Sunday, June 28, 2009

Review: Second Glance

So you’ll notice that I fell in love with My Sister’s Keeper, and that Jodi Picoult has one new very big fan. Second Glance was the second novel of hers that I read, and once again, I wasn’t disappointed. I stood in the aisle at Barnes and Noble staring at all her covers and was no more decisive on which one to read next… so my amazing husband read the back of this one and told me to go with this one. He knows me so well!

Synopsis: I wanted to go into detail in the plot of this book, but there is so much to this that it would’ve taken away from the actual review. So again, my synopsis doesn’t contain spoilers.

The book is an interesting one: a ghost story--entwined with a love story--entwined with the study of eugenics. Picoult actually wrote this one before My Sister’s Keeper—and it was the research for Second Glance that actually gave her the inspiration for MSK.

You’ll first meet Ross, a deeply depressed man who lost his fiancée, Aimee, in a car crash. He considered himself invincible after attempting suicide unsuccessfully several times—including standing outside in a thunderstorm and getting struck by lightning. Instead of dying to get closer to Aimee, he turns to ghost hunting to try and find her.

When a new strip mall begins building over a supposed ancient Indian burial ground, he is summoned to help find and get rid of the ghosts causing trouble throughout the town. With the help of Ross’s sister, Shelby, and Shelby’s son, Ethan, he gets to work. This is where he meets the beautiful and mysterious Lia, who brings him back to life (so to speak). When he discovers a decades-old murder on the land in which he is investigating, he and his family get to work.

You’ll get to meet many different characters in this richly done plot… including Ruby, Meredith and Lucy, a family whose story eventually meets up with Ross and Lia’s.

Picoult uses the back and forth character interaction in a similar way as My Sister’s Keeper. The difference she makes from this book, however, is that instead of each chapter as a new character, she skips around within the chapters. It’s a little distracting in the beginning when you have no idea who is narrating, but doesn’t take long to get acquainted with.

This is a three-part book: books one and three in present day, and book two in the past. There are many parallels with what happens in book two and how it shows in book one.

The premise of the ghost story is a little hokey, I must admit. In fact, the solving of the murder makes me think of a riddle that you’d be able to pick up on very easily. Regardless, Picoult’s books are so well written that you connect with each character and you’re easily rooting for everyone involved. The story is so well-done, that the ghost story aspect is actually a second-tier plot.

You’ll also really see how each individual family copes with what is handed to them—death, illness, depression, etc. It really grabs hold of the theme of the book: how everybody must deal with love and loss.

Although I did really enjoy this book, it’s my least favorite out of the three (Vanishing Acts review coming soon!). I loved the generational aspect of the story, I even loved the mystery part of it, and I really loved learning about eugenics and how it could have so easily been a dark part of American History—so saying that this is my least favorite is still NOT a bad thing! I would suggest reading it if you like love stories and anything mildly suspenseful.

Next Review: The Shack!



Aggie said...

I haven't read this one yet, but have seen it. You sound like how I was after I discovered Jodi many book choices! I have a few you can borrow if you are up for another one...let me know!

Miss Carly said...

When and if you write a review on 'The Shack'... I wanted to let you know that I wrote my own blog post on my favorite memorable quotes from the book in case you need inspiration. Here's the link:

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