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Stephanie
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Change of Heart: Middle Chapters

This thread is suitable for those who have read through p. 281 (Maggie: hb) . Please be mindful of spoilers for events that occur in later chapters.

 

Post your thoughts and questions about the middle section of the novel here.  Thus far, what thoughts are you struggling with most?

Stephanie
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dhaupt
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Re: Change of Heart: Middle Chapters

Here is where I start to love the novel. I started to love the intricacies that Jodi pays attention to.

This is where my questions about why Michael became a priest come to high point to find out.

This is where I'm starting to question why Shay murdered those two people, she doesn't play him to be as mentally incapacitated as I first thought she would. He doesn't seem a monster to me, he's too kind and I know that we rarely recognize evil in others but I just don't see it in him and I'm really starting to wonder not if but why he did it. 

I loved page 281 when Maggie goes back and asks the waiter to bring the main course menu. Maggie reminds me of Jennifer Weiner's character Cannie in Good in Bed and Certain Girls.

I now have a new favorite character to share Maggie with and that's her dad.

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PollyAnnaPH
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Re: Change of Heart: Middle Chapters

Maggie has tenacity and grit but in a soft, fluffy, non-threatening way and you have to love her for that. 

 

Picoult is known for her last second plot twists and I have it in the back of my head that Shay did not commit murder.  On the one hand I want to read faster to find out and on the other I want to slow down and savor the subtleties of Picoult's style. 

 

Maggie's matter of fact descriptions of the 4 types of death by hanging is disturbing at best.  You have to wonder about that, in years gone by, when being humane was of little or no consideration when carrying out a death sentence. 

 

I've always thought myself to be pro-death penalty for extraordinarily heinous crimes.  I don't think I've ever considered the burden on the 12 individuals who have to live with that decision. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pam
The early bird may get the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese.
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Stephanie
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Re: Change of Heart: Middle Chapters

Secondary characters are great - Joel Bloom, Christian Gallagher (laughed so hard when he said, "I'm Christian" and Maggie went off on that tirade about religion and he said, "Perhaps you'd just like to call me Chris?"), even Maggie's mother is getting better.

 

I'm a little neutral about June.  Yes, I know all she has been through, but I think I know what really happened when Kurt and Elizabeth were killed.  Shay said she was better off dead.  I think June will regret her daughter and step-father's burial. 

 

Love that I have something new to research -- Gnostics and the Nag Hammadi scrolls - check out this link - it'll open in a new window.

 

I really held off reading until this week so that I could post my comments "live" - in other words, I didn't want to come back in and say what I was thinking after the fact. 

Stephanie
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dhaupt
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Re: Change of Heart: Middle Chapters

 

PollyAnnaPH wrote:

 

I've always thought myself to be pro-death penalty for extraordinarily heinous crimes.  I don't think I've ever considered the burden on the 12 individuals who have to live with that decision. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pam, I found myself thinking the same thing. I never thought about how the verdict effected the jurors

 

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dhaupt
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Re: Change of Heart: Middle Chapters

[ Edited ]

 

Stephanie wrote:

Secondary characters are great - Joel Bloom, Christian Gallagher (laughed so hard when he said, "I'm Christian" and Maggie went off on that tirade about religion and he said, "Perhaps you'd just like to call me Chris?"), even Maggie's mother is getting better.

 

I'm a little neutral about June.  Yes, I know all she has been through, but I think I know what really happened when Kurt and Elizabeth were killed.  Shay said she was better off dead.  I think June will regret her daughter and step-father's burial. 

 

Love that I have something new to research -- Gnostics and the Nag Hammadi scrolls - check out this link - it'll open in a new window.

 

I really held off reading until this week so that I could post my comments "live" - in other words, I didn't want to come back in and say what I was thinking after the fact. 

I love the part where Christian introduces himself, I had to laugh out loud.

 

Yes Stephanie I have read some of the Gnostic books and they gave me great comfort during my crisis of faith a while ago

 

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KathyS
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Re: Change of Heart: Middle Chapters

[ Edited ]

 

Pam,

 

I've never read a JP book before, but having a plot twist in the end wouldn't surprise me, as I continue to read.  This story is taking some interesting turns, especially as this author takes us on a religious tour, in itself.  And then through the pros and cons of hanging....

 

....during dinner, with Christian...interesting name??? Ha!  That was funny, the misunderstanding, and I fell into it just as Maggie did...Oh, that's his name?...oops!  Maggie's a hoot.

 

Hanging, the discussion during dinner was upsetting to read and think about.  What a topic to spoil a good meal, especially the courses Maggie was reading to us from the menu...I read those chapters last night, after I got home from my daughters' house...I ate a ton of food..... The talk about hanging, between Christian and Maggie, almost made me sick to my stomach.....

 

In early American history, people never thought much about putting the horse thief up on the horse, and swatting the horse's behind - watching the horrid results dangle from the end of a noose, from a tree....How many people do you think would want to see this?  Probably more than we would like.  Utube would be first to capture it, I would bet money on it.

 

It's a nasty way to die...but a horse was a man's life in those days, literally, without one the man's livelihood was destroyed.  Of course, hanging goes way back in history....a public sporting event, sort of speak....people taking their picnic baskets, with their children, to watch...grim, sadistic; inhumane is a tempered word to put to that 'event'.

 

Whatever the crime, in my thinking, sentencing, or putting death to another human being by my own hand, just doesn't sit well with me.  The death sentence of that human being, doesn't stop, deter, let alone eradicate future actions by another psychopath, or anyone who is determined to commit those crimes by killing someone else.

 

There are all different points of view on this, by the people, the victims, who had family and friends stolen from them by these monstrous acts.  I've never had this happen to me, and as hard as we try, we can never put ourselves in people like June's position.  Anger, as we see it in these cases, only perpetuates anger.  Erasing someone's life, you may think will put the monster out of your memory, take away what happened,  but I don't think that is ever possible.   There is never a really good resolution to this type of crime, other than capturing that criminal, and putting them where they can never hurt another human being again.

 

Years ago, when I was in a high school political science class, the teacher talked to us about capital punishment.  I was starting to form my opinions of this subject at that time.  His opinion was, the death penalty doesn't solve a thing.  Later in life, as I came to know the teachings of the Bible, I found that it is not up to me to make that judgment on another human being, causing their death.  It's not my choice to make.  As was stated in this novel, judgment does not come from us.  And neither should vengeance.

 

We see and hear the crowds outside this prison.  Lusius hears it echoing, from TV to reality.  That is just a small view of what we deal with in the U.S. today.  Always the divisions.  Divisions of ideas, of thinking, of actions.

 

Whether it's to do with this subject, of the death penalty, or the subject of immigration, there will always be people who only see things the way they want to see them.  They see the crime, they see the result, and they see that it is up to them to make the judgment call on anyone who gets in their way.  It's their way, or no way.....and don't get in their way.  No talking; no compromising; no understanding is accomplished in their forward motion.  It's sad to see so many radical views on subjects that should be understood completely, before you take up a gun and shoot someone who doesn't see your points of view.  It's a sick world, in these sad situation.

 

 

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KathyS
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Change of Heart: Middle Chapters - Lucius/Shay

The tattoo, Believe...from Lucius' chest, to Shay's hand.  How.....? Why this word?  "Shay smiled wider, and then raised his fist.  He unfolded his fingers, one at a time."

 

Again, I saw this as petals of a flower, opening to the word, Believe.  Each step, each happening, becomes one more step towards a new birth....I don't know what it is, at this time..Unless it leads us to the rebirth of Claire.

 

I hadn't known anything about the Gnostic text.  I did listened to some of it, for a while, and read some of the Gospel of Thomas, as you posted the link, Stephanie...reading is one thing, understanding some of it is another.  I only understand it, as I compare it, as it pertains to Biblical text.

 

I was hearing what these words were saying, at one time, but I hesitate to read much more of it.  These psychologists and philosophers points of view, are not new to me.

 

The words of the Bible, itself, alone, is very adamant about not adding to it, or delving into the philosophical beliefs that add or detract from it.  I read with hesitation, and not without faith that whatever these truths are, I will know them when I hear them.  I honestly don't feel it necessary to go into it, myself, to understand what is to take place in this story.  What is truth, as we read it here, is translated by the hand of JP, the writer of those words.  I take all of this non literally, and have no faith in these words.  It won't deter me from reading the rest of this book.  It's a story of fiction, and that's all it is to me.  I think what we all learn, is only of personal value to each of us, alone.

 

Kathy

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KathyS
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Re: Change of Heart: Middle Chapters

[ Edited ]
Stephanie wrote:

 

I'm a little neutral about June.  Yes, I know all she has been through, but I think I know what really happened when Kurt and Elizabeth were killed.  Shay said she was better off dead.  I think June will regret her daughter and step-father's burial. 

 

I really held off reading until this week so that I could post my comments "live" - in other words, I didn't want to come back in and say what I was thinking after the fact. 

Stephanie,

 

I don't understand what do you mean when you say:  I think June will regret her daughter and step-father's burial?

 

I wondered why all Shay could blurt out was, "She is better off dead".  Of all things, why that?  It sounds like Shay knows more than he's willing to tell.  What is he hiding?  And why?  Of course this answer was not what June wanted to hear...she wanted remorse, feelings of regret...being sorry for his act...and this is all he could say.  It sounds like he has nothing to feel sorry for, as if he hadn't committed a crime, at all.  Or if he did, he had good reasons behind it. 

 

With all of what's going on, with the thinking that he might be something other than a fallible human being....we start to wonder, maybe he is a being with extraordinary powers.  Makes you wonder, doesn't it. 

 

Now, I'm going to pursue my reading.....I can't wait another minute, to get into the last third of this book.  I've taken what I can from these characters, or at least what I think I can....there may be more, but right now I need to find out just what these nagging feelings are that I have about this character.

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Stephanie
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Re: Change of Heart: Middle Chapters

Kathy,

 

Maybe I've read enough of JP's books to be on the lookout for the sly comment here and there, but from the onset I was skeptical after reading June's first chapters. 

 

I'll not say more here, but after you finish the book, go back to the beginning, and you'll find the references.

Stephanie
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KathyS
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Re: Change of Heart: Middle Chapters

Hi, was that in reference to the shared grave?  I was just posting in the next chapter section...the first pages, and it dawned on me that this might be what you were referring to....if my thinking, or predictions (ours) come true, I'm thinking, Yuck!  You haven't read the ending yet, have you?

Stephanie wrote:

Kathy,

 

Maybe I've read enough of JP's books to be on the lookout for the sly comment here and there, but from the onset I was skeptical after reading June's first chapters. 

 

I'll not say more here, but after you finish the book, go back to the beginning, and you'll find the references.

 

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Fozzie
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Re: Change of Heart: Middle Chapters

I am in awe of the author’s ability to bring in so many different points of view on issues in this book in a way that does not leave me feeling overwhelmed and does not interfere with the “flow” of the fictional story telling.

 

A quote from page 232 struck me:

 

“Maybe for Shay, maybe it was offering his heart --- literally and figuratively --- to the mother who’d lost hers years ago because of him.”

 

I hadn’t thought about Shay’s heart being a “replacement” for anyone but Claire’s heart.  I like thinking that his heart could be a “replacement” for June’s too.

 

Pages 237-8 talk about cellular memory and the fascinating things that have occurred in transplant recipients.  Wow!  I loved adding this idea to my brain!

 

Like all of you, I have kept my reading and commentaries concurrent with each other, and, like you, I just have to move on to the last section of reading, with one of the questions on my mind being, Who is Gracie?  (pg. 246)

Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
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KathyS
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Re: Change of Heart: Middle Chapters

[ Edited ]

Laura, I know what you mean, as far as all of these different points of view becoming part of this story.  This author does give you lots to wonder about, but it really doesn't get in the way of the flow,  except my own flow, since I had to stop often to contemplate these passages.

 

The things that Shay says, you do wonder where his mind is at those times.  If you don't read this book fast, as I haven't, I sometimes forget those little things that Shay says, because I get caught up in the next character, or the next one after that one, before those questions are answered.... 

 

I like that quote, too....there seems to be more to this donation of a heart, than everyone on the outside of this situation seems to realize.  The people standing outside, who really don't know any more of the details, or even less, than we do, about who this person, Shay, really is.  Even we don't know all of his intentions, his purpose in what he thinks, or does.  He's quite the enigma, isn't he?

 

I wonder, maybe his character is to bring out of us what we want to see in him, as we see how much his influence is on these other characters?  Is he devil or angle, simply man, or messiah?

 

 It's a totally religious theme we have in this story.  I think this novel can either turn people off, or turn people on, to these perspectives JP has brought into it.  I've tried to stay as neutral as possible, but it's hard to do when you have a definite belief system.  I agreed at one time, was swayed, at one time, and put off at other times. 

 

I think, at times, my emotions got the better of my rational thinking mind.  I expressed those emotions in the final chapters of this story, unfortunately taking it out on those around me on this board.  I do get caught up in stories.

 

I also like the science involved in this story, or at least the speculation of what it would be like to receive another person's heart, or to give one, for that matter.  I can see what family would be thinking, JP has made that clear to us, bringing all the questions to the surface, that may arise in these circumstances.

 

I think if it were to save one of my own daughters, I wouldn't know what I would be thinking, except to do whatever possible to save her life.   We definitely saw the vacillation in June..... I kept putting myself on all ends of this situation....That's why I think donors should be kept anonymous.  But, obviously, it had to become public in this story.

 

The character of Gracie?  We do find out...more later.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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dhaupt
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Re: Change of Heart: Middle Chapters

I too liked the different perspectives she brings out in the book and some very unusual ones too, like the inmates.

I can also see where people could have faith crisis dealing with the things these characters did.

And Kathy I agree with you to save my daughter, if she was this young, I would sell my soul to the devil. Now my real daughter is 30 and if she was dying and sane and she didn't want the heart I might have to live with her wishes, but as a child, no way the decision is mine and mine alone, well and her dad.

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KathyS
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Re: Change of Heart: Middle Chapters

dhaupt wrote:

I too liked the different perspectives she brings out in the book and some very unusual ones too, like the inmates.

I can also see where people could have faith crisis dealing with the things these characters did.

And Kathy I agree with you to save my daughter, if she was this young, I would sell my soul to the devil. Now my real daughter is 30 and if she was dying and sane and she didn't want the heart I might have to live with her wishes, but as a child, no way the decision is mine and mine alone, well and her dad.

 

Yes, having our daughters being adults, that is a different situation, isn't it? 

 

While I was reading this story, I kept thinking about my granddaughter, who just turned 9.  Yes, it is our decision, even if that child wanted to hate us for making that decision for them.  Having to go through what Claire was going through, I'm sure that was swaying her decision making.  Both, the physical, and mental stress, would alone be more than any person should have to deal with, let alone a child of her age.

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PollyAnnaPH
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Re: Change of Heart: Middle Chapters

Picoult's My Sisters Keeper will have you thinking for hours about just what you might, or might not do to save the life of your child.  If you haven't read it yet I would highly recommend it.  I would not, however, suggest watching the movie.  I read the book and then saw the movie and was furious at the omissions and changes to the book.

Pam
The early bird may get the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese.
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Stephanie
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Re: Change of Heart: Middle Chapters

Oddly, my daughter is eleven now (and I know there are those of you who remember when I talked about my 3 year old!), and I would have told her that I would do anything at all to save her life, no matter what.  As a matter of fact, I would pull the heart out of that guy's chest myself. Sounds a little over the top maybe, but ...

 

And I love the way JP makes me think and think and think about a subject, about the death penalty, about the messiah, about different ways of believing and about the many possible ways we can feel about something, all at once. 

 

I would never have said no, as June did - yet I could never truly understand her feelings, since I am not in her shoes. And I think JP wants us to know that. No matter what we think we might do, you just never can tell.

Stephanie
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Violet_Girl
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Re: Change of Heart: Middle Chapters

I loved the quote about the catholic church being a bully it made me laugh out loud in the middle of sitting on the sales floor at work. My favorite character is becoming Maggie wow what a challenge her case is and how expertly she is addressing the issue I loved reading how much everything cost and was not surprised when it came down to 120.00

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Marek_S
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Re: Change of Heart: Middle Chapters

I understand where you're coming from, but I also find it ironic that our ability to express our differences of opinions is a result of the freedoms we enjoy in this country.  So many across the world aren't able to vocalize or stand behind a different voice than the one they're told to follow.

 

Unfortunately, I also don't think there are absolutes, either.  There are so many different backgrounds and ideologies that are flying around in every direction that espouse so many different beliefs...how do you resolve something like capital punishment?  It's certainly not an easy task.

 

 

Marek
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KathyS
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Re: Change of Heart: Middle Chapters

Marek_S wrote:

I understand where you're coming from, but I also find it ironic that our ability to express our differences of opinions is a result of the freedoms we enjoy in this country.  So many across the world aren't able to vocalize or stand behind a different voice than the one they're told to follow.

 

Unfortunately, I also don't think there are absolutes, either.  There are so many different backgrounds and ideologies that are flying around in every direction that espouse so many different beliefs...how do you resolve something like capital punishment?  It's certainly not an easy task.

 

 

 

Marek,

 

I totally agree with you in this conversation.  Nothing is easy to explain, where it comes to these points we take up in these discussions.  I do tend to capsulize, putting myself into the circumstances surrounding a story,  even though my posts are long, and sometimes tedious, I'm always speaking from a personal point of view.  I don't always go into a larger picture, which I would like to do, at times.  

 

As you say, nothing is absolute, where it comes to these freedoms we take for granted, here in the U.S.  The politics, religions, government, the backgrounds of all the people around the world, all differ.

 

Of course, even here in the U.S., there are so many different backgrounds, which will always result in differences of opinions.  If nothing else, I've learned that on these boards, working through the hard spots where we won't always agree.  We're on a smaller scale, here, than the view of the world, but it works basically the same.  As Debbie and I have discussed on other discussions, we will always try to respect that difference of opinion. 

 

I tend to get passionate at times, and it sort of overflows in my voice, and will sometimes come across as a hard core, or hard nosed, opinion.  It's never meant to be personal towards anyone.   I like to see all different sides to these subjects we discuss, because that's the only way we can ever understand, whether we agree or not.  We're not waging war, or making life and death decisions (thank goodness!), but every person counts, and it may just be a small step in the right direction, in finding peace, but as I've come to learn, every step counts for something.  Understanding, through these book discussions, is primary to what I've had to learn in real life.

 

I very much appreciate your input!

 

Kathy