My Latest Picoult Read
Sing You Home
by Jodi Picoult
[#24 in my 52 Book Challenge]
I love a good Jodi Picoult book. Picoult tells a story in such a way that I fly through her books in a matter of days. Her pacing is perfect and her subject matter usually makes me question my own morals. This book was no exception!
The basic plot: Zoe is a music therapist who is experiencing fertility problems with her husband, Max. The tension between the two over the fertility problems results in the end of the marriage. Shortly after, Zoe is surprised to find love with her close friend, Vanessa, while Max becomes a born-again Christian. When Zoe wishes to use frozen embryos that she and Max stored during their marriage in order to have a child with Vanessa, a legal battle erupts.
This book was a little different from the other Picoult books I have read. I have read (in this order): The Pact, My Sister’s Keeper, Nineteen Minutes, and Handle With Care. I felt that Sing You Home was more linear. There were a few flashbacks here and there, especially at the beginning, but overall I felt the story was seated in the present. I’m neither here nor there on that, but it did make this book feel different.
However, this book really felt different for other reasons. I think this was the first Picoult book I’ve read that really hit close to home in many ways. I don’t really live in the medical or legal worlds, I’ve never had a serious medical problem, I’ve never wanted to kill myself or anyone else, and bullying wasn’t a major part of my life. So the other Picoult books I have read felt more like peering in on someone else’s life, seeing how other people live. Sing You Home felt like peering into my own life, or what my life could be, five or ten years down the road. Picoult made me feel the emotions of wanting to conceive and not being able to, an emotion that I am terrified I might actually experience one day. For lesbians, having a child can be a very complicated and expensive process. But, I’m like Zoe — I want it so badly.
In fact, one of the things that attracted me to the book was that it was about lesbians. I felt the story did a good job in not making Zoe and Vanessa into “token” lesbians or stereotypes. They felt like normal people, multi-dimensional and believable. I absolutely adored reading their love story. I felt for Vanessa’s professional worries over being out as a school counselor, too, because that’s something I worry about every single day in my own job. And, since I consider myself religious, I completely understood Max’s conflicts over religion. It’s hard to understand what is right and what is wrong in the eyes of God when the people who teach and counsel for the church are more concerned with their own self-interest and close-mindedness than seeing the real world. Top all of that off with Zoe’s love for music and I was hooked.
I’d give this book four stars (not that I usually give stars). The emotions and characters were well written and I couldn’t put it down once I got into it. It loses one star because I felt it was a little predictable at times. I saw the ending coming from a mile away and I felt that some of the plot twists were a bit contrived. Overall, though, it was a fabulous book and I would highly recommend it. And here’s to Jodi Picoult for writing such a great book and (hopefully) changing a few people’s minds about homosexuality and same-sex parenting in America!