Songs of the Humpback Whale: A Novel in Five Voices
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Songs of the Humpback Whale: A Novel in Five Voices

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3.17 of 5 stars 3.17  ·  rating details  ·  19,472 ratings  ·  1,435 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...more
ebook, 352 pages
Published March 1st 2002 by Washington Square Press (first published 1992)
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Laura
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...more
Kwesi 章英狮
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
Sara
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
HiphopQuyn
May 30, 2007 HiphopQuyn rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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
Heather
Mar 04, 2009 Heather rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: established Jodi Picoult fans
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,...more
Gina
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
Ellie
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...more
Erin
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
Cameo S
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mellissa
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...more
Arttemizza
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...more
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...more
Ben Starling
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.
Merredith
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
Jenny
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
Pammy
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...more
Rita
“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...more
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...more
McKell
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Christina
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...more
Stevie
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
Slee
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.
Mo...more
Michael Jenkins
Jane Jones has lived in the shadow of her renowned husband, Oliver Jones for years. The two has a rocky relationship and struggles to keep their love strong and the forgiveness in tact, but to no avail. Oliver is devoted to his career and he spends less time with his wife and his teenager daughter Rebecca, one that he neglects to spend quality time with. After a heated altercation, Jane leaves with her daughter and with the help of her affectionate brother Joley, she is guided to his Massachuset...more
Nenette
I am already a big fan of Jodi Picoult, but I did not particularly like this book. The story was told from the points of view of five different characters, which is good as Picoult had done in some of her novels. But this one is different because the narrative jumped between past and current events, then back to the past again, without clear reference to dates (except for chapters that were related from Rebecca's point of view). It got me very confused during the first part of the book, and I ha...more
Vilo
I really had problems with this book, as I have had with the other 2 Picoult books I've read. Part of it came together in the end because she had used an unusual technique of having one narrator start at the end and work backward, so motivations were gradually revealed. That was interesting, and worked well. I just felt throughout the whole book that characters did things solely because the author wanted them to. It didn't make sense. Some of this was resolved by the end, but not all. Also chara...more
Jess
Jodi Picoult has basically five stock characters and two stock premises. She doesn't have a good handle on differentiating voices, and as a bonus, not only do the characters trade off on the narration throughout this book, one of them is telling the story in reverse order, all Memento-style, for no reason whatsoever.

But God, is she ever compulsively readable, and I can't even put my finger on why. I sort of hate myself a little every time I pick up one of her books thinking "this one will be dif...more
Krista
I hadn't realized when I picked up this book that it was one of Picoult's first published novels. She has come a long way since then! Some of the scenes in this book are so contrived that I continued reading in much the same way people continue staring at really bad movies. In one chapter a character reveals she was molested by her father while engaged in foreplay with a guy she met a few days prior. He is so moved by what she endured and he so totally gets her and she feels that he gets her and...more
Melissa
I've read a few of Jodi Picoult's other novels, and for the most part, I really like them. I like her style of writing and descriptions. This novel is similar, and I enjoyed it, but the multiple perspectives can be somewhat confusing at times.
One technical aspect that caught my eye, was that even though each of the "chapters" had the name of the character whose perspective they were being told from, Picoult also used different font styles for each one. I always like when it shows that an author...more
Sarah
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Beverly
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Did you easily get confused with the stories? 10 64 Nov 24, 2012 11:41PM  
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Jodi Picoult is the author of twenty-two novels, including the #1 New York Times bestsellers 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 upcoming novel, LEAVING TIME, will be released on October 14, 2014.

Website: http://www.j...more
More about Jodi Picoult...
My Sister's Keeper Nineteen Minutes The Pact Plain Truth House Rules

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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. ” 46 likes
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