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Songs of the Humpback Whale | [Jodi Picoult]

Songs of the Humpback Whale

The powerful debut novel from New York Times best-selling author Jodi Picoult, Songs of the Humpback Whale is a moving story of love and family told through the eyes of five people: Jane Jones, her daughter Rebecca, and three very different men in their lives. After a watershed moment in their marriage, Jane leaves Oliver, her renowned marine biologist husband, and begins a journey across the country with Rebecca in search of understanding about her troubled past.
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Publisher's Summary

The powerful debut novel from New York Times best-selling author Jodi Picoult, Songs of the Humpback Whale is a moving story of love and family told through the eyes of five people: Jane Jones, her daughter Rebecca, and three very different men in their lives. After a watershed moment in their marriage, Jane leaves Oliver, her renowned marine biologist husband, and begins a journey across the country with Rebecca in search of understanding about her troubled past.

©1992 Jodi Picoult; (P)2009 Recorded Books, LLC

What the Critics Say

"This powerful and affecting novel demonstrates that there are as many truths to a story as there are people to tell it." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.5 (146 )
5 star
 (32)
4 star
 (47)
3 star
 (40)
2 star
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1 star
 (11)
Overall
3.7 (60 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
 (15)
2 star
 (4)
1 star
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Story
4.0 (63 )
5 star
 (24)
4 star
 (19)
3 star
 (16)
2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Cindy Waterport, NY, USA 05-24-09
    Cindy Waterport, NY, USA 05-24-09 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "So Glad This is now Available on audio"

    I had been waiting for this to come out on an audio book. I have read/listened to all of Jodi Picoults books. This is her first one. I have to say it isn't her best but for a first it is very good. An interesting portrayal of when you become your mom or dad and you didn't want to. A journey many of us wish we could take and don't.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jo Ann Turner 08-19-09 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Disappointed"

    I've liked her books before this one. I've stopped listening about half way through the first half. Maybe I can get back to it but not sure.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michelle York, PA, United States 07-31-12
    Michelle York, PA, United States 07-31-12 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Narration is ruining it for me"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    I'm having a very hard time getting through this performance... not sure I'm going to finish. I'll just read the book instead. I've loved almost all of Jodi Picoult's books, and I think I recognize some of the male narrators from others of Picoult's audiobooks. They are not the problem.

    The problem is the voice of Rebecca, who is 15, but the narrator is trying WAY too hard to sound young. She comes across sounding whiny, nasal, and annoying. Her reading of Rebecca's portion of the story is unnaturally slow, and she makes Rebecca sound either much younger than 15, or just stupid. It's painful to listen to. But unfortunately, I think the voice of Jane is who you hear when you try to listen to the sample on Audible.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Jodi Picoult? Why or why not?

    I will read anything by Jodi Picoult.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sofia 10-16-12
    Sofia 10-16-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Confusing and choppy storyline"

    I stopped listening after about an hour, because I couldn't stay with the story. Usually I love Picoult, but this book just made me confused and irritated. It isn't unusual for Picoult to use more than one narrator in her stories, often divided into one narrator per chapter. But in Songs of the Humpback Whale the story line is the problem. The narration jumps back and forth in timeline, which would be okay if there were a time reference somewhere.

    The disposition as it is now just causes frustration. Too bad, was looking forward to another great Picoult.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pam Scottsdale, AZ, United States 03-17-10
    Pam Scottsdale, AZ, United States 03-17-10 Member Since 2006
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    "Horrible"

    This was the worst book I have ever listened to and of course, the worst book I have listened to of Jodi Piccoult. Her facts were all wrong, especially on geography and her story line was completely unrealistic. I can't believe she went on to write other books that are acceptable. I can't stress strongly enough how much I disliked this book.

    6 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amber 06-17-14
    Amber 06-17-14 Member Since 2012
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    39
    4
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Confusing at times!"
    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    That would have been better had I read it from the last chapter to the first chapter! I know it was written so that it was looking backward through a time glass persay but it made it hard to follow, especially with so many characters.


    What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

    The narrator's in this book were great. The book itself took away from their performance because it was hard to keep up with who was who.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    I was disappointed with this book. I have read mostly her newer books and this book did not impress me like her other books.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amy 03-05-14
    Amy 03-05-14

    amyk537

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    "Worth listening to for Picoult fans"
    What did you like best about Songs of the Humpback Whale? What did you like least?

    For Jodi Picoult's first book, this was great. The story was easy to follow but definitely not one of her best.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    It seemed like it was the same stories, told over and over by different people. The characters were enjoyable, but I didn't get sucked in like I usually do in her novels.


    Any additional comments?

    Overall, worth listening to, but not fantastic.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tanya Manama, Bahrain 02-26-14
    Tanya Manama, Bahrain 02-26-14 Member Since 2007
    ratings
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    "Love Picoult, hate the narration!"
    What did you like best about Songs of the Humpback Whale? What did you like least?

    I agree wholeheartedly with reviewer Michelle about the narration of this book ruining the experience. I am a recent convert to Jodi Picoult's work and have now listened to several of her books on Audible, very much enjoying them. But this one it driving me nuts - in fact, I've paused it to write this review, about one-quarter of the way through.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The story is grabbing me and I'm hoping to learn more about the habits of Humpbacked Whales, as one thing that Jodi Picoult is renowned for is her thorough research of the subject about which she is writing.


    What aspect of the narrators’s performance would you have changed?

    However, the narrator for the part of Rebecca is terrible. Rebecca is supposed to be 15 years old - I have a daughter of that age and she does NOT talk like a five-year-old! She is speaking far too slowly, reminiscent of a young child reading aloud in class. I can't stand it!!


    Was Songs of the Humpback Whale worth the listening time?

    I'll persevere with it as far as I can (I usually listen to audiobooks while cooking and working in the kitchen!) but may have to ditch it if Rebecca turns out to have too big a role in this book. I've recently listened to Picoult's 'Change of Heart' and 'House Rules' and they were a great deal better.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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