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Clif's Book World

Adventures from reading books captured within short reviews.

Sing You Home

Sing You Home - Jodi Picoult Jodi Picoult is a master at taking heart wrenching real life issues and then wrapping fictional, but emotional, stories around them. For this book she decided that words alone were insufficient to convey all the emotion she wanted the book to communicate. So she's included an audio CD within each book that contains music with lyrics by the author to fit around the book's storyline. Prior to each chapter is a page that indicates which song is to be played for that chapter. The following by Picoult is from the book's Acknowledgments:
"When I knew I was writing in part about gay rights, I wanted my readers to literally hear the voice of my main character; to take this from a political arena to a personal one--and so you get to hear Zoe [a music therapist and musician in the book's story] pouring out her heart and soul to you through her songs."
And to make things really personal, the story is told in first-person voice by various characters in the story so the reader is informed of their most intimate and personal thoughts. Oh, and did I mention that this book conveys lots of emotion?

Some of the emotional hot button topics covered by this book:
Infertility, miscarriages, stillbirth, gay rights, parenthood, religious beliefs, in vitro fertilization, surrogate motherhood, being saved (spiritually), alcoholism, divorce, lesbianism, same sex marriage, music therapy, changing sexual orientation at mid-life, overt efforts to change another persons sexual orientation, water dowsing, homophobia, abortion, attempted suicide, and Westboro anti-gay pickets, charges of sexual molestation, and false accusations.
Then there's the ultimate plot conflict (which takes up half the book) . . .
. . . a court-trial to determine which party (of a divorced couple) will get access to viable in-vitro embryos that are currently in frozen storage. The embryos were conceived while the couple were married, but now that they're divorced they both have plans on how to use them. Will they be implanted in the womb of a woman in a same sex marriage or in the womb of a woman in a "good Christian" home (i.e. heterosexual marriage with a man)?
It's my understanding that several interest groups have complained about how they're depicted in this book. To that I say, it's a novel! Novels are made interesting by depicting interesting, out of the ordinary personalities. But given the unusual situation described in the book, I found Picoult's ability to put a human face on the alternative sides of the issues to be well done. And she's able to deal with some serious issues while still maintaining a bit of humor throughout the book.

Picoult is a good writer. She has a unique ability to put a sympathitic spin on some emotionaly difficult issues. I hope this book contributes to the increased acceptance of differences within our society.

If you read this book and haven't shed a tear by the time you reach its end, your heart is made of stone.

Interesting quote:
Anxiety's like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it doesn't get you very far.”
– Jodi Picoult, Sing You Home