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Book Review of A Spark of Light

A Spark of Light
A Spark of Light
Author: Jodi Picoult
Genre: Literature & Fiction
Book Type: Paperback
debs avatar reviewed on + 641 more book reviews

I was about a third of the way through this book, when I realized it is written backwards. By that I mean the end of the story is written at the beginning of the book, and the story is told in reverse chunks thereafter. I should've realized it when the chapter headings went like this: 5 pm, 4 pm, 3 pm, etc. down to 8 am. Then the very last chapter is the conclusion: 6 pm. Sound confusing? It's even more confusing trying to read this mess!

I don't understand why authors try to use this gimmick when writing a story. This is the second book that I have seen written in this manner (the first was 'The October List', by Jeffrey Deaver).

Jodi Picoult's writing is very detailed, visual, and heartfelt. Her characters truly come to life and you feel everything they are going through, because the story is from each one's point of view. The problem with her writing this story backwards is that, as you proceed reading the chapters, the little details that seemed so important in the chapter you just read are forgotten, because now you are reading a NEW chapter that was supposed to have happened before the LAST chapter! I hope this is making sense.

Once I figured out how the book was written and realized I was not enjoying it at all (although I did like the story concept), I began reading the book backwards from the second-to-last chapter, 8 am. I then read each chapter in reverse order till I ended up at the beginning of the book. Finally, I read the very last chapter, 6 pm.

If this book had been written in 'standard' chapter order, I would give it a 4-star review for the story. Picoult has a way of writing that brings you right into the center of the story and you really feel with the characters are feeling. As it is, I must deduct points for the stupid literary choice she made.

I recommend reading from back to front, ending with the concluding last chapter, 6 pm.