Words by Elizabeth A Fuhr
‘Second Glance’ is one of the many novels written by Jodie Picoult. Technically, this novel could be labelled as a ghost story, yet it is not devised to thrill and scare. The ghost theme, instead, is used as a catalyst for discovery. Ross, the main character, unfortunately loses his fiancée in a car accident and has since been convinced that there is a possibility that he could make contact with her ghost. In an ideal world, however, he wishes he could die so that he could be with his love again, but no matter what he tries his body resists death. It is this inability to die that leads him on a search for the ghost of his fiancée for it is the only other way he will be able to see her again. Ross’ desperate desire to find his fiancée’s ghost enables hidden secrets to be revealed and mysteries to be solved; secrets that would otherwise, never have been discovered.
Second Glance is the first of Picoult’s novels that I have read and honestly I was surprised by the complexity and skill of her writing. The novel explores many themes and all intertwine perfectly without any stop of flow. The ethical issue of eugenics is looked at (a science that encouraged the sterilization of bad people, such as thieves, to stop their criminal character being passed to their offspring). Picoult also addresses the issue of conflicting classes and the attitude, for example the people of Comtosook are superior to the native Indians that also live there. The novel could also be argued to be a story of mystery as the reader is taken on a not too predictable journey of discovering the secrets and mysteries, held in Comtosook.
I had heard that Picoult’s books were a good read, but I never anticipated just how excellent her writing and plot would be. This story shows the transition of a man who would do anything to die, to a man who discovers a reason to live. This story created a reader who has never read a Picoult novel before to a reader who is now a potential Picoult fanatic. If you like a mystery, a bit of romance and a cleverly written novel then this book is definitely worth a read.