostage crisis in a women's health center/abortion clinic provides a look at a volatile subject. George Goddard, a lone gunman seeking revenge for his daughter's abortion, busts into the clinic in Jackson, Miss., killing and wounding several staff and patients. He holds a handful of them hostage, including Wren and Bex, the 15-year-old daughter and adult sister of Hugh McElroy, the police hostage negotiator assigned to the crisis. Meanwhile, Beth, a teenager in a hospital in Oxford, Miss., whose attempts to have a legal abortion were thwarted, takes medication to abort her 16-week-old fetus and nearly dies from blood loss. She is brought to a hospital and her life is saved, but the state prosecutor's office accuses her of murder upon finding out the reasons for her condition. Picoult's extensive research shines throughout, but the book's reverse chronological structure interferes with the complicated back stories, which include the gunman's reasons for going on a rampage; a doctor's path to performing abortions; why a pro-life believer goes undercover to the clinic to obtain damaging evidence; Beth's thwarted attempts to get a legal abortion; and the relationship between Wren, Bex, and Hugh. Nevertheless, this is a powerful story that brings clarity to the history of abortion and investigates the voices on both sides of the issue.
Customer ReviewsSee All
After concentrating and working out that this book is written backwards I enjoyed it a lot more... may still have to read it the other way though to get all the detail straight.
Really good characters on both sides of the argument.
One bugbear (and I’m possibly missing the point) is that we didn’t find out what happened to lots of characters (one in particular). I was hoping the epilogue would tie up everyone not just the main characters.