Sing You Home: A Novel by Jodi Picoult

 Summary ~ Sing You Home:

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.

Where to start?  Throughout the reading of this book I felt that I would not be able to review it because a lot of the time it made me so mad.  Sing You Home is full of heated topics plucked from the society we live in today.  Gay Marriage, divorce, the Christian Right, IVF and legal rights.  I don’t know if Picoult tries to write from a neutral place but in this book I felt that her writing was on my side of the coin.  Let’s just say I was very happy with the ending and if you have read or are planning to read Sing You Home then you will know where I stand.  Some characters seem to be written with a heavy hand and others came across as gently written with an authors love.  Let me just add that while reading parts of the book where certain characters where spewing words I felt physically ill.

Picoult’s writing is strong in this book.  Her character development progresses beautifully, especially with the character named Max.  As a reader I felt frustrated, pissed off and amazed at what I was reading.  The story is constructed perfectly in my opinion.  Zoe, Vanessa, Liddy, Reid, Mama Dara and the legal teams they hire to do battle for them are all so strong and vivid that I forgot at times that I was reading a work of fiction.  In my opinion though Max was the deepest, most thoroughly written of all the characters.  Max is full of flaws that make him the most believable character but also at times the weakest character I’ve ever read.  The care that was taken when developing Max was obvious and appreciated by me.  Picoult could have written him completely different and that would have changed things for the story and the characters that live in it.  Thank goodness she wrote him just the way she did. 

If you like to read a book that makes your blood boil no matter where you stand morally, spiritually and ethically than pick up Sing You Home and read it.  If you shy away from hot topics in the media then I think you should read this book.  It will make you uncomfortable but remember it’s fiction.  If you like to learn things and come away from a reading experience feeling more knowledgeable about topics than pick up this book.  I don’t think you’ll regret it!

*Update ~ I don’t know why I was in such a rush to write/post my review as soon as I finished reading SING YOU HOME but in my haste I forgot to include my rating.  I didn’t realize I had forgotten to rate the book until I updated my reading status on Goodreads a moment ago!  I gave it four stars.

{Rating ~ 4 out of 5}

Sunday Salon/Today’s Favorite Song

This week/weekend has just flown by.  My friend Alison lent me her copy of My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult so I could read it before we see the movie version when it comes out at the end of the month.  Today I went to Beastmomma‘s bridal shower which was lovely and just the beginning of the wedding festivities that pick up on Thursday and run through Sunday evening.  This evening Hubby and I saw No Doubt live in concert at Nissan Pavilion in Northern Virginia.  Gwen and the Boys were FANTASTICALLY AMAZING!!!!  It was so wicked cool to see Ms. Stefani in person and hear all the bands great songs.  There were over 24,000 people in attendance and when No Doubt performed Just A Girl, the estrogen in the pavilion was intense. 

I tried to link the video of the band performing Just a Girlon The Ellen Show last month but it didn’t work.  Sorry!  I did find this footage on YouTube of No Doubt’s first late night network television performance on Late Night with Conan O’Brien from January 1996.  It’s the song Just A Girl again but it really is cool to see their energy back then and compare it to now, thirteen years later and kids.

What Are YOU Reading?

I’m reading “Nineteen Minutes”by Jodi Picoult right now.  As I mentioned in a previous post, I really loved her latest novel, “Change Of Heart”, but wasn’t sure what to expect with this one.  I had doubts going into this book as well as high hopes.  I lived in Denver, CO from August 1998 to July 1999.  The morning of April 20th, 1999 I was at work and looking forward to dinner with my boyfriend at the time and his roommate and his girlfriend Kristen, when the news broke that a shooting had occurred at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado.  The whole country stopped in it’s tracks and the Denver area fell to it’s knees in despair.  Two teenagers had gone on a shooting spree and then killed themselves in their high school.  Kristen and I attended the memorial at the high school a couple of days later.  Kristen and I couldn’t tear ourselves away from the news that whole week.  I actually kept the Vans sneakers I wore that day that became covered in mud for years an years without washing the mud away. 

I understand that Picoult did a massive amount of research for this book including interviews with people affected by the Columbine Massacre.  So far I don’t like the flow of “Nineteen Minutes” as well as “Change of Heart” but I am happy that though I am reading the same author’s work I feel like it’s a very different book.  I have stopped reading James Petterson for the sole reason that all of his books read the same and just flow together into one long story after awhile.  I do feel like I need to be taking notes as I read “Nineteen Minutes” because there are so many characters and with the flashbacks and I find myself having to look back to what I already read for clues.  I’m about a quarter of the way done so far so I’ll let you know how it’s going as I continue. 

What are you reading right now?  Are you happy with it or are you regretting picking it up?  Please leave a comment below if you care to.

Today’s Favorite Song

The storm has moved on up North towards Mainland Japan.  Okinawa is drenched in sunshine and tickled by soft winds today.  Island living at it’s best!  Driving around with the A/C on and the windows down (I know it’s silly) feels so good and having the iPod blasting through the speakers is perfection.  Today is perfect for the music of Eric Clapton.  I enjoy all of his styles, the rock of Cream and when Clapton plays the blues your heart breaks.  But today I was listening to his 80’s stuff.  Songs like “It’s In The Way That You Use It”, “She’s Waiting” and my favorite, “I’ve Got A Rock N’ Roll Heart”

I have started Jodi Picoult’s NINETEEN MINUTES and am liking it so far.  I find myself being a paranoid reader with this book though.  I keep expecting something terrible to happen or a twist to floor me but so far it’s the violent act that the story centers around as well as character building that fills up the first pages of the book.  I really loved CHANGE OF HEART so we’ll see if I feel the same way about this one. 

Sunday Salon ~ Books On The Way

The Sunday

Last week I joined a great little on-line group called The Sunday SalonThe Sunday Salon is a virtual reading room where book lovers pledge to set aside time on Sunday’s to read and then create a post on their blog and share about what they read.  It’s a great system and I can’t wait to get started.  Unfortunately this Sunday was not going to find me participating.  I have three books on their way to me in the mail and I haven’t wanted to delve into something else while waiting.  The three books are Barbara Walter’s “Audition”, Jodi Picoult’s “Nineteen Minutes”, and the Planet Books reading group selection “Matrimony” by Joshua Jenkins. 

If you are wondering what happened to the last book I was reading, “Boomsday”, well I lost interest.  I hate it when that happens but when it does there is no climbing out of that hole for me.  I think that the topic being so political and the real life Presidential election coverage just was too much for me.  I didn’t feel like I was reading for enjoyment as the story continued.  It was a good book and I am sure I will re-visit it again in the future, but I needed to put it back on the shelf for the time being. 

I hope my order arrives in the early part of this week so I can dig in (I’m especially excited about Barbara Walter’s memoir) and participate in The Sunday Salon next weekend.

Book Review ~ Change of Heart

A Novel

I just finished Jodi Picoult’s “Change of Heart” and I loved it!  I found myself thinking about the story and characters many times throughout the two weeks or so that I was reading it and wondering what was going to happen to them and how the story would play out.  This was my first experience reading a Picoult novel and I was not disappointed.  The topics of religion, the possibility of a Messiah floating through the U.S. prison system and the lives that were affected by selfish acts of sexual abuse were woven together so beautifully and intricately that I know I will be thinking about this story for a while to come.  The characters were so clear and bright to me though I did have some trouble flipping from one first-person account to the next as the chapters (not really chapters though) flew through my fingers. 

I would recommend this book to someone who is looking for something completely different and thought provoking.  Remember that this book is the one that lifted me off of my reading block stump.  I am so glad that I picked it up at the Base PX.  I am interested in reading Picoult’s “Nineteen Minutes” about a small town high school shooting because I lived in Denver when the Columbine shootings devastated the area and the country.  I attended the memorial service at the high school and saw, with my own eyes, the boarded up windows where students and faculty had jumped to safety on April 20th, 1999. 

Spring Is Busting Out All Over!

Spring has definitely arrived here on Okinawa.  It seems like overnight the weather went from comfortable and cool to warm and muggy.  YUCK!!  There are other places you can see that spring has arrived.  I guess one is here at WordPress.  They changed the layout of the Dashboard section (for those of you not blogging on WordPress the Dashboard is where the blogger goes to check stats and write posts).  I don’t know what I think yet. 

Another place that shows signs of new life is the book industry.  The Washington Post has a list of new titles being released this spring and there are a lot of books I will be checking into.  Yesterday I picked up Bill Bryson’s “A Walk In The Woods“.

  Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail (Official Guides to the Appalachian Trail)

I’m about halfway through Jodi Picoult’s “Change of Heart”.  I’m really enjoying this book and it’s characters.  The story lines are interesting and I like the way the characters are linked together.  The Washington Post has an article about the book HERE

I Think I’m Back On The Wagon!

Yesterday  I picked up the DVD’s “I Am Legend” and “Atonement”, “Guitar Hero III ~ Legends of Rock” for our PS3 as well as a new book.  I know, I know… I have tons of books I haven’t read yet on my book shelves at home.  Well, I think that a new purchase (in person and not an on-line buy) was needed to lift me from my fog.  I bought Jodi Picoult’s newest release, “Change of Heart“. 

A NovelI have never read any of Picoult’s novels but did get her comic book/graphic novel of “Wonder Woman ~ Love & Murder” back in January.  A great book blog out there called GIRLS JUST READING and they have a post about spending an hour with Jodi Picoult and hearing her discuss and promote her latest title.

Love and Murder (Wonder Woman (DC Comics))

I started Change of Heart last night in bed and picked up where I left off when I woke up this morning.  I haven’t gotten very far but so far it’s interesting and I like the tones of true life, everyday topics.  Yes, those topics are murder, court testimony and a jury sentencing a criminal to death, but the feeling of the story is real which maybe I needed right now. 

Are any of you Jodi Picoult fans and if so what are your favorites of her novels?  Do you have anything you may be reading right now that you would like to tell us about here at Planet Books?   

3 Out of 33

I finished the third of 33 books I will hopefully read this year.  I know some of you may not agree that it is a “book” but it was suspenseful, beautiful, had a plot and was a comic book.  Wonder Woman: Love & Murderby bestselling author Jodi Picoult was great!  I haven’t sat down and read a comic book to read a comic book since junior high or so (Elf Quest series) but I did last night and enjoyed it immensely.  It made me curious about Jodi Picoult’s novels and what her appeal is that caused the comic world to ask her to write for one of the icons of the comic world, Wonder Woman.  Have any of you read any of her books and if so which ones and what did you think?