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Sing You Home: A Novel [Paperback]

Jodi Picoult
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Oct. 4 2011
Every life has a soundtrack. All you have to do is listen.

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 marked the years she spent trying to get pregnant.

For better or for worse, music is the language of memory. It is also the language of love.

In the aftermath of a series of personal tragedies, Zoe throws herself into her career as a music therapist. When an unexpected friendship 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.

Sing You Home is about identity, love, marriage, and parenthood. It’s about people wanting to do the right thing for the greater good, even as they work to fulfill their own personal desires and dreams. And it’s about what happens when the outside world brutally calls into question the very thing closest to our hearts: family.

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Sing You Home: A Novel + Lone Wolf: A Novel + Harvesting the Heart: A Novel
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Review

“Powerful. . . Gripping.” —Booklist

“Sing You Home deftly personalizes the political, delivering a larger message of tolerance that's difficult to fault.” —Entertainment Weekly

“An immensely entertaining melodrama with crackerjack dialogue that kept me happily indoors for an entire weekend.” —USA Today

“[Jodi Picoult] has crafted another winner. . . Picoult cleverly examines the modern world of reproductive science, how best to nurture a child and what, exactly, being a family means.” —People

“Thouroughly satisfying. Sing You Home truly sings.” —BookPage

“Sing You Home is the book that we, as gay men and woman, will want to hand to our straight friends, neighbors, co-workers, and family members. I’m not saying Picoult is a savior for the gay movement, but she’s created a record of our time.” —Edge (Boston, Chicago, Atlanta, Miami, and Los Angeles)

“Picoult treats all sides of this complex morality tale with honesty and dignity, which is what readers have come to expect from her.” —St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“Determinedly life affirming, with designs on the heart.” —Newark Star-Ledger

About the Author

Jodi Picoult received an AB in creative writing from Princeton and a master’s degree in education from Harvard. The recipient of the 2003 New England Book Award for her entire body of work, she is the author of twenty-one novels, including the #1 New York Times bestsellers House Rules, Handle With Care, Change of Heart, and My Sister’s Keeper, for which she received the American Library Association’s Margaret Alexander Edwards Award. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and three children. Visit her website at JodiPicoult.com.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars `Every life has a soundtrack.' April 6 2011
By Jennifer Cameron-Smith TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Zoe and Max Baxter have spent ten years trying to have a baby. Despite infertility issues, and multiple miscarriages, it looks like their dream is about to come true - Zoe is seven months pregnant. But sadly, things do not go according to plan and she and Max divorce. Afterwards, Zoe throws herself into her career as a music therapist - using music clinically to soothe burn victims in a hospital; to help Alzheimer's patients connect with the present; and to provide solace for hospice patients. And then Vanessa, a school guidance counsellor, asks her to work with a suicidal teenaged girl. Vanessa and Zoe become friends, and then they fall in love and marry. Zoe and Vanessa would like to have their own family, and Zoe remembers that she and Max had three frozen embryos still in storage.

Meanwhile, Max has joined an evangelical church, whose charismatic pastor, Clive Lincoln, has vowed to fight the `homosexual agenda' which he considers threatens traditional family values in America. When Zoe seeks Max's permission for her and Vanessa to use the embryos so that they can have a child, Max, with the help of his church, goes to court to fight for ownership. Private matters become public while lifestyles are dissected and judged.

The story is told through the perspectives of Zoe, Max and Vanessa. While mainly focussed on relationships, it includes issues like alcoholism, cancer, infertility and intolerance.
I didn't enjoy this novel as much as most of the other Jodi Picoult novels I have read. Why? I think it is partly because so many different issues were packed into the story, partly because the ending felt contrived, and partly because I didn't care for most of the characters. And yet, the novel has worked: it's got me thinking about some of the issues involved.

What constitutes a family? `You can't choose who you love'

Jennifer Cameron-Smith
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bookish Thoughts May 30 2011
By Reader Writer Runner TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
When I refer to Jodi Picoult's work as "trashy fiction for snobs," I mean it as a compliment. True, her books border on formulaic (contentious topic + multiple voices + courtroom drama + final plot twist = happy ending) but she does write engaging prose about current, controversial issues. Sing You Home is Picoult's eighteenth novel (so she's doing something right!) and the fifth that I've read. It centers around music therapist Zoe Baxter who, in the span of six months, has a miscarriage, gets divorced, falls in love with her female best friend, remarries and fights in court for the rights to her own embryos. Geez, I thought I was busy baking, running, walking the dog and raising an infant! Predictable? Slightly. Corny? Absolutely. But also thought-provoking: at what point do two cells become an "unborn child?" Can a middle ground exist between atheism and fundamentalism? What does it mean to be a parent? And, perhaps most interestingly, how does one explain the healing power of music? After all, "there is no evolutionary context within which people's response to music makes sense...the only way to be moved by the spirit, so to speak, is to have one in the first place."
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and emotionally gripping Feb. 9 2012
By Mary Lavers TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
I sincerely love when authors--and, perhaps more accurately, publishers--expand their notion of traditional storytelling by writing a book that follows a slightly different format: novels in verse, illustrated novels for adults, stories that are told in a multitude of media. Sometimes the risk doesn't always pay off, but I really enjoy the effort. Jodi Picoult's novel, Sing You Home, falls into that category by being the first novel that I've read that comes with its own soundtrack. The book has a CD included that acts as a companion to the story being told.

The novel's main protagonist is Zoe Baxter, a music therapist who uses music in every aspect of her life, both professionally and personally. While the novel isn't really about music, the author felt that the reader should hear Zoe's voice, since the character uses music and singing so much. Jodi Picoult's good friend Ellen Wilber acted as the voice and musical composer behind all of the tracks on the CD.

While I don't think the novel really needed the soundtrack and the resulting CD is probably not one I would buy just to listen to, I really like the idea behind it. I like the multi-media approach very much. And the novel certainly isn't hindered by the music, even if it does stand up perfectly well on its own.

The story centres around Zoe's failed attempts at conceiving and carrying a child to term, followed by her divorce and subsequent remarriage to a woman named Vanessa. Her lesbian relationship and her attempt to find a way to have a child with her new wife brings a world of criticism from her community and her ex-husband Max, a recovering alcoholic who "finds Jesus" in the form of an anti-gay Evangelical Christian church.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Turning the Pages Review Jan. 25 2012
Format:Hardcover
You can also read my review here: [...]

Where to begin? This book is full of so much emotion that it was hard to not feel swayed one way or another. As someone that works for an Evangenical church, I found this book very hard to digest but not because of the 'anti-Christian' context, because of the 'Christian' context. I guess I am one that falls outside the box when it comes to religion. Believing that a person has a right to choose how they live their lives without it affecting my day-to-day life.

Having also gone through minor infertility issues myself, I found Jodi Picoult's account of the feelings and emotions involved with each failed cycle to be bang on. Understanding the devastation that parents/partners go through is so hard to describe and she did it beautifully.

While I will never be able to fully wrap myself around the 'same-sex' issues (because I haven't dealt with them first or really, second, hand), Sing You Home, has made me realize that there are people out there who struggle each and every day just to get by in a world that is unaccepting, a world that judges/hates/bullys, a world that is cruel. I hope that this book hits home in some of those 'unaccepting' people and makes them realize that it really isn't about them... it's about us.

Overall, this book was wonderfully written and hit home on each and every basis of the story. Never going to far one way or the other and showing each side of the 'story' fairly and accurately (sadly). Another great book by a great author!!
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Another success by Jodi
Jodi is amazing. I love how she takes the most interesting and sometimes taboo topics and weaves beautiful stories around them.
Published 12 days ago by J. Richard
4.0 out of 5 stars Sing you Home
Well done. A different prospective on a gay relationship and the issue regarding not only unborn embryos but also the question of adoption. Well researched.
Published 9 months ago by Beverley Birchard
3.0 out of 5 stars Same old, same old
I'll admit that I secretly love chick-lit and read about two 'fluffy' books a month, mixed in with more substantial novels. Read more
Published on Jan. 23 2012 by 0Clairebear0
2.0 out of 5 stars Boring!
I was thrilled to see this novel sitting on the shelf at our local library and snatched it up thinking I had an enthralling novel to sit down and enjoy. Read more
Published on Jan. 18 2012 by K. LENOVER
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book
I loved the book as I do all Jodi books. It was in great shape, very reasonabe price and shipped very quickly.
Published on Jan. 13 2012 by Mrs. Vanessa Robar
1.0 out of 5 stars Irritating emotional manipulation in the Picoult formula
I was forced to read this by my book group, even though even they had previously agreed that we were tired of the Picoult formula. I hoped to be pleasantly surprised. Read more
Published on Jan. 5 2012 by Calliope51
5.0 out of 5 stars Sing You Home
Not the nicest book, the printed pages are kind of a greyish colour. Though I am sure it is still a great book for $5.
Published on Jan. 1 2012 by Kathy
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought Provoking and Enjoyable
Jodi Picoult is a master. I marveled often at her abilities and frequently stopped to study her writing - when I wasn't busy whipping through the pages to see how this novel would... Read more
Published on Dec 29 2011 by Lydia - Novel Escapes
2.0 out of 5 stars Sing you home
I have read much better books written by Jodi and found this one
totally boring, expected much more, a true disappointment!!!
Published on Aug. 18 2011 by mother
4.0 out of 5 stars Sing You Home
I have read many of Jodi's books and enjoyed all of them. I don't know how she continues to come up with new ideas but as long as she does, I will keep buying! An excellent read.
Published on April 20 2011 by Avid Grandma
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