Reading a Jodi Picoult novel is like eating a piece of my great-aunt Gloria’s homemade peanut butter fudge during Christmas. The first piece is always the best, but each additional piece is just as good and just as filling. The very first Picoult novel I picked up was My Sister’s Keeper, and even though I’d thoroughly enjoyed every single novel she’s produced since then, I always had a special place in my heart for it and always cited it as my personal favorite.
That all changed this year, though, when I picked up Sing You Home. To say I was blown away is an understatement–it was a masterpiece from beginning to end, and just like the peanut butter fudge I devour every year, I was left with a sugar high that knocked me on my butt for days.
Zoe and Max have been trying to conceive for years, and have been hounded by fertility issues. When their most recent pregnancy results in a still born son, their marriage begins to crumble and they soon decide to divorce. Each takes a completely different path–Max moves in with his brother, Reid, and his wife, Liddy. He goes down a dark path of drunken debauchery, but soon finds himself saved by Reid and Liddy’s pastor and joins their Evangelical church.
Zoe, on the other hand, finds herself in a blossoming friendship with Vanessa, a lesbian who works as a counselor for the local high school. The two soon fall in love, and decide to marry, even though the state of Massachusetts won’t recognize same-sex marriage and they have to travel out of state in a snow storm for the ceremony.
With their relationship in a good place, they decide to have a baby. Because of her previous health issues, Zoe is unable to conceive, but Vanessa is perfectly capable of bringing a baby to term. They decide to use Zoe’s frozen embryos from her previous pregnancy attempts, but when they ask Max to sign the permission form, they find themselves in the court battle of a lifetime.
As in most Picoult novels, the main focus of the book is the trial and how each side presents their case. It’s difficult to figure out just which side is going to win, though if you’re anything like me, you’ll be rooting for one side over the other.
Picoult deftly takes on two hot-button issues–infertility and same-sex marriage–and does so with serious research and credibility behind her. There’s no doubt that readers will receive an education in this book, and there’s also no doubt that it’s sure to bring controversy.
Nevertheless, Sing You Home is one of Picoult’s finest novels to date. Her characters are flawed yet relatable, the plotline is believable, and the ending left me smiling.