Karen Linton's Reviews > Sing You Home

Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult
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's review
Nov 10, 2011

did not like it
bookshelves: fiction

Searching for an apologetic for a homosexual lifestyle? This is the book for you!

This review is from: Sing You Home: A Novel (Paperback)
I've read all of Jodi's books previously and was so excited to see this one on the shelf at WalMart. Unfortunately,(no spoilers in my review), this novel paints all evangelical Christians as homophobic scumbags and all lesbians as kind-hearted, loving saints. I kept hoping it would change, that Jodi would not keep lumping me in with Westboro Baptist Church idiots, but, sadly, no change.

I saw one woman's obsession over having a biological child of her own destroy her marriage, but the dissolution of the marriage was her husband's fault?!? I saw a woman wallowing in the emotional upheaval of divorce diving into a new relationship. Vanessa took advantage of Zoe's anger and sorrow and, magically, though she'd never had any homosexual tendencies prior, she was a lesbian and claiming she was born that way. Wow. That's a bit of a stretch.

I don't mind the exploration of such controversial topics. I don't even mind when the author comes to a different conclusion from my own. However, I do mind seeing such ridiculous stereotypes cast onto anyone bearing the name Christian. According to this book, I'm a simpering, uneducated doormat who'll only do those things my husband allows and who has no opinion of my own, outside the one he gives me. smh. Yeah, that kind of pisses me off.

I guess I thought the book was going to be about the controversy surrounding IVF primarily and homosexual adoption secondarily. In reality, the book is about bashing Christians and telling the world that the only "fit" parents are homosexual or extremely liberal heterosexuals. I'm extremely disappointed in this book.
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Comments (showing 1-50 of 67) (67 new)

Joni I agree with you 100%

Chris Hmmmm...Well, even thought I loved the book, I thought you made some valid points in your review, but I have to disagree that Piccoult's message was that the only fit parents are homosexual or extremely liberal heterosexuals. To me, her point was that--as she explains in the interview at the end--gays shouldn't have to fight harder than heterosexuals for the same rights. Why shouldn't a bio mom be awarded the embryos over a bio dad who doesn't want them?

Joni I just wish she would have left out the "Over Dramatized" story line of the Evangelical Christian. And the brainwashing that she tried to say goes on in the Church....that was a low blow. She still could have made vaild points around Gay Rights without all of that mess.

message 4: by Chris (last edited Mar 07, 2012 07:39AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Chris Perhaps. I do agree she characterized the gay couple as even-headed and sane while she made the evangelicals out to be under-handed with a larger agenda. And maybe, those of use who aren't evangelicals don't have a fair grasp of what they believe is appropriate behavior, because honestly, the portrayal in the book echos what we see in the media: picketing abortion clinics and this latest legislation in VA that seems unecesarily designed to humiliate women undergoing abortions. Maybe that doesn't represent the mainstream views of people who attend those churches. I'd like to know!

Joni Nope thats the media...who have their own agenda. I belong to a Christian Family Center...we provide free pregancy test, free ultrasounds, and free post abortion counseling. We love on these women, no matter what choice they made...no matter who they choose to love...we also offer free clothes, baby items, and anything else they made need. We all have to remember media, politics and all work together for their own agenda, and they use people raw emotions to play on...turning us against each other with misunderstandings.

But for the book..I just didnt like the ending, it ending too quick. You had this big drama building up and then it fell flat..could have used a better ending.

Chris Thanks Joni for all you do to live your Christian values. I appreciate the opportunity for dialogue. The vilification of those with differing views in politics and media today is so polarizing and in my mind, at the heart of all our problems trying to come together as a nation to solve problems! I wish there were more safe forums for reasonable people to share opposing view points! The majority of us probably lie somewhere in the middle. It's hard to know though sometimes!

Joni True...we need to all come together as one and fix this world.

message 8: by Karen (last edited Mar 12, 2012 10:19AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Karen Linton Don't you find it awfully strange that she chose to comment on a lifestyle (Evangelical Christianity) that she obviously knows nothing about? I mean, I don't know any women who are "brainwashed" and why is it a negative thing that Christians happen to believe that ALL life is precious, whether in or out of the womb?

Politically, my biggest gripe is that I don't think that what you choose to do in your bedroom should have any bearing on your rights or lack of them. By the same token, I also don't need your sexual choices shoved in my face all the time. I don't go around playing to the media about what I do in the bedroom, why should you if your choice is different?

And I say all that without regard to the debate over whether homosexuality is a choice or it's a trait. That's not part of the equation, imo.

Re the embryo question, Chris, I agree that both should have been equally considered re them, but that wasn't what was promoted in the book, regardless of the interview at the end. Note, I did not read the interview as I was so disgusted with the book at that point and frankly, offended that she seemed to be painting me with some brush that, not only was invalid, but was entirely made up by the leftist media. To say the entire book annoyed me would be putting it lightly. :O)

Doesn't change the fact that I'll read her next book, though, and probably love it. She's generally pretty generous in showing both sides of an issue and seems fair in most portrayals. She makes me think. I like that in a writer.

Joni I too felt it was an attack on Christians by Jodi...you could tell she was upset writing this book and wanted to prove a point. All the Christians in the story were either brainwashed or sneaky and up to no good. Like using GOD as a way to achieve their own agenda. I didn't like that at all...and bad taste for Jodi.

What she should have done was show how both sides feel...but to do that she needed to be opened minded about Christians, the same way she wants us to be open minded about Gay Rights & their life style choices.

She went about it all the wrong way with this book. Like I said in my review

Nikki Just throwing this out there, Zoe has a "homosexual experience" when she spends the night at friends house, and she fled from the house because she liked it. It's a little after the middle of the book. The husband was the one who dissolves the marriage because he was frustrated over her consistent desire to have children, although they were unable to reproduce. It may seem like Vanessa took advantage of Zoe and "converted her" to the gay lifestyle after this tragic divorce, but she was strictly her friend BEFORE she admitted she was gay to Zoe. Also noteworthy, Zoe was the one who initiated the relationship between the to women.

It sounds to me like someone needs either a fact check, or needs to pay attention to details instead of getting worked up over subplots, reading slower may help.


message 11: by Joni (new) - rated it 2 stars

Joni "It sounds to me like someone needs either a fact check, or needs to pay attention to details instead of getting worked up over subplots, reading slower may help"

Nikki..who needs to read slower? Or needs to be a fact checker?? I don't know about the others on this blog..but I understood the book completely and I stand by my comments. You don't have to agree with the comments people leave here but you also don't have to try and insult people either....this is a safe environment for people to read, share and comment on books they read.....don't ruin that for others.

Share your thoughts but do it nicely....Thanks

message 12: by Ali (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ali I thought that Ms. Picoult provided insight into how anyone's beliefs and/or identity can be hijacked by those seeking power. Both Zoe and Max fell into the hands of lawyers with a larger agenda than their clients' personal interests. As a result- everyone came out (no pun intended) looking far more extreme and single-minded than I thought their characters to be. We see this happen in real world media- there is no money to be made or hoopla to be constructed based on moderate, respectful people.

While I did find Ms. Picoult to write the above perspective well, I was very disappointed in her portrayal of both Zoe/Vanessa and Max. I found her writing regarding both Zoe an Vanessa's sexuality to rely on cliche and rhetoric that are easily found in an abundance of other pieces.

Chris Ali—How so? As someone who is neither gay nor evangelist, I'm interested in hearing other perspectives. How would you have liked to see Zoe and Vanessa portrayed to seem more moderate and less cliche? I thought it was interesting that she portrayed them as two people who were attracted to each other and fell in love, but happened to both be women, which isn't the cliche I usually hear.

Sarah Draheim A book that is thousands of years old shouldn't determine legislation in this country.

It is a fallacy to even argue so - separation of church and state. It is part of our most basic level of protection in this country.

I think that is the point she was trying to make. Every day people attempt to force their agenda on others - and Christians are hardly the only alone in their culpability with regards to that.

The argument is whether or not she did that well. I didn't think it was her best effort, and I'll agree that the mainstream media doesn't do a great job with their efforts, either.

Then again, just how many gay protests at straight weddings/army funerals are there to cover?

Your beliefs are your own, and you certainly have every right to them, and every right to not like this book.

But when you choose to air them, make sure you take a hard look at your peers - which provide the source material from which to draw from - before you before you discredit someone whose take on the issue -simply - is different from your own.

Warda I'm not against homosexuals, but I do believe Zoe and Venessa weren't really in love. the husband still loved her, and I really felt Zoe loved her husband, too.
What amazed me is, when the things were fine and they had perfect relationship, why didn't she realize her sexual orientation. I mean, why only when the marriage had problems.
For Zoe, it was clearly a choice.

Stacylane19 @ Karen Linton - the first sentence that precludes your reviews tells us how you feel about homosexuals and why at the base level you didn't like the book. Someone being gay isn't shoving their bedroom behavior in your face; admitting they're gay is simply saying, I choose same-sex love and relationships, not "we want the world to know we do this or that in our bedroom" - while you decry the way Christians are portrayed, you're still letting us know you find it an abomination and don't like reading a stereotype about your religion. Unfair, isn't it, how stereotypes most arise from fact and common behavior of certain groups? Oh yes, let's blame the leftist media. I roomed in college with an Evangelical Christian who did nothing but batter me over the head with her bible, try to get me to stop cursing, go to church with her, go to anti-abortion rallies, while acting promiscuously with the young men in her church group, then crying about it to me and God after the fact. A bundle of contradictions, she was. Perhaps my experience with her shaped my opinion of E.C.'s, but she (and several family members of hers that I met) gave me a powerful view of your lifestyle. I don't find that the stereotype falls that far from the tree.

Jordana Basilio I loved this story, it was realistic& hopeful. I agree with Nikki; Jodi Picoult was not, in my opinion, bashing anyone.. It's a book, get over it.

message 18: by Tina (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tina I agree with Jordana. I'm not a Christian or gay but I can still enjoy a book about them.

message 19: by Karen (new) - rated it 1 star

Karen Linton Dear Stacylane19:

Is 19 your age?

message 20: by Karen (new) - rated it 1 star

Karen Linton Jordana wrote: "I loved this story, it was realistic& hopeful. I agree with Nikki; Jodi Picoult was not, in my opinion, bashing anyone.. It's a book, get over it."

You don't have to like my opinion. :o) It's my review of the book. Not yours. Write your own glowing review if you wish. Why is your opinion more valid than mine? smh

message 21: by Tina (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tina you also have to remember that to make a story more interesting authors often use extremes to increase the conflict. Would this book be as interesting with less extreme characters?

message 22: by Tina (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tina Verda wrote: "I'm not against homosexuals, but I do believe Zoe and Venessa weren't really in love. the husband still loved her, and I really felt Zoe loved her husband, too.
What amazed me is, when the things ..."

I didn't get that feeling at all. I didn't think that it was perfect either. He never told her how he felt until bam, he filed for divorce. That's not a perfect relationship. I felt she was over her husband and truly loved Vanessa. You don't choose who you fall in love with. If you could, a lot of people would be a lot happier.

message 23: by Tina (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tina Nikki wrote: "Just throwing this out there, Zoe has a "homosexual experience" when she spends the night at friends house, and she fled from the house because she liked it. It's a little after the middle of the b..."

I love how the characters thought gays "recruited" people. How many recruits do you have to have before you get that toaster oven?

Stacylane19 @Karen - your comments opened up a debate and in my eyes I saw comments worth debating. Thanks for the scathing and intelligent response.

message 25: by Sarah (new)

Sarah I completely agree with this review. Very narrow-minded liberal piece of garbage this book was. Disappointed in you Picoult. smh

Bribre01 I don't really understand why you chose to read this book if you are offenders by the subject matter. As a fan of Jodi, I know that it was widely known the topic of the book was going to homosexuality. You can tell that the book is going to touch on restrictions to gay rights, and knowing that you have to know that it will also touch on how religion and Christianity relates. I thoroughly enjoyed to book, and I am a Christian. It was probably my favorite of the books she's written.

message 27: by Cara (new) - rated it 4 stars

Cara I don't understand why you are taking this book as a personal attack on your beliefes. It's a realistic fiction book, which means it is not based off a true story but could be. And I agree that this could be a true story. It doesnt mean that it is true in all circumstances.

There is a vast amount of homosexuals who feel uncomfortable with organized religion because of personal experiences where religion has deminished their sexuality by calling it a lifestyle which infers that it is a choice.

As far as Zoe finding Vanessa it is very common for people to not realize their true sexuality until later in life. So its not unlikely for that to happen.

I thought the book as a whole has serious potential to being accurate to its fictional situation but that doesnt mean it is accurate in every real world situation.

The lesson of the book was not "hate relgious folk. Feel bad for gays" there was so much more to it than that.

message 28: by Joni (new) - rated it 2 stars

Joni I can’t believe people are still getting upset over Karen’s review; it was so last year. She has every right to feel the way she feels, just like everyone else. I hated this book too, I thought it was STUPID. It made no sense at all, and yes Jodi was attacking Christians, making them out to be “brain washing people with an agenda”.

I’m also over it with Jodie’s writing style.

message 29: by Quinn (new)

Quinn Methinks your vitriol speaks volumes about your Christianity; doormats notwithstanding!

message 30: by Jessica (new)

Jessica To be fair I thought it was a brilliant book and yes stereotypes may have been used but aren't they in most books? Someone is sounding a little defensive to me. I loved this book because it portrayed truly the struggles of having a child as a gay couple. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion though.

message 31: by Jessica (new)

Jessica wow so everyone is getting weird about the way she's portraying Christians and you're all commenting how it's odd she's described the gay couple as level headed? I personally see it as an author telling it how it is for once, it's not nice when people portray you in a way that is very far from the truth is it? By the way I am Christian before anybody accuses me of being racist blah blah.

message 32: by Joni (new) - rated it 2 stars

Joni If you want to read a good book on the struggles of gay couple or person wanting to have children, read “The two week wait” by Sarah Rayner

Very touching story and guess what? Sarah Rayner told the story without using ANY stereotypes, so it can be done.

Also the gay couple wasn’t struggling to have children in this story by Jodi, they were trying to take custody of a child and leave the father out of the equation; But I forgot how this country works, men shouldn’t have a say in their child’s life, born or unborn.

But check out the book "The two week wait" you'll enjoy it.

message 33: by Jessica (new)

Jessica Thanks, I'll check it out! Oh I agree with you on the fact that men's rights should be equal to women's when it comes to parenting a child, don't think I don't! Looking back on what I had written yesterday on this review I can see that perhaps I didn't put across what I wanted to say in the correct way haha. The subject is very personal to me which is why I think I took the comments so personally, no offence was intended to anyone though!

Christina Martin I can't believe the comments above, I didn't feel this book to be judgmental towards "All" Christians; I think people speaking about this author negatively are taking it way too personal. Our negative opinions of others are often times our fears speaking out. Judgements are mirror reflections of our own thoughts about ourselves.
I know two same sex couples who use IVF; and one gay man who adopted a son. Their children are now grown, and despite being raise with gays parents their children are all heterosexual and graduated from Prestigious Colleges. It seems to me Jodi spoke many truths about the adversities face my LGBT families. And unfortunately much of the discrimination come from "Christians"- and that's the truth. But what do I know; I'm a yoga teacher born and raised in California. We are very free thinkers here.

message 35: by Marta (new) - rated it 1 star

Marta Couldn't agree more. I'm a Piccoult fan but this book/soundtrack stunk.

Sydney The book is extreme in both groups views. If Picoult had mad both sides characters less extreme the book would have been dull. I don't think she meant to attack anyone she meant to get emotion out of people, and she clearly got that from you.

Joanne You mention that "you don't need [their] sexual choices shoved in [your] face all the time" but would you blink is you saw a heterosexual couple holding hands in public? Hugging? How about kissing? Now what about a homosexual couple? If the answer is different then that is what this book is about - gay rights aren't about special rights, they're about equal rights, it's the difference between "tolerance and acceptance" as Jodi Picoult puts it so eloquently in Sing You Home. Also, just because this book depicts radical Christians in perhaps a less than positive light, it doesn't mean that it is invalid or bad. There are real Christians out there who believe what Pastor Clive etc. preach and just because there are 'good Christians' out there it doesn't forgive their behaviour. You or your Church may be accepting and loving, but there Christians out there who are preaching messages of hate and they are what this book is about - not you

Charmaine Lloyd As a Christian, I didnt feel insulted. There are Christians out there who are judgemental and quite frankly embarassing. There wouldnt have been a story if the Christians were tolerant people who do not judge. I did squirm at some places from a religious perspective, but its the truth as others see us because of a few lousy representatives of the faith. I think Jodi Picoult did a great job.

Morgan Jodi picoult told a great story. I didn't see anywhere where she said btw "all Christians are exactly like this". That's silly to even assume that she meant that. And there is an in between its not just I'm gay or I'm straight. Attraction between humans is a natural thing and it can change maybe even for only one person. But that could be the person who is your soulmate. I don't think Jodi picoult wrote this novel and was like I'm going to make all Christians look evil. It's an issue with some not all if you aren't one of those judgmental people this shouldn't offend you! And neither should the sexuality! Which the fact that it bothered you that the character "all the sudden was a lesbian" shows you are not accepting and clearly you can't deny that!

Morgan And I agree! There is a HUGE difference between tolerance and acceptance!!!

Kristi Gonzalez Couldn't agree more with your review!

message 42: by Rebecca (new) - added it

Rebecca Buckley Morgan, I agree wholeheartedly with you. I hate it when sexuality is perceived as this black and white thing, when in actuality, there is so much more grey to it. Like Morgan said, Vanessa finds herself somewhere in between gay and straight. That could mean she is bisexual, pansexual, queer or a number of other things. It's funny that the reviewer mentioned the stereotyping of Christians when LGBT people are relentlessly stereotyped day in and day out. Ms. Picoult had a great platform to share a wonderful story about the love between two people and I think she did that beautifully, regardless of the gender of those people. Reviewer, being a little more accepting of human nature wouldn't kill you.

Chelsey Honestly I just feel like the author was trying to build a classic dynamic of opposing forces with a clear protagonist and a clear antagonist. I'm not completely convinced that her goal was to generalize that devout Christians are all bigots and that all gay people are victims with crystal clear morals. I think it was more of a commentary on the blurry guidelines which dictate the legal proceedings of our country. I think she was trying invoke an inner debate in the reader to determine that either our laws enable religion to wrongfully interfere with court proceedings or that religion provides a moral code which causes a person to fight for what they believe is right in any setting, legal or otherwise, regardless of popular opinion. Perhaps it would have made for a better read if she had not clearly given us a side to root for by tainting the argument of one side and left it to the reader to decide how to weigh biological rights, religious rights, legal rights, etc.

Roisin I totally agree with your review. I did not feel like this book gave an accurate representation of either of the groups it tried to portray. I found it so stereotypical and superficial. I couldn't finish it.

message 45: by Jihan (new) - rated it 1 star

Jihan Jude I didn't finish the book because of the writing, but it seems that you all are dwelling on political issues. Maybe you took it personally because on some level it's true? The fact is gay and bisexual people don't choose to be gay or bi anymore than you choose to be straight. When you can change your sexuality let me know. Being gay is as perfectly natural to them as breathing air, just like loving the opposite sex is instinctual to you. Your religion is a choice, but people don't choose to be gay. The only they are forced to do is unfortunately hide that attraction and pretend to be straight because sick and in humane people like you.

message 46: by Joni (new) - rated it 2 stars

Joni Chelsey wrote: "Honestly I just feel like the author was trying to build a classic dynamic of opposing forces with a clear protagonist and a clear antagonist. I'm not completely convinced that her goal was to gene..."


Jessica Um. I don't know if we read the same book but Zoe and Vanessa were NOT saints. Zoe had this hatred to Christians even though they did nothing to her even before the divorce. Did you see the way she talked to Reid and Liddy even though they had invited her over for dinner at Christmas? She's definitely not the nicest person out there. Lesbian or not. On the flip side, Christianity wasn't painted like you described either. There were several instances here Max would describe how great and wonderful it was to have such a loving sense of community and that everyone was there for you. Both sides had good and bad. Maybe you should read the book again -___-

message 48: by Maria (new)

Maria @karen linton. I totally agree with your review.
I did read the book to the very end though and found it as addictive as all the previous ones - but felt offended and stereotyped all throughout the book.

what left me all shocked was the bombshell about what happened in 1989. I mean while I may agree with Jodi about sexuality orientation being like left- or right handedness, I just cannot feel the same about that extremely liberal `pro-choice` attitude. I mean where a society is heading when on one hand she kills a baby and after all the infertility drama Zoe still says: `It was a horrible decision to have to make, even if I was lucky enough to be able to make it`
and this whole abortion thing is just said to suprise but is not given any second thought (Venessa: `this isn`t about damn abortion, Zoe`).

while i do mostly agree with Jodi about the gay rights (althouth she didn`t paint an objective picture of gay sociaty here) i would be first to support a chritian`freak` as they call them who peacefully gives some leaflets at the doors of Planned Parenthood institutions.

JuliaOrlando @ Karen Linton - I realize that this review is your opinion, but I don't think that the author portrayed both women as saints, and there was a part in the book (about 1/2 way in) where Zoe states the reason she never slept over her child hood friends house again is b/c her friend kissed her and Zoe was upset because she (Zoe) wanted to kiss the friend back. I also don't think that she painted ALL evangelical "Christians" as homophobic scumbags, just the ones from that particular church / chapter. You have to admit that there are plenty of "Christians" who say they follow the golden rule of love thy neighbor, but only if that neighbor has the same beliefs, POV, lifestyle as they do. I didn't get Christian bashing from this book, I got gay-bashing.

Rachel F I completely agree with this! I thought that the whole time I was reading it. It is a bashing on Christianity and is one-sided. Not what I expected from Picoult, who I had thought was a very thought-provoking author. She shoved her opinion down our throats.

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