What I’m Reading: A Spark of Light

From the book jacket:

The warm fall day starts like any other at the Center—a women’s reproductive health services clinic—its staff offering care to anyone who passes through its doors. Then, in late morning, a desperate and distraught gunman bursts in and opens fire, taking all inside hostage.

After rushing to the scene, Hugh McElroy, a police hostage negotiator, sets up a perimeter and begins making a plan to communicate with the gunman. As his phone vibrates with incoming text messages he glances at it and, to his horror, finds out that his fifteen-year-old daughter, Wren, is inside the clinic.

But Wren is not alone. She will share the next and tensest few hours of her young life with a cast of unforgettable characters: A nurse who calms her own panic in order save the life of a wounded woman. A doctor who does his work not in spite of his faith but because of it, and who will find that faith tested as never before. A pro-life protester disguised as a patient, who now stands in the cross hairs of the same rage she herself has felt. A young woman who has come to terminate her pregnancy. And the disturbed individual himself, vowing to be heard.

Told in a daring and enthralling narrative structure that counts backward through the hours of the standoff, this is a story that traces its way back to what brought each of these very different individuals to the same place on this fateful day.

Jodi Picoult—one of the most fearless writers of our time—tackles a complicated issue in this gripping and nuanced novel. How do we balance the rights of pregnant women with the rights of the unborn they carry? What does it mean to be a good parent? A Spark of Light will inspire debate, conversation . . . and, hopefully, understanding. 

My review:

I’m not even sure where to start with A Spark of Light, so I suppose I’ll start by saying that I really, really enjoyed it. The reverse timeline, while different, worked so well; I couldn’t put the book down because I wanted to know how everyone got to this point. In a sense, it’s much like how any type of investigative work is conducted: A major event happens, and all the layers are peeled back one by one to see where everything/everyone originated from.

Without getting into what my personal beliefs are on the subject of this book (because that’s not what this review is about), I can understand the anger and frustration from both sides of the equation, and Picoult does a remarkable job arguing both sides.

When you say you can’t do something because your religion forbids it, that’s a good thing. When you say I can’t do something because your religion forbids it, that’s a problem.

– Dr. Louie Ward

I think that quote spoke to me the most, out of everything else in the book. No matter what your beliefs may be, I think the above quote is something everyone should really consider in all aspects of life.

A Spark of Light also made me so thankful to live where I do. Healthcare is an amazing privilege and while there are a few issues, I can find care regardless of my social status.

Anyway – while I’ve read that some readers didn’t like the reverse timeline, I felt that Picoult left just enough information out to keep me intrigued and wondering how everything happened – thank goodness for the epilogue! The small twist near the end was perfect and not too over-the-top, and explains so much. My only desire was to learn more about Beth. At the end of the book I was left wondering what happened to her because in a sense, she had lost the most out of anyone.

Overall, I believe that A Spark of Light is a thought-provoking book that is definitely worth reading. Jodi Picoult nailed it again.

My rating: ★★★★★/5

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January Recap

January kind of flew right by, didn’t it? Normally it seems to be a month that drags on forever, but thanks to some great weather it wasn’t overly bad! Here’s what we got up to this past month:

  • I tried my best to take a half-decent photo of the Super Blood Wolf Moon, or whatever it was called. (Are the names for these events real or do they just pull things from the Twilight books?) I think I could’ve got a better photo if I had a bigger zoom lens, but I was pretty happy with how it turned out in the end.
  • We got in some sledding with some friends before the snow nearly melted all away! The hill was pretty icy, but the girls all had a blast regardless. It’s almost bizarre how mild it’s been this winter – not that I’m complaining because I know that back in eastern Canada it’s a bit of a different story.
  • I started the lululemon 40|80 Challenge on Strava. In a nutshell, it’s an outdoor running challenge that encourages you to complete either 40 or 80 kms in two weeks. Once the challenge is over, there was a special reward from lululemon for everyone who completed the challenges! I managed to finish the challenge with 43 kms, which was no easy feat; I had to push Norah in the stroller quite a bit, and battled a bit of ice and snow along the way, but I did it! Kyle was a huge help too by taking me out for a 10km run, my longest distance yet! Anyway, I was happy to complete the challenge and definitely took advantage of my reward!
  • Norah started swimming lessons and while she didn’t pass (her back glide needs more work) she is definitely a little fish and loves being in the water. Confidence is definitely something she exudes! She’s also still in ninja school and loving it; she looks forward to going to “school” and seeing her coach and friends every week!
  • I also filled out and submitted Norah’s preschool registration forms! She’ll go twice a week for a half-day just like Isla did, and it’s really something that I think she’ll enjoy and benefit from. (Also, I don’t even want to talk about how she’ll be 4 this year because she’s still my baby …)
  • Isla is still loving everything – dancing, reading, life! Her ballet class is now starting to work on their end of the year recital routine, she’s crushing it at school, and is overall just making Kyle and I very proud!
  • Kyle and I have started a new routine in the evening of turning off the TV and putting down our phones about an hour before bed and playing Scrabble. It’s really actually helped us unwind and relax a bit, plus it’s fun to have a little friendly competition! We’ve played almost every night and it’s been a great substitution to staring at the television. We’ll happily take any suggestions for other boardgames that are simple/quick for two people to play!
  • I had grand plans of doing an Instagram Story a Day for 2019, but I’m thinking I’m going to let this one go. As someone who didn’t post a lot of stories to begin with, it became more of a chore than anything else. It’s funny, because I did the Photo a Day challenge back in 2014 with relative ease, but there’s something about Stories that’s harder!

I think that’s about it when it came to January! This month is going to be a busy one as well with school (I have four courses to go!), the girls’ happenings, and of course, A PUPPY! We’re having the hardest time choosing a name too. There’s a few contenders, but nothing is really sticking. We have right until the end of the month to decide, so we’ll see!

What are some highlights from January for you?

Let’s Talk

Please, if you can watch a 5 minute time-lapse video of a Kardashian contouring her face, you can watch this 30 second clip and help support mental health. Bell Canada will donate $0.05 per view to mental health initiatives. Let’s Talk, and help put an end to the stigma behind mental health.


This post was not sponsored by Bell Canada. All opinions are my own.