Wednesday, April 6, 2011
"Sing You Home" ~ Jodi Picoult The Review
Jodi Picoult is the voice of the everyday woman today. While one may not always agree with her, I believe that she attempts to give as complete a perspective of comtemporary issues as any social "observer" can. In "Sing You Home," Jodi has made no exception.
Like the message or not. Jodi is what used to be known in ancient times as a "scop." Scop means a bard or news-carrier from Anglo-Saxson England. It was a word practically obsolete by the 14th c., but revived again in the 18th c. It is a definition of those who carried news and stories from town to town in ancient cities before people could read or write. What I mean to say here is that Ms Picoult will be known, I believe, as an author who recorded our contemporary times and social struggles in such a way that the general population could understand them...like a scop who stopped in villages and spoke around fire gatherings giving the latest news of the "world."
"Sing You Home," is a controversial novel. And, it is a good one. The characters are real; their feelings and personal struggles are heavy. Though you may not agree with every decision they make, you can understand why they make them, ultimately. My daughter who has experienced the personal pain and emotional upheavals associated with IVF, told me she had to put the book down. She was moved to tears, relating to the reality that Ms Picoult wrote into her characters. She was hit once again with the emotional passages she had walked. "How can she tell about something so intimate?" she wanted to know. That's the gift Jodi Picoult has. The gift of conveying the realities of emotional pain, horror, love and healing...the conditions of life.
In "Sing You Home," the story guides us through a marriage that disintegrates and then works its way around to something more interesting. We learn how innovative therapies such as music can reach an otherwise locked-up teenager. And, we find that a person of age doesn't mean they are unwilling to learn and be valuable contributors to other's lives. While it's unrealistic to expect everyone to agree with decisions made by Picoult's characters, we are given an opportunity to envision the situations that many encounter in our society with it's alternative choices.
Jodi Picoult is an author of significant writing skills. It is clear that she is capable of reaching a wide range of readers. Her goal is to do just that. I believe she is more than capable of narrowing her scope to a more specific following, even to her own personal perspectives alone...but she choses to reach more people with views that are as multi-faceted as possible. This is the gift of a true writer who is committed to giving herself to her readers for the good of all. A writer who sees her purpose as shedding light on the issues of the day, and allowing her readers to make their own, more informed decisions about them.
I highly recommend "Sing You Home." It's a novel that will make you cry, make you think outside the box...it will make you angry, and it will expand your sense of what could be done to resolve what seems unresolvable. It's a novel of our times for good or for bad. It sheds a light on what different people and groups of people are thinking and living, and for the most part, I think Jodi does that in a way that's unsurpassed by other writers today. She knows her readers, and she writes for them.
I don't think the Christian perspective received a full and complete audit; but, nor do I think the teenager in her novel was fully developed, nor the reality of dealing with different relationships. There is much that could be written about these that was left unsaid in "Sing You Home," so I'm wondering if it's a segway into a second book, or if she meant to leave things open ended.
As a gift, Jodi has written some song lyrics which her friend has set to music and sings. She has added this as a CD and it is attached to her book. It is an accompaniment to every chapter. I'm not one to listen to music as I read, so I have listened to it separately. I appreciate the gift and the inner work it took for Jodi Picoult to share with us.
If you haven't already gotten this book, I hope you'll go now and buy it. It's an important and excellent read. Your book groups will have a fantastic time with it, too!
Posted by Deb at 5:27 PM