I’m not going to choose this book for Book Club for a couple reasons:
1. It’s not in paperback yet
2. I’m not sure it will be a good read.
I’ve read several readers’ reviews, and they are mixed. Picoult has added a hint of the supernatural into this most recent book, and while the topics of the Death Penalty and Religion are two passionate ones, I can’t help but be wary. And so, I am bringing this book to your attention so that you can decide for yourself if it’s worth reading. I visit Jodi Picoult’s website fairly often, and she explained some of her research on this book. She was telling of the Gnostic gospels that were not included into the New Testament as we know it today. I was immediately intrigued, and I thought some of you might be as well…
“The counterpart of the research I’ve done on death row involves holing up in my office wading through the gospels for research…not just the ones that made it into the Bible, but the ones that didn’t, like the Gospel of Thomas – a gospel found in 1945 in Nag Hammadi, Egypt. Like the other 51 texts found at Nag Hammadi, they contain a lot of sayings you can find in the Bible…and a lot you won’t. These are referred to as the Gnostic gospels – part and parcel of a religious movement that was denounced as heresy by Orthodox Christianity in the middle of the second century. Gnosis means knowledge in Greek – and the basis for their beliefs is that if you want to know God, you have to know yourself. Or in other words, there’s a little bit of divinity in all of us, coded and hidden…and it’s up to each of us to figure out how to get it out. The Gnostics felt that religion was something that by definition had to be personal – and that if you simply believed what others told you to believe or said the right words during a church service or just got baptized, it wasn’t enough to reach spiritual fulfillment. Above all else, the Gnostics said, ask questions. Don’t believe everything you’re told; don’t assume that just because someone says “This is the way it should be done” that he or she is right. There are a lot of good reasons – political and religious – why Orthodox Christianity rejected the Gnostic movement…but something else was lost along with those gospels – the belief that people might reach spiritual enlightenment in a variety in ways, rather than one “right” way. “If you bring forth what is within you,” Jesus says, in the Gospel of Thomas, “what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.” Sounds like a riddle, right? But it’s actually pretty simple: The potential to free yourself – or ruin yourself – is entirely up to you. Which gets pretty interesting when you’re talking about a condemned man who happens to think that donating his heart to the sister of his victim is the way to save himself. ” (From FAQ on Jodi Picoult’s website)
She also goes into more detail if you click the “Change of Heart” tab.
I have decided to begin reading this book simultaneously with Snow Flower… simply because Picoult is one of my favorites and I’m so nervous that she might be letting me down with this one (as if she even knows me). I need to read it. I just do. So it will be a bonus book this month, and I will open up a discussion for it in regular posts if you feel so inclined to join me.