Sing You Home


Author:  Jodi Picoult

Title:  Sing You Home

Genre: GLBTQ; Domestic Fiction

Publication Date: March 1, 2011

Number of Pages:  480

Geographical Setting: Rhode Island

Time Period:  Present Day

Plot Summary: Zoe and Max have been trying to have a baby for 9 years.  After a final round of IVF, and a stillborn baby, Max cannot take it any longer, and the couple divorces. Both go their separate ways and deal with the tragedy and life change differently.  Max initially goes back to being an alcoholic, but after a very bad accident he finds Jesus and becomes a Christian fundamentalist.  Zoe throws herself into her work as a music therapist and an unexpected friendship with a high school counselor blooms into love.  However, their love is not accepted by everyone.  When the two want to use the frozen embryos from Zoe and Max’s last round of In-virto, many people, including Max, wish to stop them from having a family. This emotionally charged and heavily issue-oriented novel explores the boundaries of love, marriage, parenthood and most importantly identity.

Subject Headings:  Gay and Lesbian rights; Music Therapy; Christian Fundamentalism; Infertility; In-vitro Fertilization; Lesbian relationships

Appeal:  Issue-oriented, thought-provoking, character-driven, lyrical prose, fast-paced, haunting, multiple points of view, compelling, emotionally charged, domestic, literary, moving

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: thought-provoking, multiple points of view, emotionally charged

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?):

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

1)     Case Studies in Music Therapy by Kenneth E. Bruscia – This book contains 42 stories of music therapy told by the patients, not the therapists.  It includes all types of cases where music therapy was used, from individual to group therapy, from psychiatric, medical, or educational purposes. This is a good non-fiction read-alike for Sing You Home because the character Zoe is a music therapist and there is much about this profession in the novel.

2)     Revive Us Again: the Reawakening of American Fundamentalism by Joel A. Carpenter – This well researched book explores the history of American fundamentalism focusing on the years 1925-1950.  It includes anecdotes, analysis, and really shows the nature of the fundamentalist movement during this time period when many may have not even known the movement was in full swing.  This would be a good non-fiction read-alike for Sing You Home because the character Max becomes a member of a Christian fundamentalist church and there is much regarding their beliefs in this novel.

3)     Surviving In-vitro Fertilization: IVF Stories from the Women who have been there by Karen Daniels – A compilation of true stories of In-vitro fertilization told by the women who lived through the process. They share their thoughts, stories, and lessons learned through their IVF journeys.  A good read-alike for Sing You Home because the majority of the story involves embryos that were created when Zoe and Max had to undergo in-vitro.  There is much about the process and issues surrounding in-vitro in the novel.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

1)     Between Friends by Kristy Kiernan – The story of two women who have been friends since childhood.  When Ali and her husband had trouble getting pregnant, Cora donated her eggs, resulting in Ali’s daughter Letty.  That was 14 years ago.  Now Cora has found out that she has a hereditary disease which may have been passed on through her donated egg and Ali is considering asking Cora for another frozen embryo even amid marriage trouble.  This moving, inspirational story of friendship is similar to Sing You Homein that it is a work of domestic fiction that it discusses infertility issues but also issues of marriage and relationships.  (moving, emotionally charged, fertility issues)

2)     Trace Elements of Random Tea by Felicia Luna Lemus – Coming-of-age story of a young gay, Latina girl, Leticia.  She has run away from her strict, but loving grandmother to live in the big city of LA.  She encounters love, loss, and trouble along the way.  Her ties to her family, however, are very strong and when the time comes she reconciles with her grandmother.  Similar to Sing You Home because it is also domestic fiction that involves a lesbian couple and strong family relationships. (GLBTQ, domestic fiction, moving)

3)     Then Came You by Jennifer Weiner – This is the story of four women whose lives become connected when one of the women decides she wants a baby, but encounters fertility issues.  India is in her 40’s and desires a baby, but issues arise, so she and her older husband decide to go another route and try surrogacy.  Jules is a college student who decides to donate her eggs to acquire some extra money.  Annie is a married mother of two who becomes the surrogate to help her family financially.  Finally there is Bettina, India’s step-daughter who becomes the baby’s legal mother.  Each woman tells their own story and of course their paths end up intersecting.  Similar to Sing You Home because the story is told by multiple characters and involves infertility issues as well as domestic family issues.  (emotionally charged, character-driven, moving)

Name: Michelle Worthington


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