Monday, February 28, 2011

Sing You Home; Jodi Picoult

Title: Sing You Home
Author: Jodi Picoult
Publication Year: 2011 
Publisher: Atria
Edition: ARC
Source: Publisher (ARC)
Date Completed: 2/27/2011
Setting: Rhode Island
Rating: 5/5 stars
Recommend: Yes

Jodi Picoult is one author well known for writing about controversial issues. Her latest novel, Sing You Home, is sure to evoke strong emotions among some of her readers. The novel encompasses such diverse issues as, gay rights, evangelical Christian beliefs, in vitro fertilization, suicidal teens, divorce, discrimination and even music therapy. The essence of the story is told in alternating chapters from the points of view of three primary characters.

Zoe Baxter, has longed to be a mother. She's approaching 40 years of age, has been married to Max for nearly 10 years, and the couple has been unsuccessful at bringing a child of their own into the world. Zoe has had several miscarriages, and her last pregnancy resulted in a stillborn birth. After undergoing IVF (in vitro fertilization), spending thousands of dollars, and experiencing one disappointment after another, Zoe still has not given up hope. Her husband Max, on the other hand, is through.

Max is a recovering alcoholic. He cannot endure the thought of more attempts at conception, and he wants out. Max files for divorce and he slowly slides back into drinking once again.  When he is involved in an automobile crash while under the influence, he soon realizes he needs to change his life.  He moves in with his brother Reid and his wife. Reid suggests that he come to their church, The Eternal Glory Church, and listen to their pastor, Clive Lincoln speak.  The pastor happens to be a radical fundamentalist with an anti-gay agenda.

Meanwhile, Zoe throws her emotionally wounded self into her work as a Music Therapist, working with hard to reach individuals. She is asked by Vanessa, a school counselor, to work with a suicidal teen girl. Zoe agrees, and before long a relationship which began as colleagues then friends between Zoe and Vanessa, develops into romantic love.

The couple, from Rhode Island, get married in Massachusetts, where gay marriage is legal, since Rhode Island does not yet recognize such unions.  The lesbian couple, very much in love, wish to complete their union by having a family. Zoe tells Vanessa about the fertilized embryos which she and Max have stored, and Vanessa is more than willing to try to become pregnant using these embryos so that the couple can experience parenthood.

Unfortunately when Zoe approaches Max, now born again Christian, he is vehemently opposed to the idea and a vicious court battle ensues, over who has rights to the embryos when a couple divorces.

MY THOUGHTS - Having read all of Picoult's  novels, this one --her 18th,  is probably her most controversial yet. The author presents a powerful story about what constitutes a family, and why committed gay couples should be seen no differently from straight couples when it comes to marriage and  raising a family.  It is a timely story told in voices that are real and heartfelt. The message is one of acceptance and tolerance, and it is certainly a story which will provide for lively discussion among readers and book clubs everywhere.  Included with this book was a music cd which includes (10) soundtracks inspired by Zoe's work as a music therapist, and the songs are reflective of her feelings throughout the novel. The lyrics were written by Picoult, and the music was sung by Ellen Wilbur -- the music was lovely.  I cannot recommend this book highly enough -- a must read.

30 comments:

  1. I've read most of her books as well and I liked all of them.. I agree from your summary this does seem to be the topper of all.

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  2. I am glad to see a positive review of the book. Sing You Home is one of my most awaited books this year. Thanks for the great review!

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  3. I'm looking forward to reading this book. Jodi Picoult's books are always entertaining and thought provoking.

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  4. Oh, I so want to read this. I love that Piccoult keeps pushing the envelope! Thank you for a great review.

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  5. Sounds like Piccoult is back to form with this one. I have actually never read one of her books but the idea that you can squeeze so many issues in a single book and not make it sound contrived was always hard for me to believe

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  6. Thank you for a great review. A very controversial subject with so many differing views.

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  7. I know Picoult's work is hit or miss for some people, but I've enjoyed those of her books I've read. I'm really looking forward to this one, so I'm glad to see you loved it.

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  8. I agree, this was one of her best in my opinion. I didn't get to hear the music though.

    SenoraG@Reading,Reading&Life

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  9. Sing You Home is one of my must reads for 2011. I've been counting down to its release date. Glad to hear it did not disappoint.

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  10. I know this sounds weird but I haven't touched one Jodi Picoult book yet. This one sounds like another winner.

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  11. Jodi Picoult's work is always in step with the times. Great review, Diane. This sounds very thought-provoking.

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  12. Very nice review! I am not sure I would read this, because I am not a big fan of Picoult, but I am glad to hear that you enjoyed it and that it was both timely and relevant. It does sound like it deals with a lot at once!

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  13. The only Picoult book I've read is Nineteen Minutes and although the topic was certainly, controversial, I didn't think that it was executed all that well.

    This one certainly has a lot going on in it! There would be plenty to discuss at a book group, that's for sure.

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  14. Sounds pretty complicated to me...but ya never know!

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  15. Picoult has never done much to impress me in the past--just infuriate me. This one sounds like an intense read...I might just have to check it out!

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  16. Seems like there's a lot going on in this book. I've enjoyed a few of her books, but I've grown tired of them as of late. I might give this one a try though.

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  17. I am looking forward to reading this soon. I have enjoyed all the Picoult books that I have read. Her stories make one think and are usually relevant to the times. They do make great books for discussion.

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  18. When I read the dust jacket of this book, I wasn't sure I wanted to read it. Now that you've given me a better understanding of the issues involved, I'm adding it to my list. With or without the gay marriage element, the issue of who has the rights to embryos after divorce is fascinating.

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  19. I've avoided Picoult books for a while as they all seem so similar after a while. But with a 5 star rating I will be reading this one!

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  20. I went to the bookstore during my lunch hour today and saw this book all over the place in the new fiction section. I have to confess...I have never read Picoult before. All of my friends have urged me to do so and now I've read another great review of one of her books. Sounds like Picoult has to be read this year!

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  21. I've really enjoyed most of Picoult's books, and this sounds like another good one. Thanks for the thorough review!

    Sue

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  22. So now she is writing songs to go with her books too??? Is there nothing this woman cannot do?

    I have mixed feelings about Picoult. I feel that her books are so formulaic in some ways (mutliple points of view, the "hot button" issues, a big courtroom showdown) BUT, on the other hand, she does tend to do a good job with it all. I'm sure I'll read this at one point.

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  23. It has been such a long time since I read a book by this author but I'm really looking forward to reading this one. Great review!

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  24. I'm a cat who has a human who has always wondered about Jodi Picoult. Tommy (my human) likes to read--she proves that reading her Facebook Wall 100 times a day...however witn your review, Tommy just sit and read. I'll make sure she does!

    Noir

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  25. I did not like this book, especially the second half or so...and not at all for it controversial subjects. In fact just the opposite.
    I really must get my review written...

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  26. I agree with Jenners on Picoult which is why I usually stay away from her books. BUT this book I received for review as well and waited to read your post until I finished book. OMG! What a fantastic read. This book does make me want to read others of hers. Wow, it's such a powerhouse of topics and emotions. I finally posted my review of book.

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  27. I also enjoy Picoult's books - my favorite being Keeping Faith. Her books may tend to follow a certain formula, but they are beautifully written. I know some may find her to be uber-dramatic and soap opera-ish, but I really, really enjoy them!

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  28. I'm so excited to read this one especially that you gave it a 5/5 and that you've read all of her books like me and thought this one was her most controversial one yet...I'm looking forward to getting to my ARC soon now!

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  29. I really didn't like this book, and I think I've given up on Picoult now. I'm glad you enjoyed it, and knowing you've read all of her books and liked this one cements my decision to stop reading her novels.

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  30. You write a thoughtful review. I have not read too many lowing ones this time around.

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