Saturday, April 02, 2011

Sing You Home

Where did this week go?  I had this blog post half written in my head in preparation to post right after our Wednesday night Yummy Mummy Book Club Twitter meeting.  Then....poof.  The week was over.

In my March Break post, I mentioned that I had read best selling author Jodi Picoult's latest, Sing You Home.  It was an exciting YMBC meeting.  Our fearless leader, Wanda, really out did herself for this one.  She struck a deal with Simon & Schuster Canada to get us complimentary copies of the book.  Then, when Picoult was touring in Canada, she coordinated passes for YMBC members to go to the readings.

Sing You Home covers A LOT of ground all told from the different perspectives of the three main characters:  Zoe, Max and Vanessa.   The book also included a CD with songs written specifically for certain sections of the book.

In a nutshell: Zoe and Max have exhausted their savings and marriage trying numerous rounds of in vitro fertilization to have a baby.  The last round ends tragically and results in Max leaving.  Max is a recovering alcoholic who falls off the wagon and then finds God in the form of a slick minister from an extreme right wing Evangelical group (whose members also include his brother and sister-in-law).  Zoe on the other hand discovers Vanessa, falls in love and crosses state lines (from Rhode Island to Massachusetts) to get married.  When Zoe remembers three frozen embryos remain from her and Max's in vitro attempts, she goes to him to sign permission for her and Vanessa to use them to try and get Vanessa pregnant.  So there's infertility, divorce, alcoholism, homosexuality, same sex marriage, religious right; I started to lose count of the issues that were being touched upon.

You can probably guess where this goes.  Picoult goes extreme all over the place.  From the rights issues of same sex couples to the irrationality of the extreme Christian right all coming together in high drama court room scenes.  There is absolutely no grey area and you know exactly where Picoult stands on the issues.   I know she was trying to prove some points but I found her portrayal of the right wing Christianity so heavy handed it became almost cartoonish to me and I started skimming over the vitriol.

I did enjoy reading Sing You Home but not for the big issues. I loved the little things that I didn't think received enough attention.  For example, Zoe is a music therapist.  I found the notion of using music as therapy for any number of situations:  autistic children, elderly hospice patients, dementia patients, suicidal teenager, incredibly fascinating.  Zoe's mother Dara is a flaky, new age, life coach.  She was charming and hilarious and had some of the best dialogue.

I applaud what Picoult tried to tackle with Sing You Home.  I have been a long time supporter of the rights of LGBT individuals, particularly as it pertains to marriage and raising families. This is one of the most divisive issues facing our society.  I hope, perhaps naively, that Sing You Home, makes some readers re-think their opinions and create healthy, productive conversations that aren't about right and left, or right and wrong; just humanity.


Michelle said... [Reply to comment]

I just cant seem to make myself read a Jodi Picoult.... so I am glad to read your blog. Maybe one day I will. Thankfully I just finished Best Laid Plans.... I may get through this election now!

Nikki said... [Reply to comment]

@Michelle Honestly, probably would never have picked up a Jodi Picoult book if it wasn't for the YMBC. Which is why I joined so I would have to read stuff I wouldn't normally pick up for myself! I'll have to try Best Laid Plans. Pigeon English is the next on my list after Steve Jobs (which is excellent).