KimN ~ Mercy

19 07 2009

Mercy ~ Jodi Picoult

mercyTime for another Jodi Picoult!  It was tough to pick which of my pile of Picoult’s to start next.  My warning to you all – don’t read the prologue of this novel, unless you want to read the whole thing…

I finished this book last night.  I guess I’d have to say that I have some mixed feelings about the Picoult novel.  To give you a taste of the topic/concept of this novel, here is a short excerpt from the back of the book:

“The police chief of a small Massachusetts town, Cameron McDonald, makes the toughest arrest of his life when his own cousin Jamie comes to him and confesses outright that he has killed his terminally ill wife out of mercy.”

What I do always love about Picoult is that her story lines are never as simple as a the single already intriguing plot line that is mentioned on the back of the book.  You can probably agree that just the line above, alone, could make for an interesting novel but she doesn’t stop there.  The novel expands beyond the debate over a mercy killing to deal with the subject of love – How MUCH do you love someone and what does that equal in terms of what you would do for them?  This is reflected in the lives of all of the key players in the novel as they reflect on Jamie’s action and think about their own marriages and relationships.  The key turning point for a number of the central characters comes near the end, when Jamie makes a realization of the difference between letting someone go, and taking someone back – and which of these two really defines love.  I’ll leave that for you to decide for yourself and to discover how the characters in the novel address their love.

Usually I find Picoult very good at evoking the intensity & intimacy of her character’s relationships, however in this novel I felt that she defaulted to showing that through a couple’s sexual relations… that really turned me off to this book because I feel like Picoult can write better than that!  A key sub-plot in the novel is an affair that Cam MacDonald (who is married to Allie) has with a mysterious woman named Mia and how this affects Cam & Allie’s marriage.  There is steamy sexual tension between Cam and Mia that you can feel as soon as they meet for the first time… but Picoult takes this further by going into some detail of their sexual exploits.  I feel like this is so unnecessary as this connection is clear and stronger and still smouldering without the physical exploits.

All in all, I think this novel is worth reading as the topic of mercy killing is really interesting and, as usual, Picoult does a great job of exploring the different opinions surrounding this topic, making it a unique novel.  If you can get over the multiple brief sexual encounters, and the scuzzy affair aspects… it is a good read.


KimN ~ The Judas Strain

15 07 2009

The Judas Strain ~ James Rollins

jsThis last weekend we went away to Jamie’s uncle & aunt’s cabin up in 100 Mile and low and behold, there was a library in the cabin!  Hundreds of books… it took me a long time to pour over them all to decided which one to read.  After whittling my pile down to 2 books I read the first chapter of each and then continued on with the one that grabbed me the most – The Judas Strain.  I think this book grabbed me because it is exactly like the books I used to love to read (specifically Criton), but exactly unlike the books I have been reading of late (cue Picoult & Niffenegger).  The book focused on biological & historical mysteries and has roped me back in to loving the adventure/thriller genre… I can’t wait to read more and am happy to have discovered a new author (who is apparently a New York Times bestseller… man I miss a lot!).  Prior to picking up this book I had never even heard of James Rollins, but I have a feeling that I will be purchasing more of his novels for sure!

KimN ~ The Time Traveler’s Wife

4 07 2009

The Time Traveler’s Wife ~ Audrey Niffenegger

June 21 ~ I’ve waited way too long to read this book – since Nicole got it for me for my birthday back in March – now is the time!  For a free preview of what I’ll likely also think about this novel… check out Nicole’s review –


Finished ~ July 4.  Wow, this book took me through a whole slew of emotions.  I am left feeling heart-broken, and in awe of the fact that this is Niffenegger’s first novel.  If you try to describe the concept of this novel, you will probably look up to see confused and concerned eyes – concerned because the person you are speaking to cannot understand how you can be so fanatically ecstatic about a book about a time-traveler!  Trust me, you can be.

This is a classic love story, with a fascinating sci-fi twist that makes it unlike any other book I’ve ever read.  It can be a little confusing at times, trying to keep the time-traveler – Henry – straight, in terms of his age, where he is in time-traveling from and to… but Niffenegger does a nice job of setting up each section with the date and age of Henry/s and Clare.  If you get confused… just take a quick glance at that heading and your all set again.

What really struck me about this novel, besides the concept, is the poetic nature of the prose.  The story flows, with a kind of poetic beauty that I was absolutely not expecting.  Niffenegger also does a wonderful job of portraying both Clare and Henry in realistic, emotionally connective ways throughout the novel as their relationship grows and as they experience a great span of ages.

Today, as I reached the finish line, 50  pages left in the 519 page novel, I felt like I couldn’t wait to reach the conclusion and yet, I didn’t want to reach that end because that meant that this beautiful novel was done… I would never have the experience of reading it for the first time again!  I can’t even remember the last time I felt this sad about finishing a book!  I truly hope that Niffenegger continues to write and provides us readers with another fascinating novel soon!  Until then, we will have to be satisfied with spreading the word about The Time Traveler’s Wife and, soon, watching the movie… hopefully it can hold a candle to the novel!