Cover image for Change of heart
Title:
Change of heart
ISBN:
9781428180581
Publication Information:
Prince Frederic, MD : Recorded Books, p2008.
Physical Description:
12 sound discs (ca. 15.25 hr.) : digital ; 4 3/4 in.
General Note:
Unabridged.

Compact discs.
Genre:
Summary:
Shay Bourne shattered June Nealon's life when he murdered her husband and daughter. Now, as New Hampshire's first death row inmate in 58 years, his last request is one he believes might bring him salvation. Shay wants to donate his heart to June's other, ailing daughter. But since he is scheduled for lethal injection, this not possible. Further complications arise when Shay begins performing miracles in full view of witnesses--including his Catholic spiritual advisor.
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Summary

Summary

Starred Review. When itinerant carpenter Shay Bourne is moved to the maximum security wing of the New Hampshire State Prison to await execution in the state's first capital punishment case in decades, odd things happen. The water in the cells runs red with wi a rescued baby bird comes back to life; an inmate's AIDS goes into remission. Eleven years earlier, Shay was convicted of murdering Kurt Nealon and his seven-year-old stepdaughter, Elizabeth. Kurt's wife, June, was pregnant when her family was killed, and her second child, Claire, was born with a heart defect. Without a transplant, Claire will die, so Shay wants to donate his heart to make amends for Elizabeth's death. Because lethal injection will render the heart useless, ACLU attorney Maggie Bloom seeks to change the sentence to death by hanging. Her unlikely ally is Father Michael, a priest who as a college student had served on the jury that convicted Shay. Can June and Claire accept such a gift from the person who destroyed their family? Once again, Picoult's deft treatment of a contemporary issue demonstrates that there are few simple answers. Twists in the plot keep the listener in suspense until the end. The five-member cast of narrators (Nicole Poole and others) is masterly. Highly recommended for public libraries. [Change of Heart is the latest New York Times best seller from PicouCopyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Summary

Karma


Author Notes

Jodi Picoult was born in Nesconset, New York on May 19, 1966. She received a degree in creative writing from Princeton University in 1987 and a master's degree in education from Harvard University. She published two short stories in Seventeen magazine while still in college. Immediately after graduation, she landed a variety of jobs, ranging from editing textbooks to teaching eighth-grade English.

Her first book, Songs of the Humpback Whale, was published in 1992. Her other works include Picture Perfect, Mercy, The Pact, Salem Falls, The Tenth Circle, Nineteen Minutes, Change of Heart, Handle with Care, House Rules, Sing You Home, Lone Wolf, Leaving Time, and Small Great Things. My Sister's Keeper was made into a movie starring Cameron Diaz. She received the New England Bookseller Award for fiction in 2003. She also wrote five issues of the Wonder Woman comic book series for DC Comics. She writes young adult novels with her daughter Samantha van Leer including Between the Lines and Off the Page.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 4

Publisher's Weekly Review

Picoult bangs out another ripped-from-the-zeitgeist winner, this time examining a condemned inmate's desire to be an organ donor. Freelance carpenter Shay Bourne was sentenced to death for killing a little girl, Elizabeth Nealon, and her cop stepfather. Eleven years after the murders, Elizabeth's sister, Claire, needs a heart transplant, and Shay volunteers, which complicates the state's execution plans. Meanwhile, death row has been the scene of some odd events since Shay's arrival-an AIDS victim goes into remission, an inmate's pet bird dies and is brought back to life, wine flows from the water faucets. The author brings other compelling elements to an already complex plot line: the priest who serves as Shay's spiritual adviser was on the jury that sentenced him; Shay's ACLU representative, Maggie Bloom, balances her professional moxie with her negative self-image and difficult relationship with her mother. Picoult moves the story along with lively debates about prisoner rights and religion, while plumbing the depths of mother-daughter relationships and examining the literal and metaphorical meanings of having heart. The point-of-view switches are abrupt, but this is a small flaw in an impressive book. 1,000,000-million copy first printing. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Booklist Review

Picoult engineers high-impact plots involving murder, car accidents, child abuse, medical ethics, and a school shooting not simply to sweep readers away with there-but-for-the-grace-of-God-go-I melodrama and suspense but also to craft provocative and relevant moral dilemmas rich in nuance, mystery, and wit. Following the success of Nineteen Minutes (2007) and with a movie version of My Sister's Keeper (2004) on the way, Picoult presents her fifteenth shrewd and dynamic novel, a compulsively readable saga and dramatic critique of capital punishment. She also seems determined to give The Da Vinci Code (2003) a run for its money. Shay Bourne, an enigmatic 33-year-old carpenter, has been sentenced to death in New Hampshire for the murders of a police officer and his stepdaughter. Their surviving wife and mother was pregnant at the time, and now her 11-year-old daughter needs a heart transplant. Guess who wants to help, and guess who seems to be performing miracles in prison. Shay attracts appealing champions: young Father Michael, who served on the jury that condemned Shay to death; wisecracking, plus-size Maggie, a rabbi's daughter and ACLU attorney; and artistic Lucius, who is serving one life sentence for murder and another due to AIDS. Laced with intriguing musings on the Gnostic Gospels, Picoult's bold story of loss, justice, redemption, and faith reminds us how tragically truth can be concealed and denied.--Seaman, Donna Copyright 2008 Booklist


Kirkus Review

A convicted murderer who may be a latter-day Messiah wants to donate his heart to the sister of one of his victims, in Picoult's frantic 15th (Nineteen Minutes, 2007, etc.). Picoult specializes in hot-button issues. This latest blockbuster-to-be stars New Hampshire's first death-row inmate in decades, Shay Bourne, a 33-year-old carpenter and drifter convicted of murdering the police officer husband of his employer, June, and her seven-year-old daughter, Elizabeth. Eleven years later Shay is still awaiting execution by lethal injection. Suddenly, miracles start to happen around Shay--cell-block tap water turns to wine, an AIDS-stricken fellow inmate is cured, a pet bird and then a guard are resurrected from the dead. Shay's spiritual adviser, Father Michael, is beginning to believe that Shay is a reincarnation of Christ, particularly when the uneducated man starts quoting key phrases from the Gnostic gospels. Michael hasn't told Shay that he served on the jury that condemned him to death. June's daughter Claire, in dire need of a heart transplant, is slowly dying. When Shay, obeying the Gnostic prescription to "bring forth what is within you," offers, through his attorney, ACLU activist Maggie, to donate his heart, June is at first repelled. Practical obstacles also arise: A viable heart cannot be harvested from a lethally injected donor. So Maggie sues in Federal Court to require the state to hang Shay instead, on the grounds that his intended gift is integral to his religious beliefs. Shay's execution looms, and then Father Michael learns more troubling news: Shay, who, like Jesus, didn't defend himself at trial, may be innocent. Clunky prose and long-winded dissertations on comparative religion can't impede the breathless momentum of the Demon-Drop plot. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Library Journal Review

When itinerant carpenter Shay Bourne is moved to the maximum security wing of the New Hampshire State Prison to await execution in the state's first capital punishment case in decades, odd things happen. The water in the cells runs red with wine; a rescued baby bird comes back to life; an inmate's AIDS goes into remission. Eleven years earlier, Shay was convicted of murdering Kurt Nealon and his seven-year-old stepdaughter, Elizabeth. Kurt's wife, June, was pregnant when her family was killed, and her second child, Claire, was born with a heart defect. Without a transplant, Claire will die, so Shay wants to donate his heart to make amends for Elizabeth's death. Because lethal injection will render the heart useless, ACLU attorney Maggie Bloom seeks to change the sentence to death by hanging. Her unlikely ally is Father Michael, a priest who as a college student had served on the jury that convicted Shay. Can June and Claire accept such a gift from the person who destroyed their family? Once again, Picoult's deft treatment of a contemporary issue demonstrates that there are few simple answers. Twists in the plot keep the listener in suspense until the end. The five-member cast of narrators (Nicole Poole and others) is masterly. Highly recommended for public libraries. [Change of Heart is the latest New York Times best seller from Picoult; it is also available as downloadable audio from Audible.com.--Ed.]--Nann Blaine Hilyard, Zion-Benton P.L., IL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

Change of Heart SEVEN MONTHS LATER MICHAEL Shay Bourne was nothing like I expected. I had prepared myself for a hulking brute of a man, one with hammy fists and no neck and eyes narrowed into slits. This was, after all, the crime of the century--a double murder that had captured the attention of people from Nashua to Dixville Notch; a crime that seemed all the worse because of its victims: a little girl, and a police officer who happened to be her stepfather. It was the kind of crime that made you wonder if you were safe in your own house, if the people you trusted could turn on you at any moment--and maybe because of this, New Hampshire prosecutors sought the death penalty for the first time in fifty-eight years. Given the media blitz, there was talk of whether twelve jurors who hadn't formed a reaction to this crime could even be found, but they managed to locate us. They unearthed me in a study carrel at UNH, where I was writing a senior honors thesis in mathematics. I hadn't had a decent meal in a month, much less read a newspaper--and so I was the perfect candidate for Shay Bourne's capital murder case. The first time we filed out of our holding pen--a small room in the superior courthouse that would begin to feel as familiar as my apartment--I thought maybe some bailiff had let us into the wrong courtroom. This defendant was small and delicately proportioned--the kind of guy who grew up being the punch line to high school jokes. He wore a tweed jacket that swallowed him whole, and the knot of his necktie squared away from him at the perpendicular, as if it were being magnetically repelled. His cuffed hands curled in his lap like small animals; his hair was shaved nearly to the skull. He stared down at his lap, even when the judge spoke his name and it hissed through the room like steam from a radiator. The judge and the lawyers were taking care of housekeeping details when the fly came in. I noticed this for two reasons: in March, you don't see many flies in New Hampshire, and I wondered how you went about swatting one away from you when you were handcuffed and chained at the waist. Shay Bourne stared at the insect when it paused on the legal pad in front of him, and then in a jangle of metal, he raised his bound hands and crashed them down on the table to kill it. Or so I thought, until he turned his palms upward, his fingers opened one petal at a time, and the insect went zipping off to bother someone else. In that instant, he glanced at me, and I realized two things: 1. He was terrified. 2. He was approximately the same age that I was. This double murderer, this monster, looked like the water polo team captain who had sat next to me in an economics seminar last semester. He resembled the deliveryman from the pizza place that had a thin crust, the kind I liked. He even reminded me of the boy I'd seen walking in the snow on my way to court, the one I'd rolled down my window for and asked if he wanted a ride. In other words, he didn't look the way I figured a killer would look, if I ever ran across one. He could have been any other kid in his twenties. He could have been me. Except for the fact that he was ten feet away, chained at the wrists and ankles. And it was my job to decide whether or not he deserved to live. * * * A month later, I could tell you that serving on a jury is nothing like you see on TV. There was a lot of being paraded back and forth between the courtroom and the jury room; there was bad food from a local deli for lunch; there were lawyers who liked to hear themselves talk, and trust me, the DAs were never as hot as the girl on Law & Order: SVU. Even after four weeks, coming into this courtroom felt like landing in a foreign country without a guidebook . . . and yet, I couldn't plead ignorant just because I was a tourist. I was expected to speak the language fluently. Part one of the trial was finished: we had convicted Bourne. The prosecution presented a mountain of evidence proving Kurt Nealon had been shot in the line of duty, attempting to arrest Shay Bourne after he'd found him with his stepdaughter, her underwear in Bourne's pocket. June Nealon had come home from her OB appointment to find her husband and daughter dead. The feeble argument offered up by the defense--that Kurt had misunderstood a verbally paralyzed Bourne; that the gun had gone off by accident--didn't hold a candle to the overwhelming evidence presented by the prosecution. Even worse, Bourne never took the stand on his own behalf--which could have been because of his poor language skills . . . or because he was not only guilty as sin but such a wild card that his own attorneys didn't trust him. We were now nearly finished with part two of the trial--the sentencing phase--or in other words, the part that separated this trial from every other criminal murder trial for the past half century in New Hampshire. Now that we knew Bourne had committed the crime, did he deserve the death penalty? This part was a little like a Reader's Digest condensed version of the first one. The prosecution gave a recap of evidence presented during the criminal trial; and then the defense got a chance to garner sympathy for a murderer. We learned that Bourne had been bounced around the foster care system. That when he was sixteen, he set a fire in his foster home and spent two years in a juvenile detention facility. He had untreated bipolar disorder, central auditory processing disorder, an inability to deal with sensory overload, and difficulties with reading, writing, and language skills. We heard all this from witnesses, though. Once again, Shay Bourne never took the stand to beg us for mercy. Now, during closing arguments, I watched the prosecutor smooth down his striped tie and walk forward. One big difference between a regular trial and the sentencing phase of a capital punishment trial is who gets the last word in edgewise. I didn't know this myself, but Maureen--a really sweet older juror I was crushing on, in a wish-you-were-my-grandma kind of way--didn't miss a single Law & Order episode, and had practically earned her JD via Barcalounger as a result. In most trials, when it was time for closing arguments, the prosecution spoke last . . . so that whatever they said was still buzzing in your head when you went back to the jury room to deliberate. In a capital punishment sentencing phase, though, the prosecution went first, and then the defense got that final chance to change your mind. Because, after all, it really was a matter of life or death. He stopped in front of the jury box. "It's been fifty-eight years in the history of the state of New Hampshire since a member of my office has had to ask a jury to make a decision as difficult and as serious as the one you twelve citizens are going to have to make. This is not a decision that any of us takes lightly, but it is a decision that the facts in this case merit, and it is a decision that must be made in order to do justice to the memories of Kurt Nealon and Elizabeth Nealon, whose lives were taken in such a tragic and despicable manner." He took a huge, eleven-by-fourteen photo of Elizabeth Nealon and held it up right in front of me. Elizabeth had been one of those little girls who seem to be made out of something lighter than flesh, with their filly legs and their moonlight hair; the ones you think would float off the jungle gym if not for the weight of their sneakers. But this photo had been taken after she was shot. Blood splattered her face and matted her hair; her eyes were still wide open. Her dress, hiked up when she had fallen, showed that she was naked from the waist down. "Elizabeth Nealon will never learn how to do long division, or how to ride a horse, or do a back handspring. She'll never go to sleepaway camp or her junior prom or high school graduation. She'll never try on her first pair of high heels or experience her first kiss. She'll never bring a boy home to meet her mother; she'll never be walked down a wedding aisle by her stepfather; she'll never get to know her sister, Claire. She will miss all of these moments, and a thousand more--not because of a tragedy like a car accident or childhood leukemia--but because Shay Bourne made the decision that she didn't deserve any of these things." He then took another photo out from behind Elizabeth's and held it up. Kurt Nealon had been shot in the stomach. His blue uniform shirt was purpled with his blood, and Elizabeth's. During the trial we'd heard that when the paramedics reached him, he wouldn't let go of Elizabeth, even as he was bleeding out. "Shay Bourne didn't stop at ending Elizabeth's life. He took Kurt Nealon's life, as well. And he didn't just take away Claire's father and June's husband--he took away Officer Kurt Nealon of the Lynley Police. He took away the coach of the Grafton County championship Little League team. He took away the founder of Bike Safety Day at Lynley Elementary School. Shay Bourne took away a public servant who, at the time of his death, was not just protecting his daughter . . . but protecting a citizen, and a community. A community that includes each and every one of you." The prosecutor placed the photos facedown on the table. "There's a reason that New Hampshire hasn't used the death penalty for fifty-eight years, ladies and gentlemen. That's because, in spite of the many cases that come through our doors, we hadn't seen one that merited that sentence. However, by the same token, there's a reason why the good people of this state have reserved the option to use the death penalty . . . instead of overturning the capital punishment statute, as so many other states have done. And that reason is sitting in this courtroom today." My gaze followed the prosecutor's, coming to rest on Shay Bourne. "If any case in the past fifty-eight years has ever cried out for the ultimate punishment to be imposed," the attorney said, "this is it." * * * College is a bubble. You enter it for four years and forget there is a real world outside of your paper deadlines and midterm exams and beer-pong championships. You don't read the newspaper--you read textbooks. You don't watch the news--you watch Letterman. But even so, bits and snatches of the universe manage to leak in: a mother who locked her children in a car and let it roll into a lake to drown them; an estranged husband who shot his wife in front of their kids; a serial rapist who kept a teenager tied up in a basement for a month before he slit her throat. The murders of Kurt and Elizabeth Nealon were horrible, sure--but were the others any less horrible? Shay Bourne's attorney stood up. "You've found my client guilty of two counts of capital murder, and he's not contesting that. We accept your verdict; we respect your verdict. At this point in time, however, the state is asking you to wrap up this case--one that involves the death of two people--by taking the life of a third person." I felt a bead of sweat run down the valley between my shoulder blades. "You're not going to make anyone safer by killing Shay Bourne. Even if you decide not to execute him, he's not going anywhere. He'll be serving two life sentences without parole." He put his hand on Bourne's shoulder. "You've heard about Shay Bourne's childhood. Where was he supposed to learn what all the rest of you had a chance to learn from your families? Where was he supposed to learn right from wrong, good from bad? For that matter, where was he even supposed to learn his colors and his numbers? Who was supposed to read him bedtime stories, like Elizabeth Nealon's parents had?" The attorney walked toward us. "You've heard that Shay Bourne has bipolar disorder, which was going untreated. You heard that he suffers from learning disabilities, so tasks that are simple for us become unbelievably frustrating for him. You've heard how hard it is for him to communicate his thoughts. These all contributed to Shay making poor choices--which you agreed with, beyond a reasonable doubt." He looked at each of us in turn. "Shay Bourne made poor choices," the attorney said. "But don't compound that by making one of your own." Excerpted from Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.