Sing You Home

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Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult, book reviewI am a huge fan of the American author, Jodi Picoult, and almost always find her books powerful and thought provoking especially as she is not afraid to tackle some quite contentious issues. This is definitely the case in her latest book, ‘Sing You Home‘, where she explores the controversial theme of gay adoptions and parenting. That would be compelling enough on its own. However, the story becomes more riveting when you realise that it also involves a custody battle over unborn children – embryos currently frozen after IVF procedures.

Max and Zoe were very happy when they first married and, like many couples, assumed they would have children in order to make their family complete. However, life often does not go to plan and after they realise that they both have fertility problems, they embark on IVF treatment. It’s a heart-breaking route though and, after two miscarriages and a still birth, Max decides that enough is enough and he cannot put himself through it any more. This leads to the breakup of their marriage. After initially taking to drink, Max finds solace in the church, whereas Zoe is comforted by her friend Vanessa. Much to everyone’s surprise, comfort turns to love and Zoe experiences feelings for Vanessa that she could never have predicted. This leads to their marriage and Zoe wishes that they could become a proper family. She remembers that there are still three frozen embryos from the last course of IVF, but in order to use them for her and Vanessa, she has to gain Max’s permission. There follows a riveting legal battle of which it is virtually impossible to predict the outcome.

Jodi Picoult has done it again with this book, ‘Sing You Home’, and has produced a wonderfully absorbing story. I was caught up from the very first page and could hardly bring myself to put the book now for wanting to see what would happen next. She has a knack of helping her readers see things from every point of view and this is achieved in her usual way of having different narrators for different chapters. Zoe, Vanessa and Max take turns to tell the story and this makes fascinating reading and often they see things quite differently from each other. In some of her other books, I have felt that she has had too many storytellers but in ‘Sing You Home’, the three different viewpoints work very well and I found it easy to keep track of whose voice I was listening to at any time.

“I really enjoyed ‘Sing You Home’ and, having read most of Jodi Picoult’s books, rate it as one of her best.”

There is so much to think about in this novel many of which are indicative of twenty first century lives – civil unions, same sex adoptions, fertility treatments, divorce, therapy, prejudice. These are all explored sensitively and without any judgement. I am always in awe of the amount of research Jodi Picoult must undertake for her books and she certainly seems to have done her homework for this one too. As well as being thoroughly entertained by the book, I felt that I was learning things too especially about issues which I had not previously given much thought.

Music therapy plays a strong part in the story as that is Zoe’s work and she uses music to communicate with many patients, young and old. I found this fascinating to read about and it definitely made me want to find out more. Therefore, it is not completely surprising that there is a soundtrack to accompany the book. There are three different ways to access the music and information is provided at the start of the book. The soundtrack is intended to support Zoe’s narration and to particularly demonstrate how she is feeling in different parts of the book. Having listened to the soundtrack, this adds a very unusual and enjoyable dimension to the experience.

I really enjoyed ‘Sing You Home’ and, having read most of Jodi Picoult’s books, rate it as one of her best. All the ingredients are there for a compelling read that will leave you guessing what the outcome will be until the very last page.

Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult
Published by Hodder & Stoughton, April 2011
With thanks to Hodder & Stoughton for providing a review copy.

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Sing You Home
by Jodi Picoult

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Written by kingfisher

My name is Jo and I have been married to Simon for nine years. We have two beautiful daughters – Rachel who is six and Natalie who is almost five and starting school in January. I also have two step children aged twenty one and seventeen so family life is never dull. I also manage to work three days for a local education authority where I support the teaching of literacy in primary schools. I love my job and it’s ideal for a book lover like me. In my spare time I run, dance and occasionally tread the boards with my local amateur dramatics group. My first love is reading though and you will never find me without a book on the go. My husband is also an avid reader and we are hoping to pass on our love of reading to our daughters. They certainly love their bedtime stories every night. Although I have and English degree and I am familiar with most of the classics, I generally read much lighter stuff these days. It’s mainly ‘chic lit’ but I also enjoy a good thriller or courtroom drama. I have so many favourite authors and this list tends to change regularly depending on what I am reading.

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