A Change of Heart about Jodi Picoult?

April 8, 2008 at 12:09 pm | Posted in Books, Disappointment, entertainment, LIfe, My Life with Books, Reading, Worst of the Year | 18 Comments
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At the time I started this blog, I was very much in to Jodi Picoult. My Sister’s Keeper was the first novel I read, but Plain Truth was my favorite. Before January of 2007 I’d also read and enjoyed The Tenth Circle, Vanishing Acts, Salem Falls, and The Pact. Over the course of ’07, I read three of her books. I enjoyed Nineteen Minutes, finishing it just shy of a month before the Virginia Tech Massacre brought much of Southwest Virginia to it knees. Still, Keeping Faith was just so-so and Perfect Match was such a wall banger that I would have categorized it as the worst book I read in ’07 had it not been for The Emperor’s Children.

I’ve read nine of her books and enjoyed – if not thoroughly enjoyed – seven of them. Still, I am hesitant to even pick up and hold a copy of her latest novel, Change of Heart? It might be because there are some elements involved that are related to the Keeping Faith (miracle healings) and Perfect Match (Catholic priest). I also left Vanishing Acts, The Pact, and Nineteen Minutes feeling I had gotten too much of a real sense of what it was like to be a man imprisoned. Are those connections worth overlooking her novel or is it just that I’m over her? I certainly hope not because when her work is good, it makes for an amazing ride.

If you’re a Jodi Picoult fan, I would like to hear what you have to say. What are your favorite novels? Did you like them all? Why or why not? Have you or are you planning on reading Change of Heart? I’m hoping that I might be able to grab on to the coattails of some enthusiastic readers.

* Comments may contain spoilers *

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  1. I was quite into Jodi Picoult for awhile as well, beginning with My Sister’s Keeper. I actually liked Keeping Faith pretty well, as well as Vanishing Acts (I think…her books have begun to all run together and I can’t remember any long which title belongs with which). At this point I’ve read all of them but Nineteen Minutes and Change of Heart (which I keep confusing with Harvesting the Heart, which I hated). However, the library book I said I was given by a coworker to read before sometime next week just happens to be Change of Heart. I just finished my FDR ARC at lunch today, so I think I’ll pound out CoH before starting on The Venetian Mask.

    I’d guess that I’ll have a review up by Monday at the latest (after my reading party Sunday night), if you want grab onto my coattails.

  2. I like Jodi Picoult a lot, and it started after I first read her book, The Pact. I thought the literature was amazing, and the reading was easy to follow and it went with a good flow. I continued to read My Sister’s Keeper, Vanishing Acts, and Mercy. I know I have read more of her books, but cannot remember which ones. That is the problem I have with her. While all her books are on different subjects, they seem to run together, and I cannot keep any of them separate. I have no read Change of Heart yet, but it is a similar dilema to reading one genre of mystery novels. You may read several books on the same subject, but they will all differ. I think Change of Heart will be a pleaser, as most of hers are.

  3. I’ve never read her books, but I’ve read similar comments about them on Amazon. I guess I really should read one soon for myself. :)

  4. Referred over here by a friend of a friend. :)

    The first one I read of Jodi Picoult’s books was My Sister’s Keeper (absolutely loved it). Soon after that, I read Keeping Faith (also loved it). As for the rest, I’ve read all of her other books and enjoyed them, but not as much as MSK and KF. As for Change of Heart, I started off not liking it (too similar to her other books, a little too preachy for me at times), but as I kept reading it, I began to enjoy it more and more and by the end, I was recommending it to friends. I don’t think anything will replace MSK or KF as my favorites of hers, however.

    As for Nineteen Minutes (which I know you weren’t asking about, but I feel like sharing anyway…), I read that right after reading “We Need to Talk About Kevin,” by Lionel Shriver. WNTTAK is also about a school shooting (and I read both of them within weeks of the Virginia Tech shootings, though not on purpose), but I found that it was written in a much more gripping and terrifying manner than Nineteen Minutes and as a result, I wasn’t able to enjoy NM as much as others seem to have. NM paled considerably when compared to WNTTAK.

    You asked if the connections between her books are worth overlooking in order to enjoy Change of Heart. I think so. As I said above, it took me a little bit to get into it, but as with all of her books, you *do* eventually get involved with the story and characters and I found that there were a lot of points (mainly about religion) that the characters made during the book that were really interesting.

  5. Hi Jennifer…. sorry it’s been so long since I’ve visited your site!

    Ahhh, Jodi, Jodi, Jodi… I love her. My Sister’s Keeper was my first introduction to her, and I absolutely, positively LOVED that book! After that was Vanishing Acts (liked) and Plain Truth (loved). I liked Nineteen Minutes much more than Tenth Circle (which I thought had way too many holes).

    I actually got a review copy of Change of Heart from a friend whose brother works in publishing. I devoured it, but I’m not sure why…. it wasn’t because I loved it, but I was definitely intrigued by it. It had such an odd storyline, but at the same time raised some very interesting moral issues (as Jodi often does). It was a page-turner more out of curiousity than because I loved it. I would say to read it, since you are already an established Jodi fan, but I wouldn’t tell someone who’s never read her to read this first.

    I’ll be curious to see what you think!

  6. As a quick update, the first 60 pages or so read quickly, but without a lot of interest. Based on the way the story is heading, I’m inclined to think that she may have jumped the shark a bit. I’ll finish it out of loyalty to Ms. Picoult, but I’m not hugely excited about it so far.

  7. I really appreciate everyone’s comments and It sounds like a lukewarm reaction to the book. It doesn’t sound like Perfect Match was as reviled by anyone else as it was by me, but I’m starting to be interested in where Change of Heart would line up against it.

    It’s interesting how other people really loved My Sister’s Keeper. I enjoyed it, but the ending gave me a little bit of reader’s indigestion. It might have just been where I was at when I read it.

    I will have to look up reading “We Need to Talk About Kevin,” by Lionel Shriver. I’ve never heard of it before. And Amanda, I’m so glad you were referred here!

    KoleKate, I agree with you about a lot of her books starting to run together. You know what other book I have to keep reminding myself is not a Jodi Picoult? Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. I have no idea why. It’s not really the same thing at all, but who knows why your brain works as it does.

  8. I am reading Change of Heart right now. In fact I have it in my desk drawer as I am on the last chapter and want to see how it ends before I go home tonight. That way I can stop and get a new book on the way home.
    I must say I am disppointed. And after reading this I am bummed because according to your posts I haven’t even read her good books yet.
    I enjoyed Nineteen Minutes – my first encounter with Jodi. Now maybe if I had read others I would feel differently.
    My second was Harvesting the heart. I liked that it switched perspectives but hated the ending.
    NOw with Change of HEart i just feel i have to finish it so I can say I did.

  9. Kelly, it looks as though you are in good company with your assessment. I’m not going to bother reading Change of Heart. I posted on Devourer’s blog that I found a used library copy of Second Glance for .50 at a sale over the weekend. I am pretty sure that this will be my last Jodi Picoult book – holding out the hope that something SPECTACULAR comes out down the road.

  10. HI.. I’m new at this forum… I just finish reading the book adn perhaps I read itway too fast. The thing is that I still don’t get some Bourne`s comments… which I cannot comment here because I believe some of you haven’t finish reading or want to read it.. . my question is do you know where I could ask… curiosity is killing me,

    Ciao…

  11. De, welcome! I’ve added a spoiler alert in the main post. If someone has any insight on De’s questions, please feel free to respond here.

  12. De, what specifically are the comments you were unsure about? My copy was a library book, but I can try to remember…

  13. To be honest, i’m not much of a fan of her work. I find it patronising in that is it specifically written towards women, but thats another issue.

    However, I would suggest having a read of this book. If you are concerned with another delve into the male prisoner psyche you can rest assured that this is not something that you are really going to come across in this story. The narration means that you are hearing the story from every angle other than that of the individual in question so you aren’t subjected to constant prison tales of woe.

    I finished ‘Change of heart’ feeling the same way i did when i finished ‘Nineteen minutes’. Angry. If you want to read a story about school killings then i agree with Amanda, “We need to talk about Kevin” is a far superior tale and although it took me a few attempts to get into it i’m glad i persevered. With both books i feel as though the authors desire for a happy ending outdid the actual tone of the novels, hence, my anger.

    If you fancy a bit of escapist rubbish then its a page turner, but other than that i’d like the week it took me to troll through it back please.

  14. [...] Need to Talk about Kevin by Lionel Shriver  ~ especially given our recent discussions about Jodi [...]

  15. Read the book…loved it. I couldn’t put it down. Seriously. I cried though. So be prepared, but don’t give up! Definitely worth reading.

  16. The only two I have read are My Sister’s Keeper and Change Of Heart. I really liked Change Of Heart, and would have loved it if the ending hadn’t confused me so much. I don’t feel it was concluded very well, but will continue reading some more Jodi Picoult books to see if that was a one-off…

  17. Hi,

    I really like Jodi’s books, but always feel disappointed at the end. I have just finished reading ‘Change of Heart’, It took me ages to get into it, then when I did, I read it within a week, and now that I have finished it I feel a sense of disappointment as I’m really confused about the ending with the priest… Anyway, I’ll keep continue reading Jodi’s books as I find them easy to read and very intreging..


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