Title: Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult
Release Date: March 1st, 2011
Format: Audiobook (17 hrs and 26 mins)
Genre: Fiction, Women’s Literature
Published By: Atria Books
One miscarriage too many spelled the end of Max and Zoe Baxter’s marriage. Though the former couple went quite separate ways, their fates remained entangled: After veering into alcoholism, Max is saved in multiple senses by his fundamentalist conversion; Zoe, for her part, finds healing relief in music therapy and the friendship, then romantic love with Vanessa, her counselor. After Zoe and Vanessa, now married, decide to have a baby, they realize that they must join battle with Max, who objects on both religious and financial grounds.
I started this book already having experience with Jodi Picoult’s writing, so I knew I was in for an intense experience. She is so methodical and expressive but I always find her stories disconcerting. I appreciate that the author told the story from Zoe, her new wife Vanessa and Zoe’s ex-husband’s point of view. It gave me an opportunity to empathize. I’ll admit it that I found the story a bit preachy and definitely advocated a viewpoint, but the story felt real especially in today’s political and religious climate. Zoe and Vanessa’s court case against Max made me examine my own views about this controversial issue. But the author’s writing was remarkable in that I could empathize to all three main characters even if I didn’t quite like them.
The story began with Zoe and Max struggling to conceive. What the reader never got to experience was any real tenderness, happiness or the power of their love. Their relationship was that of a woman determined to have a baby and the man she needed to make that dream a reality. It should have come as no surprise to the readers that Zoe and Max broke up. Unfortunately, Zoe’s new relationship didn’t resonate with me either. What did resonate with me was Zoe’s desire to have a family and the stress the struggle caused her, Max and Vanessa.
I would have loved this story more if the author had delivered multifaceted characters instead of Max, an alcoholic turned bible thumper fighting a music therapist and an atheist school counselor. The characters were over-simplified in such a way to make you either love them or hate them. The stereotypes were written in such a way that I felt led by the nose to the conclusion, which was a typical Picoult ending.