This is a story about a lioness who lashes out after her cub is hurt. It’s clearly evident that Jodi Picoult is a mother because this novel reads like a mother’s nightmare and power fantasy.

Comic Books have long been criticized as being adolescent power fantasies; nerdy boys imagining themselves to be hyper masculine, heavily muscled costume heroes who overcome symbolic that boys are too powerless to fight in real life – and of course save the pretty girl who would pass him over in real life. That stereotypical view of comics and fantasies in general a closed minded one because I see no difference between comics and Picoults novels; comics are fantasies written for their audience and so are Picoult’s.

Jodi express her hearts fears in this novel. The anxiety and impotence the protagonist feels are those of the author and countless other women given symbolic shape and form. A psychiatrist somewhere once wrote that “the role of the fantasy is to reaffirm the self worth and esteem of the stories star”. In this novel Picoult takes her maternal doubts and transforms them into a scenario where she can protect and help her child. I given Jodi credit for trying to address her fears and desires. I don’t mean to insult her by calling her novels comic books for housewives (especially since the went on to write five issue of Wonder Woman).

That being said, I didn’t like this book. First of all I was always told by teachers that it was a capital crime to switch between first-person narration and third person through out a story. In the beginning of the novel the shifts were random but by the end the story was primarily 1stperson. Pick a view and stick with it. And then there were all of the plot twist that made the story more about the shocking turns than about the characters. It was distracting to read the story knowing that there would be another shocking twist in a few pages. The main character’s husband is a bricklayer and takes about pieces fitting together. When things fit together like they did in this novel, it’s because it’s done too artificially. The book felt forced together like an episode of The Practice.

DavidB's rating:
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