When I think of Jodi Picoult, I think of a famous line from Jerry Maguire. “You had me at hello.” Indeed, she did! From the very first book I read by Picoult she had me hook, line and sinker. That novel was ‘My Sisters Keeper’, which she wrote in 2004. It was book number 14 in her writing career that began in 1992 with her first novel, ‘Songs of the Humpback Whale’. Since reading ‘My Sisters Keeper’ I have also read 6 others in her long list of brutally honest and well written books. This past week I finished ‘Sing You Home’ and was yet again delighted. It brings all the turmoil and drama to her characters lives while touching on her signature game changer, controversy. If you have read her work, you know what I mean.
‘Sing You Home’ begins with a woman named Zoe, who desperately wants a baby, and her husband Max, whom we shortly find out, does not. The couple have had many failed attempts with IVF and the last straw is a still-born baby that was their one successful embryo transplant, or so they thought. Max asks Zoe for a divorce shortly after the loss of their son, further shattering her heart and spirit. From that point on, she completely immerses herself in her work. She is a music therapist and works at nursing homes, hospitals and schools to help people to connect with their innermost thoughts via music. One of her colleagues, Vanessa, who works as the guidance counselor at the local high school brings her in to assist with a suicidal girl. Before long Zoe and Vanessa are attached at the hip, so to speak. They become incredibly close through another personal tragedy Zoe goes through and they end up falling in love. Zoe and Vanessa decide to get married and make a life together, but they must travel to Massachusetts in order to legally wed, as Rhode Island still has yet to get on board with same sex marriage. At this point, you’d think it was all about gay marriage and their rights, but that is hardly the end. Once they are married, Vanessa and Zoe decide they want to try having a baby and they want to use the embryos that are left from her last round of IVF with Max. In order to do so, Max needs to sign off on them. Zoe goes to ask him for his permission and finds that he has become taken under the wing of a local evangelical born again christian pastor named Clive who has warped his entire persona. A bit later Zoe is served with a lawsuit where Max is suing her for the rights to their embryos so that he can ensure the “unborn children” are raised in a proper religious home, not by gays. The story goes through the court proceedings and they get ugly, as these things do. However, in the end, the outcome is a favorable one. It attacked very controversial issues, as all of Picoult’s novels do, and made me happy, sad and angry at some point or another. I am a big fan and highly recommend ALL of her books to anyone who enjoys a good read.