Jodi Picoult’s Second Glance is a stalwart addition to Picoult’s ever expanding collection of bestselling novels, and from reading it isn’t difficult to see exactly how Picoult has earned such accolades. Picoult writes from a question, a ‘what would you do?’ a simple formula, but an effective one. The novel is far from simple, however.
Set in the sleepy town of Comtosook, Vermont, former ghost hunter (or so he would like to believe) Ross Wakeman moves in with his sister, Shelby and her son Ethan. Ethan is a long sufferer from Xeroderma pigmentosum, a disorder which creates an increased sensitivity to UV light. However, when ghostly occurrences strike the town, Ross finds himself roped into investigating. The plot takes paths you would not necessarily expect, jumping in and out of the history of the town and its people. What originally sets itself out as an emotional but romantic novel turns into something of great depth.
What I find interesting about Second Glance is the sheer amount of detail Picoult goes into with her research – the book encompasses a phenomenal mixture of complicated details, from police procedure when dealing with forensic analysis, an antiquated programme of eugenics in fifties Vermont, the technical side of ghost hunting and as I previously mentioned, Ethan’s XP. This fantastic level of detail really makes the book shine, and gives it a quality which fits so well into Picoult’s well-established voice. Picoult’s extensive detail in her plotline and settings also align with the intense emotional detail her characters. Picoult’s characters often have gone through, or will go through intense emotional trauma thought her novels. Ross’s late girlfriend Aimee died in a car accident while Ross was attempting to rescue the victim in the other car. There are significant moments which seem at first insignificant, and each character appears to be intertwined in a web which connects every detail of their lives, and this is carefully revealed though Picoult’s calculated style of writing. Jodi Picoult has been writing for years, and has developed her style. Second Glance is the absolute prime of this style, and is a truly fantastic read.