By Joanne Tailele
Author: Jodi Picoult. Published by Artia Books 2011.
Author Jodi Picoult is never afraid to take on controversial issues, and Sing You Home tackles not one, but many topics from gay rights, the evangelical Christian church and reproductive science. She objectively presents all sides through the voices of three protagonists. Sometimes uncomfortable in her frank portrayal of these issues, I was forced to examine my own beliefs and determine if they could test the throes of opposition or did it sway or change what I thought I believed?
A loving couple, Zoe and Max Baxter wanted desperately to have a child. When things didn’t happen naturally, they entered the complex science of in vitro fertilization. Many miscarriages and one stillborn child later, the couple are torn apart, eventually ending in divorce.
Zoe finds solace for herself in her work as a music therapist, using music to soothe the pains of burn victims, bringing out an Alzheimer’s patient for a few lucid moments or easing a dying child’s fears struggling with cancer. Through her work she meets a colleague who shares her passion for her work, and becomes a good friend and unexpected romantic connection.
Max turns to the bottle for comfort and quickly sinks to the bottom of the barrel, or should we say the bottle. Rescued by his evangelical brother and the New Life Church, life appears to finally have meaning and purpose.
But what happens after a divorce when one of the former couple decides it is time for a family and wants to use the three frozen embryos waiting at the clinic to be given the chance at life. Zoe and Max forgot about the embryos when they divided up their property during the divorce. Are they property? Or people? Who gets the right to decide what to do with them?
Max, Zoe and Vanessa struggle with public opinions that run the gambit from left to far right wing. Will that affect their own beliefs or interfere with their desires for happiness?
A courtroom battle ensues bringing many different voices to light. Everyone has an opinion. But who is right? Is this a story about Right to Life, Gay Rights or the building of today’s modern family? What constitutes a family in 2011? Picoult will test your beliefs and perhaps shed a new light on areas you had never considered. Extremely controversial, this is one of her best at stirring up those brain cells and making you think.
Joanne Tailele has been a full time resident of Marco Island for two years. Born in Youngstown, her last “home” for 12 years was Columbus, Ohio. Between Joanne and her husband, she has six children and nine grandchildren. She works as a receptionist for a local real estate company.