Saturday, March 5, 2011

Review: Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult

Sing You Home: A NovelRelease Date: 3/1/11
PublisherAtria Books
Format: Hardback
Number of Pages: 480
Source: Purchased at Barnes & Noble
Challenge100 Books in a Year 

Zoe Baxter has spent ten years trying to get pregnant, and after multiple miscarriages and infertility issues, it looks like her dream is about to come true -- she is seven months pregnant.  But a terrible turn of events leads to a nightmare - one that takes away the baby she has already fallen for; and breaks apart her marriage to Max.  In the aftermath, she throws herself into her career as a music therapist - using music clinically to soothe burn victims in a hospital; to help Alzheimer's patients connect with the present; to provide solace for hospice patients.  When Vanessa - a guidance counselor - asks her to work with a suicidal teen, their relationship moves from business to friendship and then, to Zoe's surprise, blossoms into love.  When Zoe allows herself to start thinking of having a family, again, she remembers that there are still frozen embryos that were never used by herself and Max.

Meanwhile, Max has found peace at the bottom of a bottle - until he is redeemed by an evangelical church, whose charismatic pastor - Clive Lincoln - has vowed to fight the "homosexual agenda" that has threatened traditional family values in America.  But this mission becomes personal for Max, when Zoe and her same-sex partner say they want permission to raise his unborn child.

SING YOU HOME explores what it means to be gay in today's world, and how reproductive science has outstripped the legal system.  Are embryos people or property?  What challenges do same-sex couples face when it comes to marriage and adoption?  What happens when religion and sexual orientation - two issues that are supposed to be justice-blind -- enter the courtroom?  And most importantly, what constitutes a "traditional family" in today's day and age?

First Sentence
"One sunny, crisp Saturday in September when I was seven years old, I watched my father drop dead."

My Thoughts
As usual, Jodi does not disappoint one bit in her latest book, filled with highs and lows, twists and turns, love and hate.  I feel like I set the bar really high when it comes to Jodi's books, and I expect a lot from her.  I think that it is warranted though, because she is known for all of the research that is put into one of her books, and I think that is what really sets her apart as an author.  I'm not saying that there are no other authors out there that research before writing a book, but she takes a controversial issue and breaks it down on all sides, in hopes that she can help even just one closed minded person.  I've heard a lot of reviews recently saying that they are "tired of Jodi Picoult writing about controversial issues that end up in the courtroom", and to that my friends, I say "STOP READING HER BOOKS THEN".  You know what you are going to get from her, as with any other author she has a formula that works for her.  

So, since this book is filled with all sorts of controversy, I feel as though I could write an entire book just on my feelings about the book.  But I will spare you my ranting and raving.  From the first page, I loved Zoe and knew that no matter what I would be on her side.  I think Jodi did a fantastic job making Zoe a character that anyone and everyone could relate to.  With Max, I went from indifference to disgust to hatred -- just thinking about his character makes me want to punch a wall.  He was a total hypocrite and a poor excuse for a man.  I'm sure it wasn't Jodi's intent for me to hate Max so much, but it is just so easy.  I really liked Vanessa's character, and loved the way that she and Zoe were together.  

I'm not religious, I'm not homosexual, but I do have very strong feelings when it comes to gay rights.  It has been hard for me to understand why people feel the need to meddle in other peoples business.  I'm not sure why it is so hard for people to understand that you can't help who you fall in love with.  Some women fall in love with men that are abusive, some women fall in love with men that cheat on them....and no one bats an eye.  But when a woman falls in love with another woman...everyone has something to say about it.  

At a few points in the book, it is mentioned by Max's attorney's that gays are not fighting for equal rights, they are fighting for extra rights.  I'd really like to know how that is...considering that gay marriages aren't recognized in most states, gay couples have a hard time adopting, if one person in the gay couple happens to be in the hospital their partner is unable to be in the room or to make any medical decisions for them.  Tell me, how would having these rights be "extra" rights?  They are rights that straight couples take for advantage every day.  

I read a review yesterday stating that the reader was highly offended by this book.  The reader claimed to be a Christian and thought that Jodi was bashing Christian's as a whole.  I really don't think that the reader understood what Jodi was trying to get across.  I don't think that Jodi was saying that everyone who claims to be Christian is as nutty as the people that attended Pastor Clive's evangelical church.  I think that Jodi was trying to use the extreme right to make her point. It is funny that the reader was so upset by being stereotyped, however the reader never stopped to mention the stereotypes that are laid upon gays every day. The reader just wanted to be offended and shocked at the audacity of this book, but didn't want to read into what the message truly is.

Anyway, like I said, I could write an entire book just based on my feelings about this book, but I won't keep rambling on here.  My point is...this is an incredible, thought-provoking book that I think everyone should read.  ((As a side note, this book comes with an audio CD of songs that Jodi wrote and her good friend performed.  I honestly haven't listened to it yet, as I was sucked into the story, but I think it is an awesome idea to have a soundtrack to a book!!)) 

Favorite Quotes
"No man has a natural right to commit aggression on the equal rights of another, and this is all from which the laws ought to restrain him." - Thomas Jefferson

"Every life has a soundtrack...If you ask me, music is the language of memory."

"All I'm saying is that the past is nothing but a springboard for the future."

"Believe me, being gay is not a choice.  No one would choose to make life harder than it has to be, and no matter how confident and comfortable a gay person is, he or she can't control the thoughts of others."

"Because...when you love someone, you don't see the parts of him you don't like."

"What songs would be on a mix tape that describes you?  It's a question I've used my whole life, as a foolproof test of character."

"The moment I heard my first love story I began seeking
you, not realizing the search was useless.
Lovers don't meet somewhere along the way.
They're in one another's souls from the beginning."

"i carry your hear with me(i carry it in 
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere 
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)"

"Beliefs are the roads we take to reach our dreams.  Believe you can do something -- or believe you can't -- and you'll be right every time."

Likes: The fact that no matter what, Jodi is not afraid to delve into controversial issues.
Dislikes: The fact that this even has to be a controversy to begin with...
Favorite Characters: Zoe and Angela
Least Favorite Character: Max
Characters: 5/5
Writing Style: 5/5
Plot: 5/5
Ending: 5/5
Overall Rating: 5/5

Happy Reading!

1 comment:

E said...

I'm really intrigued by your review because I actually didn't enjoy this book so much.

Now, of course, this is only relative to Piccoult's other books since I might be her biggest fan. So, in the great scheme of things I did still enjoy her book but not on my usual Piccoult scale.

It's not that I was offended by it. Like you, I really appreciate the fact that she always takes such controversial topics and I think she handles them extremely well. My personal views on the matter at hand might differ somewhat from yours but that doesn't mean that I disapprove of the book. Not in the slightest!

Really, I think, my problem with the book was that it just wasn't as thrilling (to me) as her other books were. It wasn't unenjoyable, it wasn't bad...... it just didn't grip me as much. I was able to put it down and not come back to it for a day or two and that has never happened with one of her books! Anyway, like I said, I was really interested to hear your views :)


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