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Police chief of a small Massachusetts town, Cameron McDonald makes the toughest arrest of his life when his own cousin Jamie comes to him and confesses outright that he has killed his terminally ill wife out of mercy.

Now, a heated murder trial plunges the town into upheaval, and drives a wedge into a contented marriage: Cameron, aiding the prosecution in their case against Jamie, is suddenly at odds with his devoted wife, Allie -- seduced by the idea of a man so in love with his wife that he'd grant all her wishes, even her wish to end her life. And when an inexplicable attraction leads to a shocking betrayal, Allie faces the hardest questions of the heart: when does love cross the line of moral obligation? And what does it mean to truly love another?

Praised for her "personal, detail-rich style" (Glamour), Jodi Picoult infuses this page-turning novel with heart, warmth, and startling candor, taking readers on an unforgettable emotional journey.

400 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1996

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About the author

Jodi Picoult

227 books73.6k followers
Jodi Picoult is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of twenty-eight novels, including Wish You Were Here, Small Great Things, Leaving Time, and My Sister’s Keeper, and, with daughter Samantha van Leer, two young adult novels, Between the Lines and Off the Page. Picoult lives in New Hampshire.

MAD HONEY, her new novel co-authored with Jennifer Finney Boylan, is available in hardcover, ebook, and audio on October 4, 2022.

Website: http://www.jodipicoult.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jodipicoult

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jodipicoult

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 3,480 reviews
Profile Image for SavageGrace.
104 reviews14 followers
August 29, 2013
Absolutely HATED this book! I usually find a few things I like about a story and highlight them for a review but this one has nothing for me to recommend, at all. Truly. I hated the characters, the style of writing, and the storyline-that-never-was. This is supposed to be a book about assistated suicide but 99% of it seemed to be about arranging flowers and a sickening adulterous affair between a husband and his wife's co-worker/stranger-who-has-no-allegiance-to-her-friend-or-sense-of-decency-or-morals. I hated the hoebag Mia, the unresolved marital issues, the lack of backbone in Allie and her mother-in-law Ellen, the lying-cheating-scumbag husband Cameron.... just a book filled with nothing but frustration and anger.
Profile Image for Dinjolina.
525 reviews498 followers
May 2, 2012
I am feeling completely sick.

Why? Because this is Cam story. I was supposed to sympathies. I was supposed to understand him.
But all I could think was: Wow, you are every woman’s nightmare husband!

And the ending? His wife talking him back?
Well, I know a lot of people that think a cheater romance can have a redeemable cheater that groveled and realized his wrong doing and that that would make it all alright.

So, what happens when the cheater is not redeemed? What happens when he talks to a man that killed his dying wife out of love and say ‘How did you ever let her go?’ not because he is thinking about his wife, but because he is thinking about his lover?

Maybe I would have sympathizes if the husband and his lady love had some grand love story.
But they only had dysfunctional lust, and I read page after page wondering why these two people even LIKED each other. And ultimately, the mistress pretty much left the ‘hero’ (really….hero? Could he even be called that?) because she loved him so LITTLE that she would not have liked him to change-stop having his pristine life-and go with her. SHE LIKED THE IDEA OF HIM. And for that ruined the…heroine?
Well, if my heroine is so hurt by these selfish misfits then why the hell does her HEA include a husband that does not love her, and chooses her only because the woman he loved? fuc*ed? left him?
I have no idea!

The only thing this book is good for is for seeing how NOT to react to a cheating asshat. And how NOT to live your life – always waiting for the other shoe to drop.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
May 6, 2015
If there had been half-stars, this book would have ratedd 2.5. It was better than ok, but I didn't really like it. I had read four or five Jodi Picoult novels and found, from the first high of My Sister's Keeper it to be a slow, downhill road and this book doesn't break that path.

The first half, which took me three days to read, established the characters, none of whom I liked.

There is the adulterous husband who feels guilty about never passing up an opportunity to screw his wife's strange employee who wanders from town to town looking for love. There is his wife, Allie, the submissive woman par excellence who held on to her virginity until she met her husband at 25 and whose every action is designed to please him. Her small show of self-assertiveness is quickly cast aside in favour of forgiveness and lurrrve. Then there is the murderer who really isn't, his wife who is absolutely perfect in every single way and was dying of cancer anyway and sundry other characters all of them charicatures for their occupations.

The plot was plebian, the central theme, All For Love, who loves enough... might have worked if I had liked the characters more, and the language was often over-flowery and reminiscent of a romance novel.

So why did I like it at all? Two reasons. Firstly, Jodi Picoult has the amazing ability to keep you on point, turning the pages unable to put the book down until you find out what happens. It took me less than a couple of hours to read the second half of the book. Secondly, I was trying to second-guess what the twist at the end would be. I guessed several possible ones and I was wrong, wrong, wrong. Its very nice to have the author pull a surprise on you, I do like Picoult for that and so, I'm not going to give up on her just yet - the Tenth Circle is sitting on my coffee table already.
Profile Image for Lauren.
246 reviews
August 4, 2008
I love Jodi Picoult books! However, this one was a real dispointment to me. I didn't find the book a pleasure to read until over halfway through and even then it wasn't gripping in the way her stories usually are. In fact as the book progressed I became increasingly annoyed at Cam.

I found the numerous storylines distracting in a way since I found they detracted from rather than added to the main storyline. Also the character of Cam was so self centered that I actually felt sorry for Allie even before he started cheating on her. I also found the way the affair between Mia and Cam started to be far fetched.

Arguably, it may take a stronger woman to stay with theor husband after an act of infidelity but it really frustrated me that she did. Especially since we knew that she was always the one who had loved him more.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Julia.
95 reviews2 followers
January 9, 2019
I don't know if I've started to outgrow Jodi Picoult books, or whether the most recent books I've read by her just haven't been as good as some of her best ones. I really loved a few of her slightly older books (My Sister's Keeper, Nineteen Minutes, Perfect Match), but I haven't been a big fan of her oldest books (Songs of the Humpback Whale) or her newest ones (House Rules, Lone Wolf). I really wasn't a big fan of Mercy, and here's why.

I couldn't really get into the Big Issue of this book. Jodi Picoult really likes tackling Big Issues - controversial topics and ethical that are usually tackled in big court cases. In this book, the Big Issue is presented by Jamie MacDonald, a bland thirty-something who really loves his wife Maggie. He loves Maggie so much, in fact, that when she gets terminal cancer and asks him to kill her, he does. Afterwards, he turns himself into police and awaits his trial.

It's an interesting premise, but Picoult just doesn't carry it off. The character of Jamie is poorly developed - his main character trait seems to just be how much he loves Maggie - and unlike in other Picoult books, when most of the characters are very invested in the Big Issue, the Big Issue here sometimes felt like a boring side plot. I felt like the polarized opinions of Jamie's actions were forced. Why does Cam hate Jamie so much, for example? At one point, a random man actually tries to kill Jamie because he thinks that Jamie's actions were so horrible, and I'm sorry, I just didn't buy that. I can't imagine anyone knowing the circumstances of Maggie's death and thinking that Jamie deserves to die for what he did. It felt like Picoult was trying to squeeze extra drama out of a situation that didn't really merit it. The Jamie plotline was, at times, semi-interesting, but I didn't feel particularly riveted while waiting for the final verdict, like I have with some of Picoult's other books. I just felt kind of mehh about the whole thing.

Jamie wasn't the only bland character. Graham, his defense attorney, is another shockingly weak character. All you ever really know about him is that he's very young, and that he's a lawyer. For one of the MAIN characters, there's not much to him.

And now, for what I hated most: Cam/Mia/Allie. Wow, what a mess. The really unfortunate thing is that I'm pretty sure that Cam and Mia were SUPPOSED to be sympathetic characters - Picoult pretty much never writes from the point of view of characters that readers aren't supposed to like, or at least understand. But I actually felt physically repulsed by Cam and Mia. There motivations and explanations for what they were doing made very little sense, or were never really clarified at all.

Cam is a professional douchebag. His life is SOOO HARD because it's his duty to be clan chief/police chief and he couldn't be a travel writer like he wanted and he's married to someone he doesn't like that much. First thing I didn't get - Cam is always whining about how he was forced into his current life, but he was never FORCED to marry Allie. That's why his behavior is so disgusting. Cam treats Allie like crap. He tunes her out when she talks, he refuses her sexual advances, he's never glad to see her when she surprises him at work, HE FORGETS VALENTINE'S DAY EVERY YEAR. He is a really terrible husband, even before the affair.

And the affair. So cringeworthy. The character of Mia was never really explained enough for me to feel any sympathy for her whatsoever, and I think this is due to error on Picoult's part. I mean, okay, so Mia comes to a new town, and a stranger, Allie, completely welcomes her with open arms, giving her a job and a place to stay, and generally just is REALLY nice to her. WITHOUT HESITATION (and this is where I think the book is really weak, because Mia doesn't seem to think very hard about the morality of what she does), she sleeps with Allie's husband the SECOND that Allie leaves town. Seriously, it's almost immediately. She then begins a passionate affair with Cam WHILE CONTINUING TO SEE AND WORK WITH ALLIE EVERY DAY. Repulsive. And not properly addressed by Picoult. Is it really possible that Mia works alongside Allie and DOESN'T feel extreme guilt? Or at least extreme resentment of Allie? The way Picoult writes it, Mia doesn't really feel much of anything at all when it comes to Allie. Sometimes she is a little nervous about being found out, and sometimes she gets a little FLICKER of jealousy when she sees Cam show affection to his wife, but that's it. And we're still supposed to like and understand Mia? The fact that she doesn't really ever think about what she's doing to Allie is both disturbing and infuriating. For God's sake, Cam and Mia have sex in Allie's bed and on the couch in her flower shop! And neither of them acknowledges or thinks about how sick that is. The way Picoult writes it, they don't even think about Allie at all in those moments.

I also just didn't really buy the love between Cam and Mia. I think it's supposed to be romantic, like they're soulmates who met at the wrong time. But the book doesn't pull it off. Toward the end of the book, Mia's just like, "We're soulmates and in love, but we just like the IDEA of each other, so I'm going to run away. Sorry I ruined your marriage!" It was just so stupid. Even more stupid is that Cam sees Mia as this wonderful anti-Allie who is so exotic and well-traveled, and in the end, it turns out that Mia just wants the exact same life that Cam and Allie already have. So no, they're not soulmates. If Cam had met Mia early in his life, he probably would have ended up with the EXACT same life that he already has, just with Mia instead of Allie. Ugh.

Also didn't buy that the second Mia leaves town, Cam suddenly magically realizes that Allie's actually been perfect all along and that he should appreciate her more! You've been lukewarm about your wife for this entire book. A few pages ago, you were planning to leave her for another woman. And now, you suddenly see how good you've had it all along? Not plausible.

And then ALLIE...don't even know what to say about Allie. She was the character I liked the most, I think, but I was so deeply frustrated by what she decides to do at the end of the book. She realizes that her husband has been lying and cheating in ADDITION to treating her like crap all the time. She (understandably) freaks out and finally stands up for herself for a little while. I was like, YES FINALLY. And then she just decides to take him back!! And Picoult writes like this is the most romantic thing in the world. NO. IT IS NOT ROMANTIC TO TAKE BACK YOUR CHEATING JERK HUSBAND, ESPECIALLY WHEN HE IS STILL IN LOVE WITH SOMEONE ELSE. Allie's just like, well now Cam appreciates me and we treat each other like equals! So it's okay! Ugh ugh ugh.

I also did NOT appreciate the scene when Jamie tells Allie to take Cam back because Jamie and Cam are best buds now and completely understand what the other one is going through. I'm sorry, but I don't see the connection between killing your sick wife who you are deeply in love with and begging your wife (who you kind of like, sometimes) to take you back after you cheated on her. Not comparable situations.

Another side note: I didn't like the weird Angus flashbacks to Scotland or whatever. What was that?! Weird and unnecessary, and didn't connect to anything else at all.

Basically, Picoult tried to write a book about the complicated nature of love, and for the most part, she failed. I understood the romantic nature of the Jamie/Maggie plotline, but the one the Cam/Mia/Allie was so devoid of romance and true love that it made me a little sick.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Michelle.
1,354 reviews124 followers
December 12, 2020
This is the story of Jamie who confesses to killing his wife, his terminally ill wife. I knew before I picked this one up that I was going to really enjoy this one as this is one of those topics that always has me sitting on the fence with indecision and as each chapter past – that’s exactly what happened.
Profile Image for Melodie.
589 reviews64 followers
November 16, 2015
I believe I read this book under false pretense. I thought the plot was dealing with the issue of euthanasia.In truth, that issue took a back seat to the shenanigans of the weak,ineffectual,selfish,hormone driven sheriff. Cameron Mac Donald is not only the sheriff of Wheelock, Massachusetts, he is also the laird of the clan that makes up a good deal of the population.
Married to Allie,who literally paves the way for him through married life, has an affair with of all people, his wife's assistant at the flower shop she owns. What?! And Allie is clueless, until she comes upon irrefutable evidence. Her resulting rage I applauded, but it wasn't enough for me to embrace her character.People who allow themselves to be doormats are just an anathema to me.
There were only three characters that I had any good feelings about and that was Jamie MacDonald,who killed his wife because she asked him to.The depth of love he felt for his wife and his resultant anguish tore at my heart.
I enjoyed Ellen MacDonald, Cameron's mother. Woman after my own heart, she has embraced her age and opened herself up to new/old ways of healing after loss.
And I absolutely loved Angus MacDonald, Cameron's great uncle.Without his classic pithy wit and pragmatic approach to life, I would not have finished this book.
It seemed like the murder and resulting trial were the subplot to the sad, sick tale of the MacDonalds and their marital woes. What a shame. The author had a real chance to shine a light on a very real issue of our time. She let it slip away.
Profile Image for April.
80 reviews2 followers
July 21, 2008
I really wanted to like this book. I've heard rave reviews about J.P. and this was my first read from this author. Things I liked: The parts that focused on Maggie were heartbreaking. Jamie is a likable guy forced to make a life-changing decision that no one should ever have to make. Allie comes into her own and realizes she's stronger than she thought she was. The allegory of how the title "Mercy" is used in different contexts for different characters. Things I didn't like and the reason for only 3 stars: Cam. Cam. Cam. He falls in love in what, 2 days? A love so strong that he cheats on his wife whom he has supposedly loved for 10 years? Only after his wife finds out does he realize that he's done something wrong, and still he never showed remorse, even as he was being taken back into the fray. At the end of the book, he still wants to be the big man with little wifey at home who cooks his food and cleans his house and lives to serve him. Ugh.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Sophie.
61 reviews18 followers
October 3, 2022
This book was one of the worst books I’ve read in a while. Usually, I find Jodi Picoult to be a good storyteller, but this time there was just no story to tell.

The plot supposedly revolves around the suicide/murder of a cancer patient, but it was really about how much of a prick Cameron is. He is the most egocentric character I’ve ever read about.

His wife Allie seems to be oblivious to the fact that she’s CONSTANTLY getting played by him. During this whole book, her only personality trait is being a pushover. Definitely not the character for me. And then there’s Mia, Cameron’s spineless mistress. Not only is she boring to read about, but she seems to have no morals whatsoever! Once again, not the type of character I usually appreciate.

This book took me weeks to get through, and I was glad to be rid of it once I was done.
Profile Image for Lisa.
148 reviews7 followers
December 19, 2008
I was not really a fan of this book. It could be so much better, IMO. The flashbacks to Scotland were strange and I found it dragged quite a bit. Certainly nowhere near my favourite of Picoult.
Profile Image for Suzzie.
908 reviews164 followers
March 5, 2018
One of my favorite earlier Picoult novels. This one covers mercy killing, which is such a controversial subject matter. But like any Picoult book, the supporting characters have their own plots going and boy do you get drawn into them. You think you are reading a book about mercy killings and then it becomes mercy killings, marriage, infidelity, forgiveness, etc. Picoult is a master at weaving in so many emotions and questions, leaving readers debating and thinking about the story long after putting the book up.

My quick and simple overall: touchy subject matter but a beautiful story about more than just mercy killing.
Profile Image for Mojo_Mama.
1,434 reviews619 followers
June 14, 2021
Jesus, fuck. This had everything going on. It was a Sydney Sheldon worthy saga.

I can’t even with the plot threads. There are a fuckton too many to cover in this review. While I appreciate the tapestry this author wove, I just kept waiting for all this random shit to come together and make a cohesive picture. There’s literally only so many pages of semi-relevant plot I can read before I start to scroll.

Everybody and their dog has a POV in this shit.
Like...for realz???

I hated the H from the beginning. He laid his issues on the h like she was too stupid and provincial to “get” him and was therefore part of the unwanted responsibility holding him back. I don’t think he even ever gave her a chance to know him before he fucked the OW. He cuts short the h’s attempts with a callousness that is cruel. And he never let her in throughout the entirety of the book. He isn’t redeemable because he didn’t give a flying fuck about the h in the first place. Then, in the end, he just wanted to “salvage what he could” with the h. What a fucking prince.

He kisses the OW the first time they are truly alone, fucks her sans condom the first night they are alone. With zero fucks given for the h. He pursued the OW the first time she fled and dragged her back into their sordid relationship. She broke it off both times. He was going to leave the h for her!!!

The kismet feeling between H/OW, who seemed to have dozens of moments while living in Europe in their youth they could’ve met, yet didn’t, made me feel this plot would’ve been better suited to H/h having destiny interfere on a cosmic level and bring OW/OM soulmates to them both with whom they move on to a better life.

As it is, the h thinks H/h have a 70/30 relationship balance. (One guess which half she is.) But the myriad of ways he is less than loving partner to her before he cheats makes her a sad character and him a giant douche who is at best apathetic, at worst resentful of the h. She’s his “regrets” whipping post.

But, honestly, where this rocked was the angst. Holy fuck, was it good. So often the complaint I have is the lack of understanding why the H’s cheat, or not having enough POV to see his reactions/actions with the OW, but, here, we discover he LOVES the OW. Like L-O-V-E-S her with a passion, clarity, and understanding he never ever had for the h. And I’m heartbroken because he never ever does. Poor h. We don’t even see them truly dealing with the affair. The book literally ends with them trying to figure out what the first step to reconciliation is.

I can’t end this without addressing the unsent letters. They were H to OW after the h discovers the affair. I’m devastated for the h. I don’t read this trope for irredeemable and unrepentant cheaters getting their cake and fucking it over again and again. I need the cheater to value what they had and work to be back in it’s happy glow. Definitely not yearning and mooning over their lover after the H/h reconciliation. One we never see happen on page and I doubt in it’s existence.

I HATED the writing quality. It was so dreamy and distant from the action I want to 1 star for that and for my LOATHING of the H and the doormat of the h. But, I couldn’t put this down, like at all. I read this until 5am then got up at 10AM, swilled some coffee, and started reading. That’s some 5 star shit right there. But the ending was such a fail I can barely see past 3 stars. My 4 stars is because I’ll think about this book for quite some time.

TW: besides the obvious...euthanasia. I watched my husband dying from terminal illness. Euthanasia would have been kinder than his violent suicide.
Profile Image for Holly.
58 reviews22 followers
October 9, 2010
When I began reading Mercy I had every intention of ripping Picoult's characters to shreds in this review. I just couldn't wrap my head around any of them, from Allie's self-esteem issues and emotional dependance on her husband to Cam's lack of concern for the woman he claimed to love and ego. And we mustn't forget the alduterous Mia who finds no qualms in going to work for a woman who opened up her home to her and then sleeping with that same woman's husband that night. While at one point or another I felt disgust for each of these characters, I realized they represent real people in society. Picoult writes each character and their flaws with such realism that not only do you believe them, but you find yourself intrinsically connected to them. You hate them and you love them.

Personally, I found myself completely and utterly disgusted during the adulterous scenes, so much in fact, my stomach litally twisted on itself. But that emotion is just another example of Picoult's exhaustive writing and the careful thought she puts into her storyline and characters.

In the end, this turned out to be one of my favorite Picoult books. You can visually see the characters growth by the last few chapters of the book. And the changes for some are remarkable, maybe even one or two I hadnt expected.

Once again Picoult successfully addressing a heated topic with grace and neutrality. Readers will leave this book questioning their own views on euthanasia and the ripple effects it can have on those left behind.
Profile Image for Heather .
79 reviews5 followers
July 7, 2009
Having read quite a few Picoult books, I would absolutely label myself a fan of her work. But this book just didn't do it for me. There were two main story lines: one involving an affair between two characters, and one involving a man who kills his wife because she is dying of a terminal illness. The latter plot is the more compelling one, but unfortunately it is the former one that takes over the majority of the novel. There are constant allusions to the fact that the characters know each other from some past life, but nothing ever comes of that, and that is a bit of a disappointment. The two plot lines are put together in a bit of a clunky way, and in the end and it almost seems as if you are reading two separate books instead of one book.

I was also heavily disappointed by the ending of the novel. I was fine with the lack of the classic Picoult twist. I was not fine with the decisions made by some of the characters. One character in particular seems to grow up so much, and change in an incredible way, and then the final decision she makes just doesn't match up to the person she becomes.

Normally, Picoult's books are the kind of books that I can't put down. This was not the case for me here. The last 100 or so pages, once the trial got underway, were interesting, but the rest of the book left much to be desired.
80 reviews
July 27, 2008
I could not put this book down- Jodi's writing is so deep and captivating that I found profound thoughts and insights on nearly every page. The story itself was ok, but what I liked about the book the most was how psychological it was- the insights and emotions of the characters, and how you could literally see through their eyes and understand their circumstances... thanks to Jodi. She's so poetic and uses the most amazing imagery to describe how someone is feeling, or what they are thinking.

The story revolves around Jamie, a man who deeply in love with his dying wife, kills her at her request. He turns himself in to his cousin Cam, the chief of police in Wheelock, MA. His story parallels many things that happen in Cam's life as his trial (for murdering his wife) progresses.

There are a few things that bothered me personally- the adultery for one thing. It tied into the story very well but for some reason I just got so angry and empathetic for the FAITHFUL spouse!!!

Also I felt like there should have been more of an ending.
Profile Image for BookNightOwl.
977 reviews174 followers
August 28, 2018
I’m trying to think about what I liked about this book 📖......not very much of nothing. All the characters had issues. I couldn’t stand them. Allie I thought was ok but she was naive and dumb. Cam was a jerk and very selfish. Jamie I couldn’t even imagine what he was thinking or how he thought it was okay to do what he did. The story dealt with issues I never read about and gets you thinking 🤔what would you do for love 💗. 2 1/2 ⭐️ ⭐️
Profile Image for Milissa.
173 reviews2 followers
November 5, 2013
So so so disappointed with this book. The book wasn't really about mercy/euthanasia, that was merely a periphery subplot. The book was mostly about Cam, the selfish & immature police chief. I really disliked Cam's character...but I kept reading...waiting for the "mercy" plot line. The "mercy" plot did not surface until almost the end of the book. Maybe Picoult didn't have enough substance to write a whole book about euthanasia, so she wrote a random book about Cam with the euthanasia subplot.? This book just didn't come together for me.

I even found myself annoyed with the language. Most overused phrase..."- shook his/her head." Most overused words...murmured, simply. Every conversation seemed to be described with 1 or more characters "shaking their head" as they spoke. Simply was the favorite adverb and murmured was the favorite speech descriptor. On occasion, they muttered, but mostly they murmured. After a while, I found it funny.

There was so much potential with this book. The euthanasia storyline is fascinating. Considering how well Picoult handled other controversial topics (My Sister's Keeper, Handle with Care), I expected more.
Profile Image for Cc.
1,015 reviews125 followers
November 9, 2020
I'm afraid I have to update. My tolerance and love for angst has grown a LOT during the last few years. So what bothered me then, well................now I love. My early reviews of cheating books need to be clarified. So, clarifying. We all change and stretch, get bored with the same ole same ole and then learn to appreciate good writing.

I can't take her books. I know she says they're not romance, they're chick lit, but whatever. I can never get over the feeling that Picoult hates her heroines. And this book prove my theory, big time.
Profile Image for Camille.
166 reviews
June 12, 2021
I'm giving this 4.5 solid stars based on my internal angst meter, and my almost compulsive need to Finish The Book, despite the fact that I have homework pouring out of every orifice and more work-work on my plate than I can hope to complete in a reasonable amount of time. For those considering the audiobook version, my walking pace increased significantly as I listened to this book!

This book is dated. It was written in the early very aughts about events that occurred in the mid-'90s. That means that communication looked very different than our cell-phone-infused lives. Disappearing with a side piece for hours at a stretch was a lot easier to pull off when not tethered to a phone/tracking device 24-7. I did not like the Hero and honestly, that didn't change throughout the book. What a weasel. I also didn't like the OW and felt absolutely no sympathy for her. But. I also didn't like the damn heroine! I can stomach that kind of blind, star-struck devotion in historical romances when women were property and had so few opportunities for autonomy, so they may as well swoon for their Hero-Saviors. I do not cotton to that same kind of wishy-washy behavior in "modern" women. I struggled with that. Yet, I saw the most growth in her of all the characters, and ultimately, she made a decision about Cam that she could live with. Cam was going to suffer the repercussions of his choices for the rest of his life, although I agree with some other reviewers that if Mia appeared in the future, they'd make the most of that encounter! And how about that epic yardsale?!?! The book was worth it just for that!

I deducted half a point for the quasi-PNR features; those just didn't really mesh with the whole story to me. But since they weren't huge swaths of the book, I could move past them. I enjoyed remembering the uproar around euthanasia that so colored the news for years; that little exercise reminded me that some things change and some things largely stay exactly the same! Finally, where in the hell was the small town gossip network?! NO WAY could a police chief behave so badly and not get busted by nosy townsfolk. Anybody who grew up in a small-ish town can attest to that reality. Despite its flaws, I know I will reread (or re-listen) to this again because it's that good.

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this ride even if I wanted to grab Cam by the short and curlies and give him a couple of hard shakes.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for April.
2,101 reviews950 followers
April 27, 2009
The book is about a man who "mercy-kills" his wife who has cancer. It's also about the man's cousin, Cam and his wife Allie as well as a selfish vagaband, Mia.
Basically, I felt really uncomfortable throughout the whole book. Adultery is never okay. If there is something irrepairable in your marriage or relationship, break it off don't have an affair. I felt Piccoult was trying to romantcize the cheating which really bothered me. I thought Mia was a bitch, pardon my language, but when you go into someone's shop and they automatically give you a job, you do not proceed to have sex with their husband. Furthermore, Cam went away for the weekend with Mia on a weekend which means a lot to his wife.

I just wanted to throw the book out the car window into the tires of on-coming traffic.

This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Tmstprc.
1,068 reviews85 followers
March 9, 2022
Reread 3/9/2022

There is so much to take in with this book. On this read I was more focused on the euthanasia plot than the cheating husband subplot.

I found some discussion questions for the book. One is "who is the most selfish character in the story?" And on this read, I realized, that by far, Maggie is the most selfish character. It's a tough point to make. She's suffered tremendously, she's dead, but she was so selfish. She commits suicide by husband. Asking her husband to kill her is horribly cruel. She knew he would do anything for her, and he proves this. So brutal, so sad. While alleviating her suffering, his will continue the rest of his life, made harder by her request.

The trial? Brutal and honestly, I'm not sure how realistic in 1995 it would have been. He is beyond sympathetic, but this feels more about the author's feelings about euthanasia. If this were real life, guilty or not guilty? I'm just not sure.

The Cam and Mia subplot is curious. Cam and Mia, also selfish characters, fulfilling their desires over everything else.

Part 3 of the story is interesting. It's Jamie's trial, but it's also the fallout of Cam and Mia's affair. Allie has already discovered they were having an affair that lasted months--two people she trusted. Both are weak characters, their relationship was always going to burnout. She was never staying and he was never leaving. From his inner thoughts after Allie admits she doesn't want a divorce: "He was surprised to realize he was not wishing she was Mia. He looked at his wife and wished in that moment none of this had ever happened."

Through her support of Jamie, Allie has so much growth, but is it enough? Supporting him made her stronger, but why would she be willing to stay with Cam? Once Mia is gone and it's obvious Cam isn't going to leave, the balance of power in Allie and Cam's relationship shifts drastically to Allie. Cam isn't happy about the changes, wants the old Allie back, but he accepts them. He's never going to leave, even with all of his inner musing or journaling to Mia, he's NEVER going to leave Allie.

But what does Allie get by staying? Children with a man she can't trust. He loves Allie, misses Mia and there is no redemptive arc. I'm not even sure she forgives him.

Jamie with all his heartbreak has a more realistic chance at having a happy life. And there's this juxtaposition between Jamie and Cam. Jamie, the life taking, loving, supportive husband, and Cam, the "upstanding" police chief, cheating husband.

4 Cam is still not forgivable or redeemable stars

Original reviews: Well written, emotional, angsty. Jamie and Maggie’s story is heartbreaking, Allie is likable, Mia not so much, and Cam is probably one of the least likable heroes I’ve come across. He’s neither forgivable nor redeemable, that’s saying something. You’re left wondering if Mia hadn’t of left, would he have abandoned Allie.

Love how Allie reacted, selling everything he owned was a rather creative way of making a point.
Profile Image for Ashley Daviau.
1,757 reviews753 followers
July 2, 2016
I thoroughly enjoyed this book! I had forgotten what an emotional punch Picoult's books had. The subject of euthanasia has always intrigued me and so I was totally drawn in by this story. I also really enjoyed the other plot lines and how everything worked out in the end. I'm always a sucker for happy endings!
Profile Image for Krystin.
531 reviews43 followers
April 6, 2016
I used to love how Picoult's books were capable of invoking strong emotions within me but now all I see is melodrama. Maybe it was because I was still young when I read them and my emotional range was limited. Maybe I've finally grown out of them or maybe Mercy is just the exception because I found this book to be fucking atrocious.

Mercy puts the reader in the position to contemplate whether mercy killing is justified. Jamie MacDonald killed his wife, Maggie, who was already in considerable amount of pain due to cancer. Jamie only did it because Maggie asked him to and now he is being charged for first degree murder. Cam and Allie MacDonald have been married and living in Wheelock for a good part of their lives. The sudden arrival of Mia Townsend threatens the foundation of their marriage.

I'm just going to come right out and say it. I hated the characters and I failed to see any sense in the plot.

Let's examine the plot for a second (could be spoilery from here on). Mercy killing or euthanasia is a very compelling subject. In this case, Jamie confessed to the police after killing his wife. I mean, if you're going to feel guilty about it later then you shouldn't have done it in the first place. Sure, he did it out of "love", but confessing means he'd felt that he had done something wrong which very much defeats the whole purpose of euthanasia.

The characters, god help them all. Cam MacDonald is the most conceited piece of shit ever. He doesn't seem to appreciate his wife even in the beginning. Then he starts an affair with Mia Townsend, a woman whom with he has an instant connection, without even once thinking of what it would to his marriage. He was determined to leave his wife but not before Mia leaves him for good. Oh, poor Cam, abandoned by his mistress and now his wife is leaving him too and what does he do? He tries to get back into his wife's good graces and patch things up with her and all the while writing some weird ass love notes to Mia. What the hell?

Cam's wife, Allie MacDonald really lost me at the end. She devotes her goddamn life to her husband, making sure everything is up to his satisfaction. When she did find out about the affair, she sells all of Cam's stuff in a yard sale and leaves town. It would've been beautiful and glorious if her story ended there but no. She comes back. She accepts her cheating ass husband back into her life. And she forgives that little shit. What the fuck? What kind of twisted perception of love is that?

Another character I don't get is Maggie MacDonald, the supposed victim of the killing. Oh, honey. If you want to end your pain and suffering and your husband isn't up to it and you fucking know he's going to be wrecked by it, please save him the unnecessary guilt and do it yourself. Please don't subject your husband to something that will scar him for the rest of his life because it is an "act of love". That's just selfish.

So, you see, I don't understand any of these characters' actions at all. Put myself in their shoes I cannot because I just don't see myself or anyone ever being this irrational and ridiculous.
Profile Image for Alaina.
6,290 reviews215 followers
January 14, 2018
I'm kinda all over the place after reading this book - so, I hope this review makes sense.

At first, I didn't like Cameron or Allie. Then after Allie realized her husband is lower than the scum of the earth because he was cheating on her with her assistant, I liked her. I loved her rage. Hell, I would've done even more damage.

Out of the whole MacDonald family, I disliked Cameron the most. Sorry NOT SORRY.
I liked Jamie even though he killed his wife. But he only did that because she asked him to. If that's not love then I don't know what is. Then there's uncle Angus ( I MEAN I LOVE THAT NAME! ) and I just enjoyed the heck out of his character.

In the end, the MacDonald family is a hot mess. I liked the book but it wasn't my absolute favorite from Jodi. I feel like I wanted more from this book.
Profile Image for Melissa.
21 reviews6 followers
April 18, 2009
This book starts with a man killing his wife because she is dying, very painfully, and he doesn't want her to suffer. A good and mostly believable storyline. Where the author lost me was with the sherrif and his complete lack of regard for his wife. I may be a prude when it comes to marriage, but I don’t find anything in the least romantic about infidelity. If your wife isn’t your “soul mate” then end that relationship first.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
6 reviews
October 20, 2021
The book and storyline are good. The topic itself, of euthanasia, is on point, especially in today's social climate. I liked Jaime and Maggie and their story. They loved each other, very much. But, as Jaime said, one always loves more than the other. In their case, it was he. As interesting as their plot line was, I don't think Jodi Picoult did it justice. Cam's, Allie's and Mia's "love-triangle" took over Jaime's and Maggie's story-line and overwhelmed me with the angst.

I was so angry with Cam and Mia. How could they? Not only did their Love affair start immediately, it was all consuming and they were cruel in their actions. It was within two days of seeing her, that Cam kissed Mia, in his own home! Doesn't think anything of it. It was as if it was his right, that he could do as wished, because all of a sudden, he had this spark with stranger, and to hell with everyone else.

Then Cam ignored Allie whenever he wanted, ignored any overtures of affection, even when he wanted to have sex. Even then, she was the one who made overtures and he would either accept, or just pretend that he was asleep. He went out of his way to be dismissive, even before she came to bed, to start pretending that he was tired. But, when he was aroused and wanted to have sex with Allie, his lovemaking was explosive, forceful, as if he had to be with her immediately, and then when it was over, he immediately got up and get this:

- he rushed into the shower to wash himself off. Allie even asked herself, where did he think she had been, that he had to rinse her off him immediately? As cruel as this was, further insult was that the also rinsed his mouth, using mouthwash!

I thought men liked the taste of their women on their lips! Not Cam! His cruelty was brutal in its obliviousness. He didn't think he was insulting in his actions. Yet, when he was with Mia, he spent hours with her, their bodies together, not caring that she "was wet and open" and smearing him with her "juices." The fact that Cam could so casually rinse out his mouth after making love to Allie, the fact that he pretends to be tired rather than apologizing profusely on the day that he snapped at her to leave him alone, when all she was doing was asking if he felt unwell, that he didn't even apologize when he ripped up the picture of him and Jaime that Allie had had made, but rather tried to make love, shows his extreme selfishness and callousness.

That he could make love to Mia in Allie's shop and then ask her to come to his home, Allie's home, sleep in her bed, shower in her shower, cook in her kitchen and only wonder when the smell of Mia would wear off???? What kind of unfeeling monster does this? That he can go away on a weekend that is so important to Allie? And, all this, because he meets some strange woman who seems to be "free and adventurous." someone who drifted from place to place? Someone he read so wrongly???

She snoops around Allie's home and isn't even embarrassed when Cam catches her! Cam isn't upset when he catches her, either. In fact, he is fine with her going through his stuff and finding his secret stash of travel magazines, but he hated even the idea of Allie knowing about his dreams.

Mia wasn't really a free spirit. She just had no place, no home to go to, no people. So, she was searching for a home, and she wanted what Allie had, what Cam had with Callie. She did some questionable things while traveling, looking for her "place." I don't know if anyone caught it, but when they are talking about Turkey, she thinks back to the "small villa she had rented for a month, where she entertained rich Arab men as an escort for a month, all she could bear." So, she was a prostitute, as well.

So, she is an ex prostitute, traveling wherever, to find a place to call home. She settles on the husband of her very kind boss, and then is resentful of her boss actually showing affection towards Cam. And, Cam the asshole, makes sure to quickly dismiss any signs of affection shown by Allie towards him, as when she touches his neck, where he stands up and takes her hand and then drops it to move away. In front of Mia! Because, while Allie may have claim to "his name or his house," Mia has claim to his "emotions and memories and the place on his neck."

Or, when Allie puts a little holly branch into his buttonhole, he removes it right away. Whereas, he kept the little flowers and notes that Mia gave him "close to his heart, all day."

Not once does Mia show any concern or guilt in having an affair with her boss's husband, in her boss's shop, even in her boss's bed! She wanted to play house with Cam in Allie's house, the two of them didn't recognize the particular evilness of this! All Cam wanted was her smell to stay as long as possible! All she wanted was to play house with him.

Allie? What can I say about Allie? She was a kind, sweet, generous person, who loved too much. Who gave too much. Who forgave too much. She needed to tell Cam off many times. But, okay, I accepted that she didn't feel that she could call him out for his ordinary, everyday cruelties, because she had accepted them and she knew she was in his life.

But, what about after finding out about the affair? Why be so strong in selling everything, leaving, even having a one-night stand, only to come back to him? Only to tell him that she will take him back? What wife who just found out that her husband has been unfaithful for weeks and months, would take him back into her home and her bed within days? She could have made an effort, kicked him out, or even stayed away herself, even if she didn't know what she wanted to do ultimately. No, its not showing mercy, Ms. Picoult! It is showing insanity. Women, even women in the 90's are/were stronger than this! Allie should have kicked him out, and even if had not filed for divorce, then definitely make him grovel. In fact, she should have lived out HIS DREAM and traveled around the world, before coming back. Had relationships in which SHE was a priority, not fourth or fifth or never.

I seriously think some writers absolutely hate their heroines. Or, they misunderstand "giving grace" or "forgiveness," doesn't mean that women who have been cheated on or abused, should roll over to take more of the abuse.

I also didn't understand the ending? Frankly, I want to think that when Allie said, "So," and "set them free," it meant that she was literally setting them free of each other, that she takes off and lets Cam live his miserable life in his miserable little town, pining away for his prostitute mistress, and knowing that he no longer had the respect of his people and family.

I want Allie to have a rich life, where she meets likeminded man, who loves her absolutely.

WTF? It wasn't even 2 days before Cam started whining that she was being mean to him and not talking or listening, or my favorite, "you have to give me a break. You have to give me some credit, here." WTF????????? How can any writer abuse her heroine so?

Actually, I know- its when writers have no respect for their heroines, and in some cases, their heroes.

Other points- It was stupid of Jaime to tell and encourage Allie to take back Cam. To hell with that. Jaime should have been telling her to take off and never let Cam know where she was.

I hated the fact that Ellen, Cam's mother knew, but said nothing to Allie.

I particularly hated the letters Cam wrote to Mia, whiny pathetic letters, showing that he was still in love with Mia and would always be in love with her. That she was always going to be a part of him, no matter what, while Allie was going to be just his bedmate and housekeep, Mia was going to be, always, the love of his life.

This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Ayunda.
444 reviews27 followers
June 30, 2017
Mercy is a novel that rings Jodi Picoult: a novel about love, about death, about the grey area between what is right and what is wrong. It's set in a small town and starts when Cameron MacDonald, the town's chief police encountered his cousin, a man who claimed that he killed his wife out of mercy. The story revolves around the trial to prove whether the cousin deserves to die or be imprisoned for his love of his dying wife, and also between Cam and his wife Allie's relationship. It's a deep and moving story that teaches us a lot about decisions and relationships.

This is my third Jodi Picoult book. I looooved My Sister's Keeper her most famous novel, and since then I knew that Picoult has written more books, but never got the urge to pick them up. I don't really know what made me pick up this one above the others, most probably because it has good ratings on Goodreads as well.

I really enjoyed reading this novel. It's filled with twists and turns, but slow and deep ones, unlike the action-filled books other people preferred. The plot is interesting, I really liked the two different plotlines going on in the story. I really liked how Cam and Allie's relationship plotline evolves. It feels so real and deep and makes me think about my own relationship. It was also interesting to read about the moral concept behind Jamie's action, and his trial. We learn to like him as a character, and you can tell that he loves his wife very much. So it really puts us in the view of 'what would you do if you were him?' and personally, I would never kill my partner/lover if he was dying and wanted me to kill him.

But other aspects also rose up from this book, like the one that was repeated several times throughout the story about how in a relationship, there's always one partner who loves the other one more than the other, maybe it's 60-40, maybe it's 70-30, but it's never 50-50. And I sort of understand that, but I feel like the two couples in this story were very different. Though we can clearly see from the two characters, who loved their partners more, their actions were different, showing that in a relationship it's definitely way more than two people loving each other. Other aspects were also discussed here: what happens if your wife with whom you've been married to for years, is actually not the one, or what if you love her and care for her, and know that she's your safe place, but what if there's someone else out there, someone you love more deeply than your wife and someone who is maybe better for you than her? It's all very confusing and there is never a right answer, and the situation is always different for every person. There were so many things to think about in this book, from euthanasia, to infidelity, and it's so well thought-out.

The characters in this novel are also wonderful. They feel very real and very relatable, and also very adult. I don't know why I thought so, but it's probably because they're all waaay older than I am now, most of them married and have steady jobs, etc. I loved Allie. Her character was meh in the beginning, but as I got to know her I began to like her more, and her development or should we say change in her personality by the last parts of the book was wonderful to read about. On the other hand, Cam was not a very lovable character for me. His decisions and his actions did not reflect to show him as a good person that I'd like, let alone love. However the other characters that weren't the main characters are also wonderful and well constructed. I liked Jamie, and I liked the lawyer and the mother as well. They're all very fun to read.

One tip I found when reading this book is not to read the illegally downloaded ebook of this book. My edition was a little messed up, sometimes some sections would just end in the middle and change to another scene, and then would come back to the first section abruptly. It quite messes with the mood and flow of the story and sometimes even makes me get the wrong idea or have to think for a moment to fit the conversation into the scene. So it sort of bugged me throughout the book, but overall it was a very enjoyable read. I had a great time reading it, though I didn't cry the way I sobbed in her other book. The story was great and made you really think. I also think the content was a little to mature and adult for me, in the sense that I have never experienced what the character experienced, like marriage and death, but it didn't stop me from relating to the characters and loving them.

So overall an enjoyable book. Can't wait to read more from Picoult!

Did you ever look down at yourself and realize that finally you had it all? Did you ever feel that everything was so right in your life you'd have nowhere to go but downhill? (Loc. 423)

'You know it's never fifty-fifty in a marriage. It's always seventy-thirty, or sixty-forty. Someone falls in love first. Someone puts someone else up on a pedestal.' (Loc. 1317)

The first person you fell in love with stole your heart. The first person you made love with stole your soul. And if these were one and the same, you were damned. (Loc. 5590)
Profile Image for Maria.
920 reviews104 followers
June 20, 2017
O pior livro da Jodi
Já tinha o livro Compaixão da Jodi Picoult desde que saiu em maio de 2010.
Por nenhuma razão em concreto ele foi ficando na estante e a leitura era sempre adiada até que surgiu o projecto desenvolvido pela Elisa do blogue "A Miúda Geek", a Dora do canal "Books & Movies" e a Isa do "Jardim de Mil Histórias" "Um ano com a Jodi".

Mas, e apesar de gostar muito da autora, esta foi uma leitura decepcionante. Não houve uma pessoa no grupo que gostasse da história e da forma como foi desenvolvida. E a história até que começou bem.

James MacDonald, primo do comandante da polícia de uma pacata cidade do Massachusetts, revela que assassinou a mulher que se encontra ao seu lado na viatura.

Sofrendo de um cancro em fase terminal, Maggie pede ao grande amor da sua vida, o seu marido, para que acabe com a sua vida. O que não ficou bem claro é porque é que Maggie não se suicidou, já que tinha possibilidade de o fazer, e colocou nas mãos do marido a sua vida, e a probabilidade de o levar à cadeia.

Opinião completa em: http://marcadordelivros.blogspot.pt/2...
Profile Image for Gabrielė|Kartu su knyga.
516 reviews257 followers
April 13, 2018
“Nuosprendis iki gyvos galvos,kai tavo pasaulis apsiribos kalėjimu,ar kalėjimu tapęs pasaulis,jei nuosprendis bus tiesiog gyventi”. Dar viena daug emocijų sukėlusi Jodi knyga ♥️

Labai stipri šios rašytojos knyga. Privertė susimąstyti,ar gali mylėti taip,jog norėdamas sumažinti mylimojo kančias ryžtumeisi atimti gyvybę? O jei ne - vadinasi myli nepakankamai? Jautri,skausminga istorija apie besąlygišką meilę,atsidavimą kitam šimtu dešimt procentų.. Ši istorija dar kurį laiką išliks mano atmintyje tikrai.. Vertinčiau 5/5 ⭐️
Profile Image for Alexandria.
457 reviews1 follower
February 10, 2017
This book should've been called "Selfish," or "I'm a horribly insensitive person," or, well, you get the idea. I generally enjoy the formulaic writing style of Jodi Picoult. She takes an ethical dilemma, throws in a court case and sympathetic, complicated characters, and that's the story.

In "Mercy," the ethical issue should have been euthanasia. Jamie MacDonald kills his wife, who is painfully suffering from terminal cancer, because she asks him to do so. Instead, Picoult spends most of her time focused on the relationship between Cam MacDonald, the town's police chief, and his wife, Allie MacDonald.

Cam is not a likable character. He is selfish and short-sighted, and I could hardly stand to read the scenes where he is unreasonably cruel to his wife. Her fault? Her world revolves solely around Cam. She treats him as if he created the sun and set the stars in an attempt to ensure herself of his affections and attention. Although I pity Allie, she is desperate, and it is unclear why the pair married in the first place.

Cam's problem is that as police chief of little ol' Wheelock, a town settled by Scottish families over which Cam still is technically clan chief, he longs to experience the new and unfamiliar. Allie loves the familiar routine of Wheelock. But when Allie's world-weary new assistant comes to Wheelock, Cam is smitten. I felt physically pained by the cruel scenes between Cam and Allie's assistant, Mia, and I can't say I found either character sympathetic or well-developed.

Some people might think I'm missing the point, that both relationships (between Jamie and his wife and Cam and Allie) showed the importance of mercy and forgiveness. That's true, but neither the characters or the plot are well-enough developed to profoundly impact the reader.

"Mercy" could have been another great Picoult book, but instead, the story fell felt by not telling much of a story at all. The most interesting — and relatable — characters weren't given the time they deserved, and the ethical issue was sloppily "solved" in a quick court case. I was disappointed by "Mercy," and I would not recommend it for readers new to Picoult because the book is certainly not reflective of her talents.
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