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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

Critic Reviews

"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 Ratings

Overall

  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    71
  • 4 Stars
    102
  • 3 Stars
    83
  • 2 Stars
    34
  • 1 Stars
    19

Performance

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    80
  • 4 Stars
    68
  • 3 Stars
    38
  • 2 Stars
    11
  • 1 Stars
    8

Story

  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    50
  • 4 Stars
    67
  • 3 Stars
    47
  • 2 Stars
    28
  • 1 Stars
    13
Sort by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Cindy
  • Waterport, NY, USA
  • 05-24-09

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.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Michelle
  • York, PA, United States
  • 07-31-12

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.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

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

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

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

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

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.

7 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Too weird and sad.

The storyline was believable and the jumping back and forth in time was a little hard to follow. But listening to it made a difference since the voices were different.

However, there was stupidity and lack of growth. It was not a feel good book, nor did the twists have to happen. It left me sad and questioning. Jane ruined multiple lives with her choices and it left me wanting to feel better. Depressing pointless book

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

VERY ODD... Not like a normal Jodi Picoult book...

Would you try another book from Jodi Picoult and/or the narrators?

I love Jodi Picoult books, and the narrators were good, some of them I've listened to before. I enjoy that they chose to use different narrators for different characters.

Would you ever listen to anything by Jodi Picoult again?

Yes, I listen to all her books... this one was just really off.

Which scene was your favorite?

The scene where Jane and Rebecca dine and dash was pretty funny, and totally believable.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Songs of the Humpback Whale ?

I would have nearly removed Joile as a character... I liked the idea that he was navigating Jane cross-country-- but his creepy love interest in his sister was sooo distracting and irrelevant to the story.

Any additional comments?

The creepiness from Oliver AND Joile were just awful. It was so distracting from the story, I caught myself grimacing when Jolie would talk about his love for his sister... why the layer of incest? It didn't enrich the story AT ALL, a brother and sister can have a remarkable bond without the odd comments.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Annoying

I can’t tell if the story is good or not the narrator is very annoying. I’m done

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Tried and Rejected

My dad recommended audiobooks so I thought I would give it a try. I was not impressed. The reading paces were different. Changing the speed made some chapters harder to follow and others unbearably slow. The storyline was crap and too repetitive. I felt like I was hearing the same thing over and over rather than different viewpoints. She is my favorite writer, but this book sucked.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

horRIFICALLY dreadful narration of Rebecca.

the narration for Rebecca, Elizabeth Morton I think? is the single most horrifically, surprisingly cringe inducing, heartbreakingly god awful piece of narration I have ever heard in my life.
if this we're the first audio book experience I had had, I would never, ever, EVER buy another one again.
I've never been moved or inspired enough to write more than a headline review in my over 200 audible purchases (and I've listened to some brilliant as well as not so brilliant stories) until 20 minutes ago.
I have tried so hard, so unbelievably hard, to persevere and finish this, most likely, very enjoyable book. alas, it was simply not to be. the narration has actually left me no choice but to return this credit and BUY THE BOOK! after dousing my ear holes with accelerant and setting them ablaze, of course.
she sounds as if her parents knocked her out with benadryl the night before her god AWFUL performance (probably a nightly routine starting the moment she steps off of her school bus to allow them to remove the vodka soaked cotton balls out of their ears for a few hours each evening) then woke her back up after only a few hours and threw her straight into the recording studio.
she sounds sleepy, slightly drunk, and infuriatingly monotone. I have no earthly idea how this project came to pass.
I should sue "Rebecca".