Jodi Picoult tackles abortion, abortion laws, pro-life and pro-choice views and even patriarchy and gun violence in this book, by focussing on a shooting at a women's reproductive health clinic in Mississippi. In the style to which we have become accustomed, she illustrates how “Laws are black and white. The lives of women are a thousand shades of gray.”
Told in hourly segments, moving backwards through time (which was an interesting device, but I'm not sure it served the story, except for the author to show off a bit - that she can tell a story like this and keep the reader's attention is quite a feat in itself), we meet Wren and her aunt, Wren's father, who is part of the police presence outside and the one communicating with the killer - George Goddard. There's also Louie, the pro-life doctor who also wants women to have safe abortion treatment and care, Izzie, the nurse, and the pro-life protester - all trapped inside. Then there was the parallel story of Beth, which I found disjointed and a bit thrown in for effect.
“Coal, with time and heat and pressure, will always become a diamond. But if you were freezing to death, which would you consider the gem?”
The juxtaposition of pro-life anger with a gun in the hands of the killer was fascinating -
“this was indeed some crazy world, where the waiting period to get an abortion was longer than the waiting period to get a gun.”
You'll have your thoughts challenged in this one, no matter which side of the debate(s) you find yourselves upon. And you'll also enjoy the journey.
“We are all drowning slowly in the tide of our opinions, oblivious that we are taking on water every time we open our mouths.”
I especially loved the author's notes, which showed how much research goes into a book like this, and how to transform black and white markings on a white surface into an impassioned plea for humanity, morality and more agency for women in the choices they make, especially when those choices will affect the rest of their lives.
You may also enjoy Jodi Picoult's Small Great Things. Or what about Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate?