Harvesting the Heart is one of Jodi Picoult’s earlier novels. It is about a woman named Paige. Paige grew up with only a few memories of her mother. When she was five years old, her mother abandoned Paige and her father. Paige decides after graduation that it is time for her to leave her father and the city she grew up in, Chicago, after dealing with a challenging decision. Paige leaves and dreams of attending art school. While gone she meets and marries Nicholas, an ambitious young doctor. Soon after Paige becomes a mother herself to a son. She quickly feels overwhelmed with the demands of having a family and she cannot get past the fact that her own mother left her and was absent most of her life. She also struggles with her own past and the reason behind why she left Chicago and her father in the first place. She is unsure of herself as a mother and as a wife and so in a moment of desperation leaves everything in search of answers.
This story was hard for me to get into. I usually love Picoult’s writing style, but in this particular story, I found she jumped around time frames too much, especially in the beginning of the book. I was constantly trying to figure out what was going on. Luckily after the first part it became a bit easier to follow and the flow was much better.
This story deals with such a fragile topic of ambivalent motherhood. I think all moms can relate to feeling overwhelmed in the beginning. It’s a completely new life and you need to adapt rather quickly. But I think that’s where most moms, at least in my case, stop relating. I could never in a million years ever consider leaving my children and it was hard for me to understand why Paige could do that to her own son. But Picoult does do a good job in putting you into Paige’s shoes and seeing it through her eyes. You really have to have empathy in order to understand the emotions that she is going through, especially, if like me, you find it unthinkable to just get up and leave.
Picoult does a good job of writing from the perspectives of both Paige, the mother, and Nicholas, her husband and the father of the child. You really get a sense of what both of them are feeling and the struggles they each have to deal with. But as I already said, I had a really hard time relating to the characters and what they were going through.
Overall I found this particular novel to be lacking what most of her other novels have. It took me a long time to really get into it and when I did, I couldn’t relate much to what I was reading. The story line was a bit predictable and there weren’t really any twists or surprises. It was an interesting read, but not one of my favourites.