Friday, May 20, 2011

Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult

Sing You Home: A NovelSing You Home by Jodi Picoult

I borrowed an audio copy of Sing You Home from one of my sister's friends.  I was a bit familiar with Jodi Picoult as we've read several of her books in my book club.  What I like most about Jodi is her ability to paint vivid pictures of each character and every single emotion that the character feels.  

One miscarriage too many spelled the end of Max and Zoe Baxter's marriage. Though the former couple went quite separate ways, their fates remained entangled: After veering into alcoholism, Max is saved in multiple senses by his fundamentalist conversion; Zoe, for her part, finds healing relief in music therapy and the friendship, then romantic love with Vanessa, her counselor. After Zoe and Vanessa, now married, decide to have a baby, they realize that they must join battle with Max, who objects on both religious and financial grounds. Like her House Rules and several other previous Jodi Picoult novels, Sing You Home grapples with hot button issues. The novel also includes a CD of songs, each matched with a chapter in the book. Perfect for book clubs.

Review (spoiler alert):
Zoe Baxter, who's a music therapist, seems fragile from the very beginning, but in strong kind of way (if that makes any sense).  Her history is laid out, the miscarriages and pregnancy complications, the difficulty conceiving, IVF treatments, injections, probing and prodding...everything. I immediately felt as though I wanted to save her, I wanted her to be a mother, just as bad as she did.  Then she delivers a stillborn, I was devastated. What ensues from that point is miserable....her husband leaves her, she gets endometrial cancer, and she has a hysterectomy. I grieved for her.  I grieved with her. 
When Zoe becomes friends with Vanessa Shaw, I knew immediately that they would fall in love (it was pretty obvious).  I even knew that they would eventually want to have a family.  What I didn't count on was her ex-husband Max joining up with a group of Evangelical radicals and fighting Zoe and Vanessa for the three remaining embryos that were frozen at the IVF clinic. 
Naturally the court battle wages on, secrets are revealed, lives are nearly destroyed, and innocence is lost.  Max eventually sees through the christian rhetoric he has been swallowing  by the mouthful, but not before the lives of everyone involved is turned completely upside down. 
Sing You Home is the story about how the complications of life can ruin one relationship and give birth to another. In Jodi Picoult's signature style, you get to know each character intimately, you love some and loath others. It had been a long while since I'd listened to an audio book, so this was quite a treat. There were songs that were especially written for this book...which I personally could have done without, but I can appreciate their significance.

If you enjoy heartfelt novels riddled with obstacles and complications, this is something you should read.  The politics of same-sex relationships and difficulties of infertility reflect the times and make the book all the more enjoyable.

I give it:

Sing You Home is available where books are sold.

I borrowed this book from a friend, I was not compensated for this review in anyway. The opinions expressed are my own.


Ellie said...

I find Jodi very easy to read but she does go on about babies quite a lot of so I might put this one off until I've read the rest of hers.

MuMuGB said...

Thanks for this review. I didn't know what to expect, so I found it very helpful...

Stacey Donaldson said...

@ Ellie - You're right she does go on about babies and she does well with touchy subjects too. if you read it later, let me know what you thought.

@MuMuGB - Glad you liked the review. It's hard to talk about this book without giving too much away.

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