I've always been a huge fan of Jodi Picoult, and I've read all the books she's ever published. I chose to read Sing You Home because it qualifies for the April monthly keyword challenge at Bookmark to Blog. "Home" is one of the keywords for the month of April.
In Sing You Home, Picoult addresses the controversial topics of gay marriage and same-sex parenting.
40-year-old Zoe Baxter and her husband Max have been trying to have a baby for years, but both husband and wife have fertility problems that have prevented them from conceiving. Finally, after years of fertility treatments, Zoe is 7 months pregnant and just weeks away from giving birth. Unfortunately, Zoe experiences complications during her baby shower and is rushed to the hospital, where she gives birth to a stillborn son.
Unable to handle the stress of undergoing yet another in vitro fertilization process with his wife, Max files for divorce from Zoe. A former alcoholic, Max looks to the bottle for comfort, but soon experiences an epiphany in which God speaks to him, and influences Max to become a pushy born-again Christian and bible-thumping evangelist.
Meanwhile, Zoe, a musical therapist, dives into work after a hysterectomy leaves her unable to conceive indefinitely. While working with a suicidal teen, Zoe becomes good friends with Vanessa Shaw, the high school's homosexual counselor. As Zoe and Vanessa's friendship grows stronger, Zoe realizes that she loves Vanessa, and they decide to become married.
After their wedding, Vanessa offers to become pregnant using Zoe's leftover embryos from her previous attempts at conception. However, Max refuses to give up the embryos because he doesn't want his biological children to be raised by a same-sex couple. Zoe, Vanessa, and Max then go to court to settle the custody battle over the embryos.
Told from the viewpoints of Zoe, Vanessa, and Max, Sing You Home is an insider's look at the controversy that surrounds gay couples and same-sex parenting. Picoult leans toward pro-gay rights, which is made evident through this story, and also makes some excellent points on hypocrisy in regards to those adamant on preventing homosexuals from having certain rights.
There are no plot twists and turns in Sing You Home like those that exist in most of Picoult's other novels. There are no big surprises - just a touching story that partly educates readers about the ongoing gay rights battle. Picoult doesn't write Zoe and Vanessa pointedly as lesbians, but instead, as two people who love and support each other, and who just happen to both be women. Their love story is very beautiful.
Although I loathe courtroom scenes in any book or movie, my favorite part in Sing You Home is when Zoe and Vanessa's lawyer grills Max's evangelical pastor on the stand about his beliefs. Pastor Clive is intent on using bible quotes to justify the wrongness of Zoe and Vanessa's union, when in fact, there are several bible quotes that contradict his own beliefs, validating his hypocrisy in the process.
I enjoyed and agreed with the points Picoult makes in this novel about beliefs in general. Some evangelical Christians may love to point fingers, push their beliefs, and play the role of hypocrites, but atheists are just as guilty, and can be just as pushy about their own beliefs. I can't tell you how many times atheists have tried to convert me and insult me about my personal beliefs, just as some Christians have. I love how Picoult drives this point home throughout the novel.
My copy of Sing You Home includes a CD soundtrack that goes along with the reading of this novel. Each song corresponds with a particular chapter meant to reflect the tone and events that transpire during the chapter. I had no interest in using the CD (people still own CD players?), so I'm unable to provide a review or feedback about the CD. If you're reading this review and you HAVE listened to the CD, I'm curious to hear your thoughts! Share your comments with us in the section below this review.
If you've ever been touchy or on the fence about gay rights and same-sex parenting, then Sing You Home may get you riled up. Either way and regardless of your opinion on the matter, this novel is well-written and all in all a fabulous story.
Other recent releases by Jodi Picoult include The Storyteller, Between the Lines, Lone Wolf, and House Rules.
Click on any of the images of the books below to review them in more detail on Amazon.com.
Did you read this novel and if so, what did you think? What are your favorite books by Jodi Picoult? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.