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“An inspired meditation on love....Picoult pays loving attention to her central characters, fashioning a sensitive exploration on the balance of love.”—Publishers Weekly
More praise for Jodi Picoult
“Picoult writes with a fine touch, a sharp eye for detail, and a firm grasp on the delicacy and complexity of human relationships.”—The Boston Globe
“Absorbing and affecting.”—Entertainment Weekly
“Picoult offers a perfectly pitched take on the great mysteries of the heart.”—Kirkus Reviews
“[Picoult has] a remarkable ability to make us share her characters’ feelings.”—People
About the Author
- ASIN : B005MIYS44
- Publisher : G.P. Putnam's Sons (August 8, 1996)
- Publication date : August 8, 1996
- Language : English
- File size : 675 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 513 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #60,483 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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Story One: The social debate over mercy killing and/or a persons right to chose end of life. This COULD have been a very good tale if the author had focused her efforts on this subject matter that seems to be in the news more often these days. I would have preferred to hear more about the two sides and the history of the couple at the center of the "mercy killing" and court battle. I'd have loved to hear more about the jury and their struggle (or lack there of) to come to a decision. What did they base it one? Were there any hold outs and why? There seemed to be a focus on which ones appeared to side with the defendant and others who sided with the state while a few seemed to fall in between but within hours they had a complete acquittal...? This story was completely diluted by Story Two and ended abruptly with the defendant seeing his dead wife...? HUH???
Story Two: Mystery woman Mia strolls into town and the author seems to elude to her having a secret agenda. She quickly becomes involved in an affair with the married sheriff and the two seem to not be able to resist each other. The affair drags on and is slowly discovered by the sheriff's mother and then his wife...whoop-dee-do...and then she strolls out of town with her cat and back pack never to be seen again. HUH? Now, she disappears once earlier on in the affair and the sheriff actually hires a private investigator to track her down...why then and not now? What was her agenda for coming to town and then disappearing and how does this relate to "Mercy"?
Both stories could have been an entire book in themselves with the right amount of content but mashed together into one book, neither held my interest and the ending just...ended...no conclusion on anything.
This book was offered at a discount, and I eagerly snapped it up. Sadly, I was so disappointed in this book. I kept thinking throughout my read, this must be one of her earliest efforts. The romantic situation seemed too contrived. How in the world did this so called happily married man fall completely, head over heels in love, in just a couple of days? Lust, I could see...but love? Please, give me a break.
This book also reminded me of Diana Gabaldon's, Outlander. Many of the same Scottish names, and customs. The six foot four, red head, named Jamie. The blood vow at the wedding. One of the happy couple fainting right after the blood vow; coming to with their head in the lap of their new spouse. Almost too coincidental.
The book seemed to ramble. I had a hard time trying to finish the thing. The characters were a bit shallow, and not very likable. I think we were supposed to like Cam. But. I wanted to kick him in the rear end, for how easily he strayed! So, you're unhappy in your life? Fix it, or leave the marriage before stepping out. Allie! You aren't a doormat. He isn't God, and has no right to treat you so poorly. You deserve better!
In a real court room, I don't think the evidence provided would bring about an acquittal. It seemed kind of fairy tale ish.
I wanted to like this story, because, I sincerely love this author! She is a first class wordsmith. But, something just didn't gel this time. I know she can do better, because I've read other of her works, and have been delightfully captivated. Just, not this one so much.
Top reviews from other countries
I believe that life's too short to read a bad book, but it was with some disappointment that i had to let this one go as Jodi Picoult is one of my favourite go to authors.
A brilliant concept for one of her books, but it was dull and plodding, the characters weren't likeable, and it swiftly took a turn towards Mills & Boon, with star crossed lovers and meaningful glances.
Around a third of the way in the lovers had bodice ripping and breathless sex in the flower salon owned by the cheated wife (conveniently out of the way for the first time ever!), while her flower arrangements wilted and hung their heads in shame at the cliches they were being forced to bear witness to...
I gave up.
Are we sure Jodi Picoult wrote this ?
This was handled so, so well. Euthanasia is one hell of a topic. In all honesty, I didn’t connect with this story until around 60% of the way through. I feel there was a lot of back-story about Scottish Clans and Cameron McDonald’s ancestors and I didn’t get the metaphor there. But as we neared the conclusion and read into various scandals, I was gripped.
The characters: I agree with some reviewers that none of the characters were likeable. Not only that, they were very difficult to imagine because they were so two dimensional. Allie, with her fawning version of love for a statutory jock of a man, a shamelessly stereotyped hulking, red-headed Scotsman who throughout we cannot stand as he only thinks, in a 2cm3 box, of himself. And a 'handsome', large, hulking, very unpleasant and essentially American non-Scotsman, none too smart we gather too, resentful of his very existence if not for himself, with ginger hair, well I don't have to be English to tell you that is some made up phantasm and is also rather offensive to actual Scotsmen (all of whom funnily enough are not the same). I'd be embarrassed to have my Scottish friends know I read this, but also, might simply show them to irritate (mental note - great for a wind-up).
Let's not even indulge those terrible pseudo-'Clan' asides that she attempts to pass for historical background. Americans - why is there this strange incestuous obsession with small town mentality? Why impose imagined suburbia romanticisms upon the Scottish and call it tradition? It is naive, and insulting and fundamentally, historically flawed.
The description of the Cameron character then took on epic Mills and Boon proportions. From her constant fetishistic description of him as ' the chief of police', to the tiresome reminders of his size and gun (how terribly impressive - Freud would love her), to his 'manly' physical and mental bullying of those around him. This is supposed to be attractive? News flash, it isn't 1951. Nevertheless, the equally immeasurable character Mia, as transparently slight as her name sounds, is at least merely a carbon copy description of the character Allie, who happens to open her heart, home, work and everything to her, as she does to every other silly thing that waltzes into her life. All of a sudden, Allie is very familiar with Jamie, a person we are led to believe she didn't even know existed before... And to his credit, he is surely the one-dimensional character about whom this book was apparently written, but lo and behold, the ridiculous sex-fun affair of Cameron displaces the whole Euthanasia Thing to its rightful place - of no import whatsoever. Thus the attempts at the end **SPOILER WARNING** to humiliate him fall utterly flat as in the end, his wife merely remains his servant, and we are spoon fed this nugget of Hollywood wisdom that Love Is Forgiveness of the Man Who Cheats. Never mind she does not own her own house or have anywhere to go but his own mother's, who sends her back - somehow this is called strength of character in a disgusting attempt at nouveau feminism in the name of this opulent, indulgent idea of 'real love'. It is in actual fact anti-feminism. And it is categorically patriarchal, submissive and rings ominous notes of the author's views.
Descriptions: Too many foolishly repeated cliches - locking of hands, blue eyes, small town American Carrymuir, pointless research bits (see below), unexciting cliffhanger ends of paragraphs, Hollywoodesque sex scenes, author-Cameron adorations, general inaccuracies, unlikely intimacies between perfect strangers. Too little - descriptions of people, believable context of time and place and community, real additions to the plot that you were not able to skip without missing anything.
Plot: The concept is overdramatised in the beginning to the point of being unable to imagine it, and sheer boredom. Boredom is the operative word for most of this book. You can surely read it in less than an hour if you lightly skim most of the trial, the terrible Laird flashback bits, the bits with Angus that are literally superfluous, and probably the interactions between Allie and Ellen, the mother in law. The author attempts to keep the verdict of the trial a mystery until the very end, while at the same time letting it stay so in lieu that it no longer matters by then. I would guess that it is an attempt to send the reader on a journey of discovery with the idea of the argument of euthanasia as a conduit to a context - where somehow romantic love between two people is measured by how much they are sh***y to each other, and how much of this sh** they can respectively tolerate.
One reviewer succinctly surmised the note-form research topics: VR. Flowers. Cancer. Scottish traditions (loosely). Yet the plot is overrun by a rather unpleasant cheating man and a shallow, barely believable fool his affair is with. The confusing interludes that are intended as sad love letters are misplaced as the context dictates no sympathy for this. Thus the possibility of romance is as dead and ridiculous as 50 Shades. Some of the more cringeworthy descriptions are in their silent mind-reading communications, and of course, in their godawful version of intimacy.
Conclusion: Mercy in Euthanasia is always an interesting issue, which could have been handled with more tenacity to honour the difficult subject. Instead, the book that borrows its difficulty is a superficial, directionless tome of characterless nobodies that the reader does not care about, and a silly, unlikely love affair which, with bafflement, overshadows and kills all attempts at building empathy.