Thursday, January 08, 2009

Day 33 - Mercy

Jodi Picoult

Synopsis [back cover]
What would you do for someone you love?
Would you leave? Would you kill?

The police chief of a small Massachusetts town, Cameron MacDonald, makes the toughest arrest of his life when his own cousin Jamie comes to him and confesses outright that he has killed his terminally ill wife out of mercy.
Now, a heated murder trail plunges the town into upheavel and drives a wedge into a contented marriage: Cameron, aiding the prosecution in its case against Jamie, is suddenly at odds with his devoted wife, Allie, seduced by the idea of a man so in love with his wife that he'd grant all her wishes, even her wish to end her life. And when and inexplicable attraction leads to a shocking betrayal, Allie faces the hardest questions of the heart: When does love cross the line of moral obligation? And waht does it mean to truly love another.

I'm a big Jodi Picoult fan. I have been since I recieved Salem Falls by my sister for a birthday present a few years back. After reading that book I went and started to read her books in order of publication. While a lot of people like her newer releases a lot more than her older ones, but I am absolutely loving her first released books. I have yet to come to the newer ones.

Mercy had a very strong and personal impact on me. I found myself truly involved with the characters and the story. Mercy killing is a touchy subject and Picoult really did a wonderful job making readers think of what they themselves would do in the same situation. Underlying the trial of Jamie MacDonald is another heated struggle between Cameron MacDonald and his wife Allie.

Cam and Allie had more of an impact on me. Allie is a devoted and loving wife. But she's a major pushover. She is quick to do anything in her power to please Cam because she truly idolizes him. Cam on the other hand relies on Allie to be the constant in his life. But even from the beginning, he repeatedly thinks of having a different life. No doubt he cares about Allie, but its obvious her strong feelings aren't matched by his. Returning to Wheelock, Massachusetts to become the police chief after his father died didn't exactly have Cam jumping up and down with excitement.

Mia Townsend shows up in Wheelock the same day Jamie MacDonald does. Mia's constant traveling and noncommital lifestyle appeals to Cam almost explosively. Without even reading the back cover I could tell something was going to happen between Mia and Cam.

And you know, I found it really hard to dislike Mia or Cam at the end of the story. Of course I favored Allie because she wasn't the one having the affair. But with the background information on Mia I couldn't help but feel sorry for her. And I knew Cam wasn't happy with his life although he had Allie. Mia and Cam fell in love, should they be at fault for that? No, but is it fair to Allie and everyone else it involves? Certaintly not.

As far as the trial goes: Jamie is an excellent character. Definitely the kind of guy most girls dream about. He is completely in love with his wife Maggie, who tragically had cancer thrust upon her. Jamie was easily likeable. And his struggle to find a life without Maggie is heartbreaking.

I remember one part of the story that really got to me. It was one of the first conversations between Allie and Jamie.
A smile stole across Jamie's face, so
completely transforming him that Allie would not have recognized him is
seen him on the street. "Then you're the one."

Allie blinked at him. "The one what?"

"The one who loves more." He movd clsoer to the desk, and the handcuffs tapped against the
metal edge as he inadvertently made gestures. "You know it's never
fifty-fifty in a marriage. It's always seventy-thirty, or sixty-forty. Someone falls in love first. Someone puts someone else up on a pedestal. Someone works very hard to keep things rolling smoothly; someone else sails along for the ride."...

My mouth literally dropped while I read this passage. I specifically remember telling an ex something very similar. How I loved him more than he would ever love me. That it was just how things worked. He just laughed and waved me off calling me silly. And even though he was a big waste of my time, "Jamie" was right. I wasn't married to him, but I had put my ex on a pedestal and I think our relationship was seventy-thirty if not eighty-twenty =(

But enough about that. I enjoyed this book so much. Getting to know these characters was like getting to know good friends. I have to mention Ellen MacDonald, Cam's mother, and Graham MacPhee, Jamie's attorney. How I loved Ellen. She no doubt is a strong mother and friend. She cares a great deal about her son and is obviously hurt by Cam's affair just as Allie is. There were parts were she did things or said certain things that had me cheering for her.
And Graham, who really grew as a person while defending Jamie. I remember when he first came into the story, a little niave and not very personal. And yet the dramatic toll the trial takes on him is interesting. All of the characters were developed well. I found myself wanting to hug some of them one minute and strangle them the next. With each chapter I found myself jumping back and forth whether I disagreed or agreed with their actions. And I constantly asked myself "What would I do if I was her/him?"

I highly recommend this book to any Jodi Picoult fan or just anyone who'd like to become totally mixed up with some unforgettable characters.


Victoria said...

Yay Inkheart! :p I love the Inkheart trilogy. :)

They were the prettiest cupcakes, I almost hated to eat them, but I found them to be quite yummy. I don't mind store bought as long it doesn't test my gag reflex. >o<

Anonymous said...

Great review! I am a huge Jodi Picoult fan.

Stephanie said...

Nice review. This was the first Jodi Picoult book I ever read and I absolutely loved it!! (although I think my favorite part was the yard sale!)

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