Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Mercy by Jodi Picoult

This is yet another book by Jodi Picoult. I have also read My Sister's Keeper, Salem Falls, and Plain Truth. I actually think I'm going to take a break from Picoult for awhile because her books are becoming repetitious, in some way.

This one is the story of Cameron McDonald, who is the Chief of Police in a small town, and married to Allie, the town's florist. Cameron has to arrest his cousin, Jamie, for the mercy killing of his wife, Maggie. This arrest leads to a trial where Picoult is able to pontificate on the nature of life and death and what it means to show mercy. In a subplot, Cameron starts an affair with Mia, Allie's new assistant in the florist shop.

STRENGTHS OF MERCY: It is a well-written book. The plots do hold a reader's attention. I did end up quite liking the character of Jamie, because I though the author did a good job with his emotional conflict over what he had done. Of course, we only saw his wife through his eyes so it made his story even more interesting.

WEAKNESSES OF MERCY: I really ended up disliking Cameron and Allie. I wanted to slap him throughout the book and tell him to grow up, talk to his wife, and be a man about his concerns in his marriage. I, actually, felt the same way about Allie. She was much more likable, and she was great with Jamie, but she ended up as a weaker character by the end of the story. I also started to feel, in this book, that Picoult was wrapping the characters around the issue and letting the issue of mercy killing drive her writing, rather than letting her characters drive the story. I may have been much more interested in a story that showed us the contradictions between Jamie and Maggie's marriage and Cam and Allie's. That is part of the story, and was more interesting to me than Jamie's trial.

I intensely disliked the ending where Allie stayed with Cameron. I wondered if she shouldn't have been with Jamie at the end, leaving Cameron alone and not Jamie. END OF SPOILER.

Overall, I'd give this one 3 1/2 stars. I still think My Sister's Keeper was my favorite Picoult novel. What do you think? Let me know.


Natasha @ Maw Books said...

Everybody keeps saying the My Sister's Keeper is their favorite. I swear I'm going to read this one really, really soon!

Dani said...

I finished reading Mercy 3 days ago and I'm still emotional about it. I was hoping to get some indication of Cam loving Allie more and never wanting to see Mia again but instead their relationship left me hanging. What can I say, I'm a sucker for a mushy ending!

Anonymous said...

i agree with dani. the book felt a bit unfinished at the end, especially since we weren't able to get a good picture of how allie and cam's relationship turned out. i wish cam either found out where mia was or had just let her go, you know, get some closure.

Anonymous said...

Throughout the story I had fallen in love with the innocence that Picoult had wrapped around Allie, but towards the end that innocence became a nuisance. My thought after finishing Mercy was How could she stay with a man that didn't love her but loved a woman who preocupied her fair share of time? To be totally honest I grew a strong disliking towards Cam, Mia and sad to say Maggie.
Even though we only saw Maggie through the eyes of Jamie, I couldn't bare the thought of asking some one to do something that would hurt them so deeply and affect the rest of their lives. I have read most of Jodi Picoults books and is my favorite author, as of now. I have to say I did like this book due to the fact that she toys with your emotions and seems, from what I have read, to bring anger from most of Mercy's readers, which has been done skillfully.
Wow that was long, sorry!!

Jacquelyn said...

Book Girl -- great point about Picoult's themes driving her characters. I always enjoy reading Picoult, but there is always something that irritates me. I think it's because her characters aren't quite rounded.

Sad over Mercy said...

I agree with Dani. I finished the book about 4 days ago now and I find myself crying over the whole thing. I even went back and re-read all the parts that had to do with Mia, Cam and Allie. I was hoping that I had missed something that was supposed to make the ending more gratifying. I think I would have felt better about the ending had those notes revealed that Cam was over Mia and glad to be with Allie. I wanted so badly for Cam to realize that he was meant to be with Allie. I would have felt a whole lot better if there were a couple more chapters where some where down the road, Cam and Mia ran into each other again, and Cam realized that being with Allie was the right thing and that he was no longer in love with Mia and that he recognized that he was more in love with the idea of Mia being a free spirit than being in love with her soul. He loved the life Mia had, not Mia herself. Allie loved Cam for who he was, not his job, ancestry or money. I really needed him to realize this and WANT to be with Allie in the end, not just because Mia left and gave him no other option.

Louise said...

I've loved each one of Picoult's books, but I had to put this one down. Cameron made me too &*%^ing angry to keep reading through the affair. He and Mia were dooshes and Allie I liked, so I couldn't see anything from his point of veiw. And by the sounds of it the ending is rediculous!! Big thumbs down from me.

Shanelka said...

What happens to Jamie and Allie?

tayla burgess said...

I find it interesting that all of you are so hung up on the concept of mercy and the act of mercy killing in the novel. But the more you actually analyse the novel, the more you'll understand the actual theme of the novel.

What would you do for true love?

I found it incredibly facinating how Picoult showed the different ways that true love can influence the actions of a person.

if you can be persuaded, re-read the novel with that sentence in mind. You'll grasp a whole nother understanding to the narrative!