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Songs of the Humpback Whale

3.18  ·  Rating Details ·  24,600 Ratings  ·  1,751 Reviews
Sometimes finding your own voice
is a matter of listening to the heart....

Jodi Picoult's powerful novel portrays an emotionally charged marriage that changes course in one explosive moment....For years, Jane Jones has lived in the shadow of her husband, renowned San Diego oceanographer Oliver Jones. But during an escalating argument, Jane turns on him with an alarming v
Paperback, 346 pages
Published October 1st 2001 by Washington Square Press (first published March 25th 1992)
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20th out of 24 books — 1,556 voters
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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May 30, 2007 HiphopQuyn rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: hardcore Picoult fans
I've been reading some of Jodi Picoult's books and generally find them fairly entertaining, on the trashy side with some good lines thrown in every now and then. this one, reprinted due to her recent popularity, however, is not a winner. it took me forever to read and the style was annoying and inconsistent. supposedly told backwards from five different perspectives, it's actually in a jumbled chronology with confusing skips back and forth between characters, resulting in the reader not feeling ...more
Jul 03, 2007 Erin rated it really liked it
Shelves: adultfiction
Jodi Picoult's first novel, Songs of the Humpback Whale, was my latest read. In it, she establishes her writing style and tendency to use multiple perspectives. Jane Jones is a speech pathologist, living in California in the shadow of her husband Oliver's fame. Oliver does research on humpback whales, and is well-known for his discovery of whale songs and their repetition. When the book begins, Jane and Oliver get into another of their fights, and Jane strikes Oliver. Confronted by her past as a ...more
Apr 21, 2008 Gina rated it did not like it
February 2007 BotM. I tried to remain optimistic while reading this book. It wasn't one I voted for, but I read it anyway. It's been read, and I'm glad it's over and done with. It wasn't the type of book that I like, and while I usually don't give a book a bad opinion, this one, as much as I hate to say this, stank. OMG! All of it was in the first person; there were no dividing chapters, just the characters themselves. Everything was written in the first person. While you don't pay that much of ...more
Cameo S
Jul 09, 2008 Cameo S rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 23, 2009 McKell rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 17, 2009 Laura rated it did not like it
Shelves: ditched-it
This book is awful. Jodi Picoult has written too many books too quickly - she's lacking a good story and apparently doesn't research her material. The book is written from five different perspectives - which would be fine but she doesn't go in chronological order and she doesn't consistenly date the entries. You have to guess the time frame.

Next, when the mom and daughter arrive in Salt Lake she gives an AWFUL description of the people and the main attraction - the Great Salt Lake. She says the
Jun 30, 2016 Heather rated it liked it
Recommends it for: established Jodi Picoult fans
Shelves: 2009-read
I need to start this review by saying that Jodi Picoult is one of my absolute favorite authors. Two summers ago I borrowed nearly every book she'd ever written from the library, and devoured them all. The way she writes - the subjects she writes about - they're real, and timely, and relevant. Her kind of fiction is the kind I would want to write... if I were a fiction author.

To my knowledge, Songs of the Humpback Whale is the first novel that she published. Having read most of her later novels,
Kelly (TheWellReadRedhead)
I am normally a big JP fan, but this book just didn't do it for me. I know it was her first, and in my opinion, she vastly improved over time. First, I thought it was VERY difficult to be sympathetic to Jane's character. I know her backstory was supposed to make this happen, but in the end I just thought she was a whiny immature woman who didn't have the decency to just make up her mind already.

Second, I thought the Hadley-Rebecca relationship was super odd. I see the type of relationship Picoul
Sep 07, 2016 Christina rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2009-reads, fiction
Songs of the Humpback Whale is Picoult’s first novel, a fact that is painfully evident as you turn the pages. I originally abandoned Songs of the Humpback Whale, placing it back on the bookcase around page 73, but I picked again after listing it as one of my To Be Read Challenge bookstack and coming to grips with the fact that reading the complete works of Jodi Picoult did require I read her first book too.

Songs of the Humpback Whale, like all of Picoult’s novels, is told from the alternating vi
Mar 26, 2009 Mellissa rated it it was ok
SICK and tired of reading the same convos and scenarios again and again from each person's perspective. A LOT of it was crazy repetitive and not incredibly enlightening as to each individuals point of view. Maybe fun for Picoult to write, I don't know. Made me weary to keep reading.
Also, the characters trip to Salt Lake... Do people swim in the Great Salt Lake? And she inserts these supposed polygamists into the story... Trying to make them nice, I guess. A man and his three wives, and not a kid
Feb 08, 2011 Jenny rated it liked it
I really wanted to like this book more than I did. I just had a few issues with it. It bothered me that often times I felt like the dates/ages of people didn't match up. Rebecca (the daughter) was 15 and Jane (the mother) was 35 in the book. This means that Jane had Rebecca when she was 20. Jane's age when she got married was never actually mention, but she started dating her husband at 15. Later on in the book it says that Jane had Rebecca after she was married for a while, got her masters, etc ...more
Dec 07, 2009 Sara rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 02, 2010 Amy rated it really liked it
Ok, I have to say that so far this is now my least favorite book by Jodi Picoult. First off, it was difficult for me to follow, what with the way the story skips around from person to person, and how even though Jane's, Sam's, Oliver's, and Joley's descriptions go from beginning to end, Rebecca's is from ending to beginning. The fact that Hadley dies, and that is stated so early in the story gave away a vital part of the story in my opinion. I also didn't like how Jane acted like such a teenager ...more
Kwesi 章英狮
Mar 04, 2011 Kwesi 章英狮 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned, jodi-picoult, 2011
Some said that Jodi Picoult's early works were not as good as her present novels. Which I do agree that in fact I'm still in a process of discovering her own world of writing. What I mean is, I'm not quitting, I have the feeling that her present works were better and she's still in a process of discovering her own inner ideas to write a book. I don't believe that her books were written badly and in fact, I find it okay but the problem with this book is the strangling minds of the characters. I c ...more
Apr 05, 2011 Pammy rated it it was amazing
I believe this is Jodi Picoult's first novel, it's not the first one I read, but nonetheless this novel can make you fall IN LOVE with her.
Jodi Picoult is one of my favorite authors, with every book I read she doesn't cease to amaze me.
You always learn something new, (like in this one where you learn about humpback whales, something I never thought I'd read about.)
So, let me be more clear on what this book is actually about, because it isnt only about humpacks, :D
The main characters are Jane, O
Aug 06, 2011 Slee rated it it was ok
Told from five perspectives, and in different orders, Songs of the Humpback Whale shows a remarkable depth of insight into the way in which events are different for every participant.
The at-times-confusing decision to write events backwards for a character and forwards for others helps avoid the tedium that could arise from retelling the same events multiple times, but unfortunately, at times, leads to difficulty in remembering where in the story one is with regard to everyone else's timeline.
Aug 04, 2011 Amanda rated it liked it
I recently became a Jodi Picoult fan, and have since snatched up every book out there with her name on it. Oddly enough, I wasn't able to get my hands on a copy of her first novel, Songs of the Humpback Whale, until after I had read all fifteen of her other novels. I decided that it would be worth it just to see what kind of beginnings Picoult had and to see what began her career.

Songs of the Humpback Whale follows the journey (both literally and figuratively) of a woman and her daughter who are
As an avid Jodi Picoult reader, I was deeply disappointed by this book. Usually I love her books and can't put them down. I found the characters to difficult to relate to and therefore difficult to care about. Some of them were just plain creepy and disturbing; Joely who is apparently madly in love with his own sister, and Hadley a 25 year old man who thinks it is okay to have a sexual relationship with a naive, emotionally immature fifteen year old girl. That's called statutory rape.

The narrat
Aug 31, 2011 Merredith rated it did not like it
Shelves: didnt-finish
I'm a big Jodi Picoult fan, so I'm trying to read all of her books. This one came, and i looked at the premise and thought - eh? I started reading and thought eh! Skimming forward and reading the reviews i thought EH! And decided there was no need to finish it. Usually her books center around a moral problem that make you think, mostly with a kind of twist. This book is just about a woman who is leaving her husband, who works too much, taking her daughter with her. They are driving from CA to Ne ...more
Jul 02, 2012 Rita rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“À Procura do Amor”, obra de estreia da autora Jodi Picoult, lançado inicialmente em 1992, retracta a cinco vozes os acontecimentos de pessoas muito diferentes entre si, contudo tendo em comum laços de amor, amizade e acontecimentos que os modificará para sempre.

A partida de Jane Jones e da sua filha Rebecca, depois de uma discussão acesa por parte da primeira com o seu marido, leva-as aos pomares de macieiras de Massachusetts, onde ambas irão descobrir o verdadeiro significado do amor, o que é
Jul 25, 2012 Stevie rated it it was ok
Now normally I love a Jodi Picoult book. She is one of my favorite authors. But this book just rubbed me the wrong way. Well, in particular Jane did. I had no problem with her trip, and her and her daughter running away. But the way Jane acts, and the way her husband Oliver acts about the whole abuse situation. I feel like these characters contradicted themselves at every turn. And the ending was completely a drop off, and a disappointment. I was mentally slapping every character at one point or ...more
Achei o titulo do livro interessante e acaba mesmo por reflectir a busca de todas a personagens presentes no livro, todas procuram o amor à sua maneira, se o encontram isso depende do entendimento de cada leitor...

A minha parte preferida é o modo como é contada a estória, enquanto Rebecca conta a sua versão da frente para trás, isto é, o inicio do seu relato é o fim da narração das restantes personagens e algures no livro ambas acabam por se cruzar. Contudo, essa situação acaba por em certos mo
Lynn G.
Had this been the first Picoult book that I had ever read I feel certain that it would have been my last. Fortunately, for me, I had read others of her titles and, generally, thought they were well done, in particular House Rules House Rules by Jodi Picoult.

The only redeeming quality of Songs of the Humpback Whale was the information about the humpback whale.
The characters, by and large, were flat and uninteresting. The repetitive aspects of the plot line didn't work and were just annoying. Picoult's editor should have
Ben Starling
Jul 12, 2014 Ben Starling rated it really liked it
Songs of the Humpback Whale is a good read and structurally quite masterful. Multiple POV and one storyline running backwards. This was Picoult's first published work - and she pulled all this off at the age of 26! Outstanding. Stand back non-believers. Recommended.
Joana Esteves
Sep 04, 2015 Joana Esteves rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biblioteca
Se este fosse o primeiro livro que lia de Jodi Picoult, a minha vontade de ler outros livros dela andaria ali perto do zero...
Mar 31, 2015 ❀Julie rated it really liked it
I was surprised by the 1- and 2-star reviews for this book. I loved it and could not put it down. There was strong character development, and the family struggles in their different relationships as well as the outcomes and reasons for them were realistic. I also liked the unique way the story unfolded, one story going backwards in time and the rest forward, all being told from the viewpoints of the five main characters.

Jun 20, 2015 Joanie rated it it was ok
It's no secret that I'm a sucker for Jodi Picoult. No matter how much her books may frustrate me I'm always ready to pick up her latest release and let myself get sucked in all over again. I read my first book by her in the late 90's, The Pact and then I read Plain Truth and pretty much everything that followed but I had never read this one (her first) or a few of her earlier works. Some of them just didn't seem overly interesting to me but we're doing a challenge with my book club and one task ...more
”But the humpbacks… sings songs that fill you to the core, that swell inside you. They are the whales with which I fell in love when I first heard the calls- eerie splayed, the haunted sounds your heart beats when you are afraid of being alone.”

DNF on page 56.

Setting:San Diego, California and Massachusetts; 1990-1992

Cover Thoughts?:I lurv apples, which is probably why whenever I look at the cover, it makes mr hungry…

”I’m telling you the story of our trip because I’m the only one who ha
Jul 21, 2016 Laura rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: two-star
As a debut novel, this book shows definite promise. Having said that, I have read several of Picoult's later works and found this to be the weakest thus far. I enjoyed the premise of the mysterious world of humpback whales and wondered how Picoult would weave them into the storyline, but in fact the whales don't feature nearly as much as I had hoped.

In typical Picoult style, the story is told from multiple perspectives. I initially warmed to Jane and her daughter Rebecca, but soon found them bot
Jun 28, 2016 Rosie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Este foi o passaporte para conhecer esta escritora e pelos vistos errei na escolha. Alternando os narradores a história vai sendo contada a 5 vozes. Um exagero. Gente a mais, confuso. Por outro lado a protagonista (ao contrário dos outros) decide começar pelo fim, tirando parte da expectativa e interesse. Para cúmulo, para demonstrar as perspectivas de cada um somos confrontados, por vezes, com repetições dos mesmos acontecimentos. Desagradou-me o curso da história com avanços e recuos, antipati ...more
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Did you easily get confused with the stories? 13 74 May 24, 2016 10:38AM  
Struggling so far 3 12 Oct 01, 2015 10:10AM  
2015 Reading Chal...: Songs of the Humpback Whale by Jodi Picoult 1 16 Mar 26, 2015 08:38PM  
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Jodi Picoult is the author of twenty-three novels, including the #1 New York Times bestsellers Leaving Time, The Storyteller, Lone Wolf, Between the Lines, Sing You Home, House Rules, Handle with Care, Change of Heart, Nineteen Minutes, and My Sister’s Keeper. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and three children.

Her new novel, SMALL GREAT THINGS, is available in hardcover, ebook, and aud
More about Jodi Picoult...

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“You can run but you can't hide... but I can try. I feel air catch in my lungs and I get a cramp in my side and this pain, this wonderful physical pain that I can place, reminds me that after all I am still alive. ” 47 likes
“If you want to love a parent you have to understand the incredible investment he or she has in you. If you are a parent, and you want to be loved, you have to deserve it.” 29 likes
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