A family plot, of love, betrayal and prejudices
By Dr Vaidehi Nathan
Sing You Home, Jodi Picoult, Hachette India, Pp 466 (pb), Rs 595
'You can’t choose who you love’ the sub-title of Jodi Picoult’s recent novel Sing You Home gives the theme and sense of the book. Heartbroken over several failed attempts to get pregnant, Zoe and Max end their ten-year marriage. When Zoe picks up life again, as a music therapist she finds new love, in Vanessa. When Vanessa offers to carry the baby from the frozen embryo of Zoe and Max, Zoe’s happiness is complete. But when she approaches Max, who has now become involved in church, he not only rejects the idea but also sues for the custody of the embryo. His church fully backs him.
A highly controversial and yet contemporary theme. With same sex marriages on the rise in the West, Jodi has attempted to portray the emotions of these families. She shows how the gay couples want what straight families do – children, happiness and social acceptability.
There are the natural family dialogues when the mothers of the Zoe and Vanessa come to know about their sexuality. Vanessa’s mother insists that she talk to a priest, who could ‘cure’ her. Zoe’s mother is more comfortable, taking only a few minutes to recover from the shock. Jodi Picoult provokes a discussion on the question of love. What is more important—how you love or who you love? Max’s brother, a millionaire, married and childless backs Max in the court and outside. But very late Max realises that it is for taking the embryo for his own wife. He even pulls off a fake case against Zoe, which finally forces her to withdraw from the case. Max wins, Zoe loses. Does that victory stay with Max? That’s for readers to turn to the last page and see.
An intensely social novel that touches lives and people as if it is happening in the neighbourhood. Jodi leaves her indelible mark in the narration, forever moving with the characters.
(Hachette India, 612/614 (6th floor), Time Tower, MG Road, Sector 28, Gurgaon-122 001)