Book Review – Mercy

MercyMercy by Jodi Picoult

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Allie has a pretty good life. She has a husband – the town sherriff and clan head of the Scottish clan that inhabits her small town – that she adores to the point of worship. She lives in a town so pretty that tourists mistake the houses for a recreation/tourist attraction, and where she has her dream job – owning her own florist shop. She has a lovely mother-in-law who she is great friends with. Everything seems peachy until a distant cousin on her husband’s side drives into town one day with a corpse in his truck, and admits in front of most everyone that he’s just killed his wife.

On the same day Jamie – the distant cousin – arrives, so does Mia, a drifter and traveller who becomes Mia’s assistant as she and her husband seek to sort out the tale of the wife, dead from a mercy killing because she was dying of an incurable cancer. The four lives intertwine in ways that will make you clench your teeth, and maybe your fists, and shake your head.

I discovered Jodi Picoult a few years ago thanks to my local book club and have been slowly making my way through some of her older titles. This book was pretty good – but not as much of a stunner as her later books are. The plot stumbles here and there and has moments of either too much or too little exposition. There’s also some terminology used in some places that I found mildly offensive and I had to wonder if she would use the same terms today, twenty years later.

Overall though, this is a solid book. Picoult’s strong suit is always her characters, and I can’t find fault with those here. They are detailed and drawn precisely to the point where you’d swear they were someone you actually knew. You fall for them, particularly Allie if you’re like me, and you become invested in their lives, which keeps you reading through the murky bits.

Definitely a good book, and quite a throwback for me since it’s set in the early 90’s. A friend pointed out to me how funny-odd Seinfeld is now, because with cell phones so much of the storyline would be pointless – there are several points like that in this book, as well.

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