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Mercy Paperback – Apr 1 2001

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Washington Square Press (April 1 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743422449
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743422444
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2.8 x 21 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 340 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #93,011 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

What could have been a competent, topical novel about a mercy killing becomes, in Picoult's (following Picture Perfect, 1995) hands, an inspired meditation on love. The setting is Wheelock, Mass., a slightly eccentric town where most of the residents are of Scottish descent, where weddings end in a blood vow, the name MacDonald is "painted on an alarming number of mailboxes" and police chief Cameron MacDonald doubles as clan chief and protector. On a seemingly ordinary day in Wheelock, Jamie MacDonald, a cousin of Cameron's, drives to the police station and announces: "My wife here, Maggie, is dead, and I'm the one who killed her." Cam finds himself saddled with a murder case and a conflict of interest: his cousin has given in to the pleas of his cancer-ravaged wife to kill her, and he's come to the clan chief to confess. But as police chief, Cam must also prosecute. On the same day, Cam's wife, Allie, the local florist, hires Mia, a violet-eyed beauty with a genius for flower arranging. Allie gets involved in Jamie's case, and Cam, who has spent his life in service to his community and his clan, falls in love with Mia and begins an affair that will bring his marriage to the breaking point and change it profoundly. Like Jamie, Allie is the marriage partner who loves more. "It's never fifty-fifty," says Jamie. As Jamie's court case proceeds, Picoult plumbs the emotional core of both marriages. The pace of the trial is slow, but Picoult pays loving attention to her central characters, fashioning a sensitive exploration of the balance of love.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Cameron MacDonald is both the chief of police in the Massachusetts village of Wheelock and the reluctant figurehead chieftain of the MacDonald clan, which immigrated there in the late 1700s. Thus it is to Cam that his cousin Jamie turns after he accedes to his suffering wife's wish and helps her to die. Cam, who longs to travel and free himself from his family obligation, arrests Jamie for first-degree murder but then hires a lawyer for him. On that same day, exotic young Mia wanders into the village and is hired by Cam's wife, Allie, to help out in her florist shop. Cam and Allie have reached a comfortable plateau in their marriage, but both sense that something is missing. Mia and Cam are irresistibly drawn to each other, she to his established place in local society and he to her itinerant lifestyle. The story explores love and the intricate balance of give and take that marriage demands. Picoult (Picture Perfect, LJ 1/95) offers a well-written novel with touches of spirituality that are reminiscent of Alice Hoffman's stories. Highly recommended for most collections.?Kathleen Stevens, Fairfax Cty. P. L., Vir.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jamie Bourgeois on Aug. 28 2001
Format: Paperback
Picoult won me over with this novel. It is a wonderful tale of several people: a husband and wife (Cam and Allie) whose lives are infiltrated with other characters: Jamie, Maggie, and Mia. I found that the people in this book were real, their thoughts, feelings and actions the same as many of us in our own lives. Throughout this book, I was finding myself feeling for Allie. I imagine many married woman feel and act this way.... however, Mia, I felt, had been an exception to the rule of "the other woman". She had too much insight into who she was, what she wanted. I enjoyed these people very much, despite the things they were doing. One of the things that I found could have been excluded was the bit about Cam being the leader of the present day Carrymuir, the small town of Wheelock. This was a bit corny, but I suppose that the author felt this helped the readers understanding of Cam. I think this book has a little bit for everyone: romance, marital affairs, legal action, murder. You will find yourself staying up late to get to the next parts.... trying to figure out what has happened next.
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By TJ's Mommy on May 20 2003
Format: Paperback
This book was the chosen selection for our book club this month. We were all intrigued by the excerpt and it was a unanimous decision. There's the topic of love, deceit, murder, and selfishness. It is a story that will capture your attention and you'll feel for these characters.
Euthanasia is not something that I've ever thought of before, in relation to my life. In this story, Jamie MacDonald confesses to killing his wife because she asked him to end her life and battle with cancer. The theory is that he loves her so much that he would do anything she asked of him. That really makes you question what you would do if put in the same situation.
Cameron and Allie MacDonald are married and lead a satisfying life. Cam is the police chief of the town and Allie is his doting wife. When Jamie comes to town it puts a barrier between the two of them. Allie loves Cam so much, and can understand where Jamie is coming from. Cam doesn't see it that way and views his cousin as a murderer. But Cam doesn't have a problem being a liar! Through all of this he cheats on his wife and deceives her...supposedly in the name of love.
This story really makes you question what you would do for love and how far you would go. I recommend this story, especially to book club groups. I can see it leading to a bunch of discussion.
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Format: Paperback
I selected this as our 13th selection and this was the first time we have repeated Authors. We read Keeping Faith last year and my group loved it.
Wish I could say they appreciated this as much but I cannot.
Discussion of the book was feisty I must admit, with everyone voting on the traits of the characters more than anything else.
Logistical things seemed to distract most of us; like the purpose of the Scotland history, the fact that you inherit the Police Chief's job just because your Father passes; you let a complete stranger walk in and take over your Florist shop? Come on this is the twenty first century and Massachusetts!
I tried to steer the group into the crux of the subject, but it was difficult to stay focused on the Euthanasia. Jamie was the most liked character...what does that tell you???
I have thoroughly enjoyed the other selections from Jodi I have read so far and will most certainly keep reading her works.
We did enjoy the parallel drawn between the two couples and how one decision cost one woman her life and the other woman the life she had always known up to that point.
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By A Customer on Nov. 27 2001
Format: Paperback
Mercy is a thoroughly engrossing novel. One was right to point out that some of the characters have no desirable traits. Perhaps that is what serves this book best. We would like to believe that we could deal with what was set before us if we could distinguish between the good guys and the bad guys. But that's the point. This book paints a very blurry line--do we care about Allie when she's in this completely co-dependent relationship with Cam? And do we at all feel for Cam who is trapped in a small town not being able to fulfill his dreams because of family obligation? And Mia--can we at all sympathize with her based on her family history and watch as she hurts the one person who took care of her, no questions asked? And then there's Jamie--do we at all care of his fate when he seems so complacent and in love with a woman that others see as slightly selfish? In the end, I didn't feel any compassion for any of the characters--but I did feel for their lot in life and the events that shape our actions. And that's why I enjoyed this book so much; it's much easier to love a character and forgive them than to dislike one and understand.
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By TheReader23 on Sept. 16 2001
Format: Paperback
I can't remember reading a book where all the characters had such undesirable traits that reading any further became an effort. The only character who was somewhat bearable was a cat and that's probably because it spent its time either eating or hidden in someone's backpack serving as a parallel to everything else that's hidden away in this small town of Wheelock, MA.
I'm already a Jodi Picoult fan having read and liked four of her other books -- The Pact, Keeping Faith, Plain Truth and Salem Falls -- so when I say that I didn't enjoy this book at all, I have a good basis for comparison. Never before have I read a book where I felt so detached from each and every character. The wife Allie has no backbone, the husband Cam has no loyalty, the mistress Mia has no values, the mercy killer Jamie has no fortitude, his dead wife Maggie was selfish, Cam's mother Ellen is a wacko.....I could go on and on.
The backdrop of the story is one of intense love -- so intense that your emotions take over your senses. There's a case of a mercy killing, another story of a cheating spouse and a courtroom scene where all the scenarios are played out. The events leading up to and after the killing are all impulsive -- sometimes so impulsive that they're hard to believe. There are other parts in the book where reality is suspended and mysticism takes over. I'm always at a loss when an author resorts to this.
Probably the biggest complaint I have is the intense lack of editing. I can't stand when I'm reading a book and two people are having a conversation yet the name you're reading on the typewritten page is NOT the name of the person who is actually doing the talking.
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