What a magnificent novel!
Here, author Jodi Picoult takes the issue of Gay Rights, and how ugly something personal can turn in the hands of lawyers, politicians, and pastors in their quest to fan a hot-button issue for their own ends.
Zoe Baxter is a music therapist, and so Ms. Picoult has infused the audio version of this novel with original music by Ellen Wilber. Zoe doesn’t make much money but she has two passions in life: her job as a music therapist to troubled teenagers, and her wish to become a mother.
When that second wish is thwarted in the cruelest way possible, and her husband Max abandons her just when she needs him the most, Zoe eventually picks herself up and opens herself up to new friends.
Enter Vanessa Shaw, who works at the same school as Zoe, and hired her to work with Lucy DuBois, a suicidal teen.
While Zoe and Vanessa are having lunch together and enjoying everything their community has to offer, Max is inhabiting his brother’s basement, in an alcoholic haze, wondering what to do with the rest of his life.
Eventually, Max finds Jesus, sobers up, and joins brother Reid’s right-wing Evangelical church. Reid and his wife Liddy are thrilled, and soon introduce Max to Pastor Clive Lincoln, the head of their church. Max’s religious experiences give purpose to his life, provide him with a living, a community of friends, and help him to keep (mostly) away from the alcohol.
Meanwhile, Zoe finds much to her surprise that she is in love with Vanessa, and the two marry and set up house together. Naturally, they want children, but Zoe is now unable to produce any. However, there are three frozen embryos left over from her various attempts with Max, and Vanessa is willing to gestate them.
All she needs is Max’s permission, and she and Vanessa can have their family.
But Max is in thrall to Pastor Clive, who knows the kind of lawyers most likely to create the most mischief in a Gay Rights case. As an Evangelical, Pastor Clive finds Zoe to be “deviant” and her lifestyle “sinful.” As such, he wants Max to give the embryos to his brother Reid so that Reid’s wife Liddy can finally have a child. (The infertility problems that bedevil Max, also bedevil his brother Reid.)
And so a circus ensues at the courthouse, where both Vanessa and Zoe are raked over the coals for being Gay, while Pastor Clive’s hand-picked lawyer Wade Preston whips up the crowd as he dissects the reputations of both women, in order to show unsuitable they are as would-be parents.
I won’t tell you what happens at the end of this novel, so as not to spoil it for those of you who have not yet experienced it. But it is wonderful. Five Stars.Tap for your copy of Jodi Picoult’s SING YOU HOME
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