To preface this review, I’d like to say that I am a huge fan of Jodi Picoult. Nineteen Minutes, The Pact, and Change of Heart are just a few of my favorites. These novels are well-written, captivating, and offer a glimpse into a world that is both foreign and recognizable. Generally speaking, I commend Picoult and praise her work.
However, I was unpleasantly surprised at how irritating her writing became about halfway through Sing You Home. The novel starts off with a tragic inability to bring a baby to term for a couple who wants nothing more than to raise a child together. The stress of being unable to become parents despite all the money (which is tight) they have put into the process causes an insurmountable strain on their marriage and divide between the pair. The husband leaves and they get divorced. Okay, so far it makes sense and gives readers a heartbreaking insight into the world of infertility.
All of a sudden, the ex-husband is a devout Christian in a church that is basically the Westboro Baptists of the fictional world and the ex-wife is a lesbian getting married to a woman. This is about the point that I start getting annoyed, and perhaps it’s just at the church in the story and their hatred of homosexuality, but either way the plot twists are putting a reasonable story into a ridiculous situation. Sure, maybe a completely unreligious alcoholic man who lost his family would choose to turn to God to make his life better. And I’m not an expert on the topic, so who am I to not believe that a woman could have been married to a man and not realize until late in life that she is a lesbian (after all, love is love). But for all of it to come together at one time seems unlikely.
The ex-couple fights over 3 fertilized eggs because the ex-wife wanted to have babies with her new wife, but the ex-husband doesn’t want his “children” raised improperly in a house of sin. Do you see why I’m getting annoyed?
THEN on top of all of that, the ex-husband realizes he’s in love with his brother’s wife, the ex-wife loses the case because she gives up in order to not be charged with sexual assault on the pastor’s daughter (who she was helping in her profession as a music therapist- the most interesting part of the story, by the way) who was possibly a lesbian as well, and then in the end the ex-husband gives the eggs to the ex-wife anyway.
My point is, all of the ridiculous twists and turns made the novel read like a dramatic TV show. The characters were under-developed and all the shocking plot lines felt like a cop-out for an author whose writing is way too good to need it. I was truly disappointed that Picoult felt she needed to create the most absurd circumstances to discuss such important topics as infertility, LGBT rights/oppression, and acceptance of both change and differences. Her writing and ability to convey emotion and sincerity is much better than it has been protrayed in Sing You Home.