Change of Heart

Jodi Picoult


Micheal: Micheal is one of the main characters in my book, Change of Heart. He is a college student who has to decide whether a man will be sentenced to death or will spend the rest of his life in prison. In New Hampshire there hasn't been a death penalty in fifty-eight years so this had become the talk of the town. The law office found him writing a paper for his math class and thought of him as a perfect candidate for the jury because they knew college students haven't eaten a real meal in weeks and barely had time to read the paper or talk to people about what was going on in his area. But fast forward 11 years and he has become a pastor, who still feels guilt over sentencing Shay to die by lethal injection. He goes to talk to Shay but then strange things begin to happen. Shay performs things that Jesus did in his lifetime, like turning water into wine, healing the sick and bringing the dead back to life. Throughout his time of visiting Shay he questions if he really is Jesus and why he's in the body of a killer. After Shay was killed Michael looked through his items that he had willed to him. There was a picture of him and his grandfather that was stolen from him, way before the trial. It was wrapped in Thomas's gospel, the writing Shay recited.

June: June is a woman who lost her daughter and her husband in an incident where a man, Shay Bourne, came into the house and murdered the two people while the woman wasn't home. She constantly feels lonely and is seriously mourning the loss of her family members while knowing justice lies in the hands of 12 stangers. She also has another daughter who is in the hospital, fighting a rare disease, guranteeing her death. While she awaits one daughers death she is trying to deal with the other. 11 years go by and she is asked to visit the man who killed her family. He offers his heart to her daughter, Claire but at first she turned down the offer. As soon as she realized that his offer would keep her daughter alive she accepted. Since she was letting her daughter use Shays heart she was scared her daughter would end up like him, a murder.

Shay Bourne: Shay Bourne is a murder of two innocent people and possibly, a rapist. He fooled the father and husband into thinking he was coming to fix there bathroom pipes. They have plenty of evidence on him, showing he committed the murder but still has the rights to have a trial. The scrawny, average looking man had surprised all the jury and even the people who were in his tier with his appearence because he didn't look capable of doing such a thing. He was also a quiet and pollite guy making it even harder to see him as a murder. Although when time passed the truth came out and he began to show a side of him people didn't know. He performed acts only Jesus had been known to do. One day he over heard that Claire needed a heart, and immediately said he needed to meet with the warden so he could tell him his request. Soon his lawyer had gotten him that right and even got him to reveal the real story. He was not the rapist, but Michael, the step father and husband of June had been. He walked into him raping Elizabeth and began to fight with him, trying to get his gun from him. The reason Elizabeth died was because a stray bullet hit her, not because Shay was a murder. He admitted to killing Michael because he said people like him shouldn't be alive. So in the end he was killed, but by being hung so that he could still give his heart to Claire so he could redeem himself.


"I told you that the first day I met you. I didn't want you to save me. I wanted you to save my heart." (Picoult 379) This quote came from almost the ending of the story, where the truth was revealed. He's not a cold blooded killer. This time in the story Shay is telling Maggie that his life isn't very meaningful and throughout his time he did nothing but hurt people, so it's a good thing he's going to die. All he wants to do is save a life, the thing he couldn't do 11 years earlier.


A theme in my book was forgiveness. Whether it be Shay accepting what he did or June, letting go her vengeance toward Shay for what he did in the past. Even the other characters were dealing with internal issues throughout the book. No matter what character was displaying forgiveness it hinted to you that another character would start to develop just like the one you were reading about. It would even make you think about your life and how you could demonstrate forgiveness.


Change of Heart is a book filled with characters and different point of views, making you feel so many different emotions each individual chapter. There are 4 characters who narrate the story, Michael, June, Maggie and Lucious. The characters wrote about when the trial began and then wrote in a perspective of 11 years later because Shay is killed 11 years after the trial. Shay is a murder that is facing a death penalty and Michael is one of the people choosing if he will live or not. June is the wife and mother of the people who were murdered by Shay. Maggie is Shay's lawyer who feels misplaced and isn't pleased with herself because of her mother. Finally, Lucious is another prisoner in the prison, who is dying of AIDS. In the end of the trial Shay was sentenced to death and was put in the New Hampshire state prison, where he met Lucious. Shortly after Shay arrived at the jail, things started to happen that only one person has been known to do. Water in the pipes turned into wine, a bird was brought back to life, and the answer was found to a child's illness. And he would ask to see the warden everyday, even though everyone knew it would never happen. But after many days of asking Shay was granted a visit with the warden and he told her he wanted to donate his heart to Claire, the little girl he left fatherless. Shay wasn't acting the way a murder should and Michael had heard about it. In that 11 years Michael became a priest and the guilt he felt about sentencing Shay to death grew, so he became his spiritual leader. He visited frequently and started to get close to the dead man. Michael realized how important this donation was to him so they arranged a meeting with June. At first she declined his offer because of all the vengeance in her heart but soon realized she wanted her daughter to stay alive. Even her agreeing to this wasn't enough to make it happen though, the judge wasn't allowing it. They began trying and in that time Shay managed to heal Lucious's AIDS, filling people with hope. Maggie, his lawyer soon discovered Shay's rights and took action, trying to grant him his last wish. Soon Shay was killed and donated his heart to Claire. His heart was ironically perfect for her. They shared the same blood type, their muscle tissue didn't clash and his heart was too small for him, although it was completely healthy. Claire lived because of Shay and June knew she couldn't hate him for that, but she was still a little uncomfortable knowing a killer's heart was beating inside of her daughter. People looked to see if she possessed any of the same traits as Shay, and Grace, Shays sister, noticed she had the same power as Shay.