Harvesting the Heart – Jodi Picoult

March 11, 2014 1:08 pm

Synopsis:

harvesting-the-heartPaige’s mother left without warning or explanation when she was five. Although Paige enjoyed a close relationship with her father, his strong religious beliefs lead her to think her only choice after having an abortion at eighteen is to run away. Whilst working as a waitress, she meets Nick, who she subsequently marries. After eight quite unhappy years of marriage she has a baby, resulting in her demons coming back to haunt her. Believing she has never learned how to be a good mother as she never had one to speak of, she follows in her own mother’s footsteps and runs away in a quest to find answers to her troubled past. We then see the event and its aftermath from the points of view of the two protagonists: Paige and Nick, and their struggle to do what is best for themselves, their marriage, and their child.

Being a Jodi Picoult fan, I was optimistic about this book. However, it did not really deliver. It’s not that it was terrible – far from it. It was a reasonably enjoyable story, and at no point did I want to stop reading it, but it failed to excite much passion. It was average. Very, very average. I thought this was a shame as many of her books (particularly ‘My Sister’s Keeper’ and ‘Nineteen Minutes’) had me on the edge of my seat and held me captive until the very last page (in fact, ‘My Sister’s Keeper’ was so good that for a couple of days during my post A-level holiday in Tenerife I stayed inside reading instead of enjoying the sunny outdoors – oops!).

But credit where credit’s due; it was well written, and the two differing points of view added an extra dimension to the story, leading you to that annoying middle ground in which you understand the motives of both characters and are unsure which side to be on. Unfortunately though, because the story was not particularly mesmerising, I was not invested enough in the characters to care too much about their fate. It lacked the trademark Picoult ‘moral dilemma’ angle and became essentially a story about single dads and scared mums. Hardly high-octane drama!

If you have not read Jodi Picoult before, I would not recommend starting with this one. She has written so many excellent novels that this one just doesn’t do her justice. A few examples of her better works include ‘Salem Falls’, ‘Change of Heart’, and ‘Perfect Match’.

There is not really much else to say about ‘Harvesting the Heart’, except that it is easy to pick up, easy to read, easy to put down, and easy to forget.

 

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