Sing You Home - Jodi Picoult

Synopsis: 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?

Review: I am a sucker for ANY Jodi Picoult book, so this is always going to be a little bit bias when I review her books, but I am completely unapologetic about that. She earned my love through her writing, it was some of the most poignant writing I have read before, and in each of her books I have always inevitably had a moment where I’ve been grabbed by something she has written.

Sing You Home was no different in this way. In actual fact it forced me to think about a subject that I have never really given much thought to, and that is the subject of lesbian relationships and IVF and also on the other side of the coin religious groups that feel very strongly against this and how they might feel.

Confronting is probably the best word for this book, and I want to say controversial - even though we’re in 2011 and I’d like to think as a society we’ve come a long way… this book even though fictional does highlight that not everyone is open minded. It also presents a moral dilemma, which is what many of Picoult’s books ultimately are about.

In this case, the main character Zoe had IVF procedures done with her husband at the time Max whilst they were married. Ultimately their marriage crumbles, due to the stress of having 2 miscarriages and a stillbirth, but nothing is done about the 3 frozen embryos they have in storage at the clinic. Zoe moves on and finds herself attracted to a female friend, Vanessa. What happens when they choose to use those 3 frozen embryos for themselves? Max in the time being has joined a right wing type of church and with the support of the church sues Zoe to stop her from accessing what is technically half his.

Whilst the book has some really heavy storylines, I honestly didn’t feel as though it was a hard book to read… in fact, like many of Picoult’s books, it was a real page turner. Written in her standard 1st person style (the narrative changes from person to person), you really get some insight into not only how each character acts, but more importantly how they feel, which you don’t always get a true understanding of when there is only one protagonist.

I loved it. Like I said, I am bias… but I loved it.

Rating: 5 out of 5

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