Few books are so engaging, so enraging, so sympathetic as to arrest one's attention and demand to be read in one sitting. Jodi Picoult's Sing You Home is such a novel. It will bring tears to your eyes from both anger and sympathy as it presents both sides of three of America's most polarizing, hot-button issues: gay rights, reproductive science, and the Christian right. It is both well-researched and finely balanced. Picoult's considerable narrative skills bring these issues into sharp focus. It is novels of such powerful narrative force that can bring the reader of the edge of Truth. It is not just "fiction."
It is a poignant yet forceful reminder that intolerance is intolerance regardless of one's political or religious persuasion or position. Too many rabid proponents of one side of an issue forget that the other side feels just as strongly, and too often neither realizes that their rights stop when they begin to impinge on another's rights. The very day I read this book, the local news reported that a gay couple's home had been completely burned out, a clear hate crime.
When Zoe and Max divorced, however, they forgot to clarify the rights to the embryos. This becomes a major problem when Zoe asks him for permission to use the embryos. Max, who has come under the influence of the fundamentalist Eternal Glory Church, is led to sue Zoe with the help of an attorney who wants to save the "pre-born," his term for an embryo. Think of those attorneys who show up every time there is a high profile case in order to get themselves in front of the cameras. Picoult's characterization lampoons the breed yet gives equal space to that side of the argument.
Substitute gays for Jews and the story is as old as Shakespeare's Shylock who told us that Jews were no different than Christians. Picoult lends a powerful voice to those gay men and women who want to be in a loving, committed relationship, to be a family, to dream of all they can be. It is a story of sadness and joy; it is a story that all of us share.