Music has set the tone for most of Zoe Baxter’s life. There’s the melody that reminds her of the summer she spent rubbing baby oil on her stomach in pursuit of the perfect tan. A dance beat that makes her think of using a fake ID to slip into a nightclub. A dirge that marks the years she spent trying to get pregnant.
And it’s music that brings her back to love. When fertility issues lead to a divorce, Zoe throws herself into her career as a music therapist. As an unexpected friendship with a woman slowly blossoms into love, she makes plans for a new life, but to her shock and inevitable rage, some people - even those she loves and trusts most - don’t want that to happen.
Jodi Picoult has proven once again that she is a master storyteller, always bringing grace, compassion, and thoughtfulness to life’s most difficult questions. Sing You Home is about identity, love, marriage, and parenthood. And it’s about what happens when the outside world brutally calls into question the very thing closest to our hearts: family.
©2011 Jodi Picoult (P)2011 Recorded Books, LLC
Unlike other reviewers, I can't say the music spoiled this book, but its mediocrity was embarrassing -- especially in light of the scene in which Vanessa calls Zoe "the next Sheryl Crow."
Other than that, for once I was not infuriated by the ending of a Picoult book. Her premises are invariably too tempting to resist, but her compulsion to kill off characters for no particular reason is something I've found disturbing. Here, at least, she finds a way to resolve a plot without tragedy.
I thought the main characters were reasonably well-drawn. Even Max, despite his many flaws, was not wholly unsympathetic.
Picoult's handling of the legal circus is reminiscent of Grisham's A Time to Kill, though not as deftly handled. The idea works here, though -- the characters' personal struggle lost in their very public exploitation by outsiders who care only about their own agendas. It would have rung a bit more true if there had been an equal amount of exploitation coming from those in Zoe's court. That side is where my own sympathies lie, but I harbor no illusions; in real life there would have been just as many high-profile lawyers and groups grabbing publicity as on the other side.
I'd have preferred fewer courtroom revelations coming out of the blue. They came and went too quickly to serve any real purpose in terms of either plot or character development, especially so late in the book, and they made Zoe's lawyer look extraordinarily inept. By contrast, the plot point on which Zoe's decision rested was wholly predictable. One only wonders why on earth Vanessa did not have sufficient information to foresee, at the very least, a conflict.
Nonetheless, I found this to be a book with an interesting idea at its heart, characters who were likable, and a satisfying resolution.
I've listened to a lot of Jodi Picoult's books. This is one of the weakest. I really liked the main character, but the rest of the characters are based on simple stereotypes that at times made me wince. And there are songs throughout. Horrible, awful, grating singing. I had to fast forward through it. I don't recommend this book.
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I have to add my voice to those who already said that this book was a disappointment. Jodi has in the past written her stories with more balance and multidimensional characters. This book was a commentary on her own political agenda. I am a fairly conservative Catholic who believes gays have a right to civil unions and have known many wonderful lesbian parents. However, gays are not all saints and Christians are not all closed minded haters. Shame on Jodi!! The music was awful, the singer mediocre. I can see that when someone achieves success in their career they start to believe that they can do "anything". My advice to Jodi is to reasses her writing and stop churing out the books, put in a little more effort.
I strongly agree with previous comments about the quality of the music. I am a big fan and have read all her books, but how this issue escaped the review of her editing team, I can't imagine. Maybe it was my MP3 player settings, but I couldn't reach for the mute button fast enough when those songs were played. It was disappointing that I could never hang in there long enough to hear the lyrics, I'm sure they were meaningful. It was especially disheartening considering the topic of the book and the description of the main character's voice. I wanted to believe those songs were sung by her.....no way. Definitely worth a listen, but have your finger poised over the Fast Forward button.
I enjoyed this book the topic was interesting and the characters were reasonably well developed- if predictably stereotyped. I don't think this book will be for everybody on either side of this particular fence but it is a solid delivery of the Picoult formula of relationships and controversial, headline grabbing moral quandaries.
Found the 'songs' largely unnecessary but good solid narration (helped by not forcing actors to do younger characters as with 'Handle')
I would have given this book a slightly higher rating if it was not for the DREADFUL music that was sprinkled throughout the book. It was a cross between folksy, christian, elevator music. But I think it was closer to elevator music but to the point that you couldn't wait to get out of the elevator! Sickly sweet to the point of throwing up!! In the end I did not care what happened as long as there was not another SONG!!
The easiest way I can describe this novel is to say I listened to it a week ago, decided to write a review and for the life of me, couldn't remember what it was about.
Am enjoying this book so far, with one HUGE exception: the horrific music introducing each chapter! OUCH. It's not that the songs themselves are particularly terrible, but the female vocalist is absolutely atrocious -- I can't fast-forward through the things speedily enough!
Would much prefer a version of the book WITHOUT the extremely distracting 'music'. Either that, or re-record the songs using competent, professional musicians!
I have to say as a christian catholic I was very disturbed by the way the author represented Christians in her story, I know that there are extremist out there but they are not true Christians, a true christian does not physically or mentally hurt others, They have forgotten the most important thing that Jesus teaches. Love and understanding.. Having said that it was very eye opening to get a view of what same sex relationships must endure on a daily basis. I have much more empathy for there plait in this world. Anyone who has ever judged homosexuality should listen to this story. For me It has opened up my heart more for the suffering that they endure.
I always like Picoult's books - they are complex, suspenseful, and beautifully detailed. I loved the way in "My Sister's Keeper" the conflicts of issues sort of snuck up on the reader, so you became interested in the characters first, then their issues.
With "Sing You Home" the agenda is laid out almost before you read the first word, and it just fees like the characters are secondary. Even though this book is as elegantly written as any of her best novels.
Also, we have the Picoult formula going on - one genuine "page turner" plot line, with a secondary plot line going along for the ride. At critical points in the primary plot line, Picoult exasperates the reader with an abrupt seque to the secondary plot line. This becomes beyond annoying, and I keep fast-forwarding because in this case, the "other" story is simply not interesting.
I am only giving this novel a 3 because of the musical interludes which I found intrusive. It's unfortunate, because so much of Picoult's work is full of richly-drawn characters, meticulous detail and sparkling dialogue, and this book is no exception. I just wish the music had been left out. Do these agendas really need to be amped up any further?
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