Let me start by saying that I LOVE LOVE LOVE this novel! I heard about it while watching The Ellen Degeneres Show one day and ordered it on Amazon a few minutes later.
The story follows Zoe, a 40-year-old musical therapist married to a man named Max. Zoe and Max have been trying to have a baby for the entirety of their marriage (nine years) and after a lot of IVF, 2 miscarriages, and a stillbirth, they get divorced. Max is an alcoholic who is “saved” by Jesus and joins the Eternal Glory Church led by a man named Pastor Clive. Zoe reconnects with a woman named Vanessa who asks her to do musical therapy with a depressed teenager at her school, Lucy. The two women connect immediately and fall in love.
What I found really interesting about this novel is that it had a CD with all original songs sung by “Zoe” (they’re actually sung by Ellen Wilber). Picoult offers breaks in the novel for when to listen to each song to let the reader hear and feel what Zoe is feeling other than what is written in the text. It was a new way of reading and I really enjoyed it.
There’s also change in narrators throughout the novel. I sometimes don’t like this because I feel like I get too lost in who’s talking, but I thought it really worked well because you get every side of the story and not just one side so you know what every character is thinking and the reasons behind their actions. There’s also change in font that correspond to each character. For example, Zoe has a clean, semi-cursive font, almost like musical notes, Vanessa has a very clean and clear font which can add to her job as a psychologist, and Max has a very bold and bulky font, which could be associated with his need to be very masculine.
I enjoyed reading Vanessa’s chapters the most because she had a very quirky and funny way of speaking and I could connect with her the most. She told funny stories like trying to save up for a pair of x-ray glasses that didn’t turn out to be what she expected and at the end says, “I tell you this as a cautionary tale: beware of getting what you want. It’s bound to disappoint you.”
That’s not to say that I didn’t connect with Zoe’s chapters. There’s a part where Zoe goes to the bottom of the pool to look up at the lights on the ceiling. I remember doing this as a kid; I always loved water and still do. She says at one point that when she was younger she wanted to grow up to be a mermaid; one of my childhood goals. It’s cool seeing little bits of yourself represented in the characters of a novel. It always makes for a better read.
The writing is very fresh. It’s quirky and funny. Lines like “just in case you aren’t sure that the Highlands Inn is lesbian friendly after you call its phone number (877-LES-B-INN)” kept me laughing as I read.
Sing You Home is one of those novels that made me feel attached to the characters, like I knew them personally, like if I saw Zoe and Vanessa on the street I’d know exactly who they are and feel like I could talk to them. I read all 466 pages in two days and struggled with putting the book down. I needed to know what happened to these people who I felt so close to. It’s always an amazing feeling when a book lets you do that.
Ellen and Portia Degeneres are also mentioned in the book, which is kinda cool since Ellen actually bought the rights to the novel and is producing the movie (I can’t wait for tha to come out!) You can read the AfterEllen article here.
And you can watch Ellen’s interview with Jodi Picoult here:
And here’s a trailer for the book, which features one of the songs on the CD:
Be sure to pick up a copy! You won’t regret it! A portion of the proceeds goes to The Trevor Project.