It didn’t occur to me until later, but this book bore very strong similarities to My Sister’s Keeper, probably Picoult’s best-known novel. Let’s see, it’s about a family with a special needs child, a mother who is well-meaning but blinded to some truths about her family in her single-mindedness, another daughter who feels neglected and misunderstood, a father who is caught in the middle, a lawyer who has her own side story; there’s a court case and a big shock ending. Still, as the legal battle at the centre is completely different, it wouldn’t be fair to call it a rehash.
Jodi Picoult’s novels are my comfort reading, probably in the same way Agatha Christie’s crime novels are. By all rights I should find them overly sentimental and cloying, but there’s just something fundamentally likable, cosy and wholesome about her style – even when she writes about murder, incest or prison rape – and her strong sense of family and friendship is always very appealing. Her penchant for a shocking ending doesn’t always work out and her particular writing ticks can get tiresome over a long run; how many times can you read yet another cutesy list of personal quirks and preferences that make a character soooo speshooool? Despite that, I’ve enjoyed most of her books, and while this one is not top-shelf it was still a good read.