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Sing You Home - Jodi Picoult
Member Name: helenc72
Sing You Home - Jodi Picoult
Date: 05/05/12, updated on 06/05/12 (46 review reads)
Advantages: Good read to get stuck into, interesting issues, good characterisation
Disadvantages: Bit formulaic, no big twist, some irritating aspects
I have read most of Jodi Picoult's books and I generally enjoy them as I find they grip me and make me want to spend a few hours getting stuck into the book. Her books are good quick reads. However, people often comment that they can be a bit formulaic and this is definitely true. Many of her books are narrated from different characters perspectives and they include some kind of social or moral issue, culminating in a court battle. Sing You Home is no different!
The one different thing which stands out is the soundtrack which comes with the book. Each chapter has a QR code you can scan with your phone to get the soundtrack online. Alternatively if you don't want to use a smartphone you can just go to the website. This is to tie in with Zoe's job of music therapist. I did not actually listen to the soundtrack but I found it a nice idea.
The storyline revolves around a couple, Max and Zoe Baxter, who have been desperately trying to have a baby but suffer infertility and have miscarriages and a still birth. The stress of this leads them to divorce. As they start to move on with their lives they go in very different directions, with Zoe falling in love again and marrying a woman, whereas Max gets more involved in the church. Eventually they think back to the frozen embryos at the clinic and there is a legal dispute about what should happen to them.
I think that Jodi Picoult has dealt with the fertility issues in a sensitive way and I found it interesting to read about this, as you could clearly imagine the effect it was having on the couple. I liked that she also tackled this from a male point of view in Max's chapters.
The same sex relationship of Zoe and her new partner Vanessa is also dealt with in a sensitive way. It is clear which side of the argument Jodi Picoult favours and in my opinion throughout the book she presents Zoe and Vanessa's case to get the embryos much more positively than Max's case. Max does not want the embryos for himself, but plans to give them to his brother to be raised in a Christian family. She presents Zoe and Vanessa's relationship in lots of detail and you feel sympathy for them. I think she does want to change some people's views on same sex relationships and make them realise they are just like everyone else. At the end of the book it was mentioned in the Q & A that Jodi Picoult's own son is gay so she has had some insight into how society reacts and judges on this issue.
The only thing that slightly annoyed me about the portrayal of this relationship was that she says Zoe has suddenly become lesbian. I don't see why there was never any mention of the word bisexual in the whole book. Zoe loved her husband Max and then fell in love with Vanessa. She says she fell in love with the person, not the gender, and takes the attitude that if that means she now has to label herself a lesbian then she will. She makes it clear that sexuality is not black and white so I think bisexuality should at least have been mentioned.
The point of view of the church seemed to be presented in a slightly over the top way, as some of the people on that side were overly scheming and just awful. Of course there are some Christians like that but I do think some Christians might be annoyed at their view being slightly twisted.
Another irritation was the character of Zoe's lawyer, who seemed quite unprofessional and just annoying!
Speaking of twists, you can often expect a big twist from Jodi Picoult but there was only a small one in this book and I did see it (or something similar) coming a mile off.
On the whole, it was a good read and I enjoyed it but it is definitely not my favourite of Jodi Picoult's books.
Summary: Worth reading but not my favourite