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Nancy's Notes, April 17

“Change of Heart” by Jodi Picoult, “Christ the Lord: the Road to Cana” by Anne Rice, "The final Warning (Maximum Ride Series #4) by James Patterson

I just finished Jodi Picoult’s “Change of Heart”. It was probably my least favorite of her books and yet as always she puts several twists in the book that take you by surprise. Picoult always has a trial and a tragedy involved in her stories. This one had a tinge of Stephen King’s “Green Mile” in it.

            Death row inmate Shay Bourne is fighting, not to be retried for his innocence, but to change his type of execution. Bourne was convicted of the murder of a young girl and her step-father while he was working construction in their home. The child’s pregnant mother was not home at the time and later gives birth to another girl. That child develops a heart condition and needs a heart transplant. Bourne seeks redemption by offering his heart to the child. He is scheduled to die by a lethal injection which will make his organs unusable for transplant. A lawyer for the ACLU volunteers to fight for his right to choose his style of execution so his heart can be used for transplant. In order to do so they site his religious beliefs. Bourne is an agnostic who has inadvertently caused several miracles to take place in his prison tier. He soon finds himself in the limelight as others profess he is the messiah.

            What I found rather hard to follow were her references on religion used in the trial. They made reference several times to the “The Gnostic Gospels” and Gospel of Thomas. I was not familiar with either and the quotes were sometimes hard for me to decipher. I hope this peaks your interest and does not discourage you from reading the book.

            I figured as long as I was writing about fiction pertaining to religion I’d throw in “Christ the Lord: the Road to Cana” by Anne Rice. She formerly wrote about vampires but now is in the second of her Christ the Lord series that is based on the Gospels. The story begins during the last winter before his baptism in the Jordan and concludes with the miracle at Cana.

            Legends of a Virgin birth have surrounded Jesus for decades as he lived among those who come to the synagogue on the Sabbath. Those who know and love him find themselves waiting for some sign of the path he will eventually take. Readers will see him emerge from his baptism to confront his destiny. They will see what happens when he takes the water in stone jars and turns it to wine, when he is recognized as the anointed one  and urged to call Israel to take up arms against Rome and follow him as the prophets foretold.

            We now have the fourth installment of James Patterson’s Maximum Ride series. This is technically a young adult book but we also keep a copy upstairs for our adult readers. Maximum Ride, the heroine, is a perfectly normal teenager who just happens to be able to fly as the result of an out-of-control genetic experiment. Max and the five kids who share her ability, have been asked to aid a group of environmental scientists studying the effects of global warming. The expedition seems like a perfect combination of adventure, activism, and escape from the government forces that are watching the group all the time.

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