Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult

Hardcover, 424 pages
Published April 1st 2011 by Hodder & Stoughton (first published March 1st 2011)
ISBN 1444724533 (ISBN13: 9781444724530)

Massive blurb:
"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?"

I have read quite a few of Jodi Picoult's novels now and yet again in this one she attacks a number of controversial topics in her novel.

This novel deals with both the rights of people in homosexual relationships, including how they are discriminated against by society (in this case in America), and the issue of who can gain custody of fertilised embryos after a marriage has ended.

I found Max, the ex-husband, to be a very frustrating character when reading from his point of view. He was very hypocritical and open to persuasion by anyone, and didn't have the guts to do what he thought was best for most of the novel. He is an alcoholic who converts to an evangelical church which is strongly against gay relationships and marriages. So when his ex-wife falls in love with and marries another woman he doesn't react well when they want to use the embryos to have a child together. The author definitely gives a balanced argument between the two sides.

The novel also deals with fertility issues and the devastating emotions associated with failed IVF treatments and miscarriage. These sections of the novel are very moving.

I can't say that I particularly enjoyed this book as some of the opinions were difficult to read and I am becoming a little disinterested by Jodi Picoult's slightly formulaic style of novel writing, after so many books dealing with controversial topics. That being said, it is still a very well written book.

This book also has a soundtrack that goes with it which I haven't heard yet as they had run out of copies when I received my copy of the book at an event where the author was speaking. I did manage to get the book signed though and I heard a couple of the songs live! Jodi Picoult definitely comes across as an intelligent, very caring lady which was nice to see!

This was an interesting novel which deals with very real, contemporary issues.

7 out of 10.

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