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.
SPOILER ALERT 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.