Harvesting the Heart by Jodi Picoult

This is a lengthy, complex, but very human book about relationships between normal, dysfunctional people.

We discover how the two primary players, Paige and Nicholas, are very much influenced by their respective mothers, both of whom abandoned their families in different ways and for different reasons.

Paige agonises with the deprivation of her childhood, her strict Catholic education, and the cruel fate and consequent guilt she fell into on account of her lack of a mother’s love. Surviving on practically nothing, time and again it is her natural artistic talent that proves her salvation. But her inability to care for her baby drives her to flee, as did her mother.

Nicholas, on the other hand, from a prestigious, self-made family, is driven by a need to succeed as a successful cardiac surgeon; nothing else matters. So baby Max is an untimely intrusion in his career path, especially when he is left to cope with him alone.

The emotional struggles of both protagonists, and the unexpected way they find solutions, are told very realistically and form the bulk of the story. The explicit sexual scenes, although central to the story, might offend some readers.

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