Rating: 5/5 stars.
Sing You Home is my new favorite novel by Jodi Picoult, and as of now (mid-March, 2011) my favorite book of the year.
There are so many things I wish I could say coherently about this book. I was at a loss of words when I finished it three hours ago, and I still am speechless. But I want to write this review while the emotions it evoked are still at their strongest.
The writing was superb as always. Picoult doesn’t use a lot of “SAT” vocabulary, or extremely complex sentence structure, but the way she engages readers with detail and finesse is extraordinary. I am always tempted to read just a single page more, then just one chapter more, until I’ve gone through the entire 400+ page book. I even forgot to put this on my to-read shelf on Goodreads.
Picoult’s characters are splendid – by the middle of the book I was immersed in Zoe’s yearning for children and Max’s difficulty with alcohol abuse, and I felt like they were real, breathing people. Vanessa’s no-nonsense attitude I admired, and side characters like Dara and Lucy I came to love as well.
The element that really made me appreciate this novel was Picoult’s take on gay marriage, and homosexual inequality in contemporary society. I cannot adequately state how inspiring this book was to me in that regard. Here is one of the many powerful quotes that I had to stop and re-read (I even put this in my favorite quotes section on Facebook)…
“I remember my mother telling me that, when she was a little girl in Catholic school, the nuns used to hit her left hand every time she wrote with it. Nowadays, if a teacher did that, she’d probably be arrested for child abuse. The optimist in me wants to believe sexuality will eventually become like handwriting: there’s no right way or wrong way to do it. We’re all just wired differently.
It’s also worth nothing that, when you meet someone, you never bother to ask if he’s right- or left- handed.
After all: Does it really matter to anyone other than the person holding the pen?”