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Mercy

Mercy

  • reading group guide
  • bestseller
What would you do for someone you love? Would you lie? Would you leave? Would you kill? These are just some of the questions characters must face in this compelling novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Jodi Picoult about two cousins driven to extremes by the power of love.

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?

Woven tight with passion and a fast-paced plot, Mercy explores some of today’s most highly charged emotional and ethical issues as it draws toward its stunning conclusion. Long after you have turned the last page, you’ll still be thinking about this rich novel, as well as questioning your own beliefs about love and loyalty.
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  • Pocket Books | 
  • 512 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781476796000 | 
  • August 2014
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Reading Group Guide

Mercy
Readers Guide
Questions and Topics for Discussion
1. To what degree is the title a metaphor for this novel?
2. Are Jamie's actions justified? What about Cam's? Allie's?
3. Who is the author of the "notes" between the chapters? Whom are these snippets addressing? Did you believe this throughout the book?
4. Jamie says, "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. Someone works very hard to keep things rolling smoothly; someone else sails along for the ride." Do you agree?
5. In what ways does Mia's memory of her parents' love influence her relationship with Cam?
6. Who is the most selfish character? The most selfless?
7. In what ways are Cam and Jamie similar?
8. How is Cameron MacDonald like his namesake ancestor? How is he different? To what extent does the Scottish history of this clan affect his decisions?
9. What is the significance of the moments in Mercy that are magical or somewhat unreal?
10. There is a catch-22 in Mia and Cam's relationship: They have each fallen in love with a person who would no longer exist if they were to run off together. Do you agree or disagree with this statement, and why?
11. Is there a hero in this book?
12. What attracts Allie to Jamie? To Cam? What attracts Mia to Cam, and Cam to Mia? Do you believe that we try to find in the see more

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About the Author

Jodi Picoult
Photograph © Adam Bouska

Jodi Picoult

Jodi Picoult received an AB in creative writing from Princeton and a master’s degree in education from Harvard. The recipient of the 2003 New England Book Award for her entire body of work, she is the author of twenty-one novels, including the #1 New York Times bestsellers House Rules, Handle With Care, Change of Heart, and My Sister’s Keeper, for which she received the American Library Association’s Margaret Alexander Edwards Award. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and three children. Visit her website at JodiPicoult.com.

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