Debs's Reviews > Sing You Home

Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult
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Jul 14, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: 2011, from-library
Read from July 14 to 18, 2011

** spoiler alert ** This is the second Jodi Picoult book I've read after "My Sister's Keeper", one I'd been keeping an eye on specifically because it's probably the first mainstream pop-culture book to come with its own soundtrack. I have to state though that I do have a vested interest: a friend of mine wrote a novel a few years back that also develops its own soundtrack, and I was one of the songwriters on that project. (For the curious: http://www.pushingleavestowardsthesun...) Needless to say, I came into reading this book with a lot of hope and curiosity.

First, the story. Gotta give Picoult props for tackling some difficult topics at once. I found it well written and liked the characters. I found the music therapy stuff neat because it aligns with my interests. It is very predictable and very formulaic, but that's just what she does. I read quickly but actually felt annoyed reading it because I like I was being beaten over the head with an emotional hook. Certain plot points made me downright angry and the ending with Max and Libby getting married. I mean, really. Really? Was that really necessary given how much drama she's dismissing? Argh. Enough sugar to make you sick. Not to mention the fact that Lucy, one of the supporting characters completely drops off the face of the planet after playing her part. Reid too.

I think that for me, Picoult is best taken in small doses and not often because quite frankly, I kind of feel like I'm choking on sickly sweet sugar.

Onto the soundtrack. I'm truly all for soundtracks. It was a really cool idea to try, however it took away from the book rather than added to it. It's crucial to find a voice that suits the character, that IS the character. Unfortunately, Ellen Wilber is not that voice. Zoe, according to Picoult is a confident performer who can play almost everything whose singing voice "has a soul" and "feels like tea on a rainy day, like a blanket over your shoulders while you're shivering." Ellen's voice is timid, awkward and immature stylistically, and worse, there are tuning issues and big ones. I was turned off in seconds and it made me really disappointed in Zoe. Despite the excellent guitar work, it doesn't get better. The lyrics, too, were irritating in that "you can tell exactly what the next obvious rhyme will be" way.

For the record, I did listen to the whole thing twice - once when I was a few chapters in and again at the end. I would like to put my criticism in context though. I am really supportive of what anyone does musically. Really. If this someone's homemade album, I wouldn't be quite as scathing. But this is a best selling author who obviously must have resources. To write a book that places all this importance on music and the power of music and how music is tied to emotion, and then have the accompanying music be complete and utter crap....well, I think that's just slightly hypocritical.

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Reading Progress

07/15/2011 page 63
14.0% "Popped in the soundtrack. I'm sorry, but it is absolutely godawful."
07/17/2011 page 155
33.0% "Soundtrack is still awful. Eva Cassidy is mentioned though - huzzah!"

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