To Go: 69
31. Mercy — Jodi Picoult
When his own cousin, Jamie, confesses to the mercy-killing of his terminally-ill wife, Cameron MacDonald, Wheelock, Massachusetts’ chief of police, is forced to make the toughest arrest of his life. The case drives a wedge into Cameron’s otherwise contented marriage with his wife, Allie, and when an unexpected attraction to Mia, a freeloader from nowhere in particular, leads to a shocking betrayal, the couple is forced to look at whether they can salvage what’s left of their relationship.
I can’t possibly count how many Jodi Picoult recommendations I’ve received in the duration of this challenge — for the most part, it’s just been a general suggestion to read anything she’s written. But when I was in Chapters with a friend, she sold me on Mercy, and I ended up buying it. Unfortunately, it didn’t live up to the high expectations I had. Don’t get me wrong, Picoult is a good writer. But Mercy just wasn’t for me.
When a book is good, I get lost in it, and just tear through it. I can be finished in mere hours. With Mercy, I had to force myself to keep trekking through it, was always keeping my eye on the page count, and never really got fully immersed in the story. Perhaps that’s because every single character, barring one, was just utterly unlikeable to me.
Allie was a well-meaning but woefully naive pushover; Cam was indecisive and flighty with a side of callous; Mia was just downright two-faced. With the exception of Jamie, I didn’t enjoy any character’s point of view. All I wanted was for Allie to grow a backbone, and Cam to get his act together, and Mia to just leave, and spent the majority of the story loathing everyone. It didn’t make for much of an enjoyable read.
To Picoult’s credit, the prose itself was elegant and engaging; her writing style was flawless. And, to touch on the characters’ issues, I do have to concede that everything I wished for happened by the end of the novel — however, I was more than a little displeased that Allie actually forgave Cam, when she had no real reason to. (Spoilers!) There was nothing remotely redeeming about him — the best he offered were a few weak apologies and some flowers — and yet she chose to take him back, when he didn’t even deserve one ounce of forgiveness.
I think Mercy was just one of those books that wasn’t my particular cup of tea; maybe I need to look more into Jodi Picoult’s works, and find one that I actually enjoy. But this novel just really rubbed me the wrong way.
Next book: Never Let Me Go — Kazuo Ishiguro