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In our pages: a review of Jodi Picoult's 'Sing You Home'

March 15, 2011 | 12:05 pm

Jodipicoult_singyouhome In Tuesday's Los Angeles Times, we review bestselling author Jodi Picoult's 18th novel, "Sing You Home." Reviewer Susan Salter Reynolds writes:

The closer she gets to real life, real people, real problems, the better the novel. In a country as polarized as ours, for a Democrat as active as Picoult (who gives a lot of money to various causes and institutions) it's not always easy to make, say, the anti-abortion activist, the anti-gay-marriage minister or the school board bureaucrat banning books into sympathetic characters. But the writer must try. For without the insight into the motives and convictions of characters on both sides of an issue, the novel will fall flat.

When the novel opens, Zoe and Max have just had yet another miscarriage. The cost of in vitro fertilization has used up their savings (they are not wealthy), and the emotional strain of Zoe's determination and desire to force her body into motherhood has finally overwhelmed Max, who struggles with alcoholism and low self-esteem.

There are questions of sexuality, fertility, tradition and parenthood; the characters, facing difficult choices, engage in a legal tussle. "We may read about these issues in the paper every day," Salter Reynolds writes, "but we cannot know (unless we have lived through them) what it means to have one's life contorted by them." Read the rest of the review here. 

-- Carolyn Kellogg

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