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Would you kill for love?
Mercy - Jodi Picoult
Member Name: katyj10
Mercy - Jodi Picoult
Advantages: Good twists and turns
Disadvantages: Maggie is too trusting
This is a review of the 2006 book 'Mercy' by Jodi Picoult, which is an author that I generally enjoy reading. The premise of this book sounded really interesting, a mercy killing, euthanasia case and the subsequent court proceedings with the outcome held until the last few page.
A man (Jamie) turns up in town and hands himself in to the chief of police telling him: "My wife is dead in that car and I killed her." He is immediately arrested and charged with murder and the next few weeks chart the case in the courts and the lives of the people in town who are connected with Jamie.
The book is set in Massachusetts, USA, in a town called Wheelock. The town has an interesting connection with a displaced Scottish highland clan who relocated to the town 250 years ago to escape the fighting and battles in their Scottish home town. The people celebrate their history and still have a clan Chief (Cameron), who is given the role according to birth right being handed down generation to generation.
Story's main characters
In addition to the major storyline of Jamie killing his wife Maggie, Cameron as the chief of police is also a cousin to Jamie, effectively Jamie has come to Wheelock in hope of a sympathetic viewing of his situation from leader Cameron. Cameron's wife Allie is also a main character, town florist and a bit of doormat to her husband. She would do anything for him and makes sure his life runs smoothly around him by cooking, cleaning and organising his home for him. Mia is a lady who mysteriously turns up in town and makes herself at home choosing a job in the florists and making herself indispensable. It happens at a time when Allie is busy trying to ensure the evidence is sound for helping Jamie win his court case so she is glad of the help but unaware that Mia is moving in on her beloved husband Cam. Cam is bewitched by Mia and falls head over heels with her, beginning an affair that he knows is wrong but feels so right to him. With Mia he experiences feelings beyond those he has ever felt with Allie. He knows the day will come in this small town when he will be caught out and discovered over his affair but he puts that to the back of his mind and enjoys the moment, carelessly leaving evidence of their illicit relationship all over their family home.
The relationship between Jamie and his wife is juxtaposed by Allie's relationship with Cam. Jamie loves Maggie more than she loves him and Allie loves Cam more than he loves her. The author says that no relationship is ever truly equal as 50 - 50 terms yet the partners demonstrate their love in such different ways. For Jamie is prepared to pay the ultimate price of killing his wife at her request. Maggie is dying from terminal cancer and no treatment is working. She has suffered enough and it is moving into her optic nerve and brain and she begs Jamie to finish it for her.
I really thought the concept of this book was excellent, awkward and uncomfortable with the Picoult typical court case and element of doubt in your mind as to which way the outcome will fall. The story of Cam and Mia's affair made for difficult reading as Cam seems able to justify his lusting for Mia in a detached way and is quick to return to his wife's bed after seeing to Mia. Maggie is blissfully aware, even dismissing it when she find's Mia's underwear in Cam's drawer.
I didn't enjoy this book as much as I thought I would although I did find it interesting how the author presented the scenario of Jamie's confession through to the court, judge and jury. The book was actually written in 1996 and not printed in the UK until 2006 in the UK but I didn't really notice that there was a ten year gap in the writing and publication. I would say it is not one of my favourite books by Picoult but I do seem to have this hit and miss feeling around her books, some of which I have really enjoyed so it hasn't put me off reading future books.
Summary: Good Picoult book