Reader's Comments
Discussion Questions:Sing You Home By Jodi Picoult

Sing You Home

By Jodi Picoult

PBR Book Review:

What I really like about Jodi Picoult, is that she takes controversial tough topics, gives both side a fair shack, stirs up the emotions and stimulates thought. In her latest installment, she tackles the rights of gay parents and embryos, both timely emotionally charged issues. In a sensitive manner she questions the impact of same sex unions on the children born or adopted into these families and asks if society as a whole can accept rather than fear these “non-traditional” families. Picoult also does a great job of portraying the emotional and physical toll of couples with infertility issues. Again, she presents a balanced perspective not giving weight to either the female or male heartache of going through this procedure. In short, another book full of hot controversial topics, yes a bit formulaic and predictable but very much worth reading just the same. Recommend to those who like a good story or books that make you think. A must read for Jodi’s fans.

Book Club Talking Points:

Talking Points: Jodi covers some timely yet controversial issues in this story. She’ll make you think about the definition of a traditional family and the challenges of being gay and raising a family. What is the legal status of an embryo and what role does religion play in our lives. In her own inimitable straightforward, honest style Jodi tackles these topics and more; adultery, sibling rivalry, alcoholism and religious zealots.

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*Author Website: http://www.jodipicoult.com/

*Other Books by Same Author: “House Rules”,” Handle With Care”, “Change of Heart”,” Nineteen Minutes”, “The Tenth Circle”, “Vanishing Acts”,” My Sister’s Keeper”,” Second Glance”, “Perfect Match”,” Salem Falls”, “Plain Truth”, “Keeping Faith”, “The Pact”, “Mercy”, “Picture Perfect”,” Harvesting the Heart”,” Songs of the Humpback Whale”.

*Discussion Questions



1. An original, accompanying soundtrack is available for Sing You Home. Listen to the soundtrack with your book club members and discuss how the song choices reinforce or affect your reading. In what way did having a soundtrack enhance your understanding of Zoe's "voice"? If you had to create a soundtrack for this book, what songs would you include? Explain your choices.

2. Zoe also claims that "music is the language of memory" and has the power to reach through even the darkest corners of dementia and awaken long-forgotten memories. Are there any songs or albums that remind you of a certain time or place in your life? Do you think it's a blessing or a curse to be reminded of such memories through music?

3. Sing You Home is narrated by three different protagonists, each with their own unique voice and personality. Did this narrative device work for you as a reader? Do you think Zoe's story would've been portrayed differently if there had only been one narrator? Why or why not?

4. Change and metamorphosis are reoccurring ideas in Sing You Home. In your opinion, which characters changed the most? Which characters remained the same?

5. On page 75, Max reflects on the nature of change: "Actually, when you turn into someone you don't recognize, you feel nothing at all." Do you think this is true in all instances? How would you describe periods of self-discovery and metamorphosis like those Zoe experiences?

6. How do Zoe's struggles as a music therapist to Lucy give you insight into her character?

7. Whether it's an expert witness discussing the scientific proof of physiological differences between heterosexuals and homosexuals or Vanessa talking about experiences unique to the gay dating world, great attention is paid to the differences between gay and straight relationships throughout the novel. Do you think the story features any universal dating realities and relationship experiences that transcend different sexual orientations? Explain your answer.

8. Vanessa's mother and Zoe's mother have very different reactions when her daughter says, "I'm gay." Are both mothers justified in their reactions? Discuss

9. During the trial, Max's attorney brings in expert psychologist Dr. Newkirk to discuss the detriment of same-sex parent households on children. Dr. Newkirk's argument is that a child needs the influence of both genders to ensure healthy development. Do you agree with her? Why or why not? Do you think the family structure ultimately created by Zoe, Vanessa, and Max is a healthy one?

10. When Zoe has doubts about being able to raise a son, her mom tells her, "'It's not gender that makes a family; it's love. You don't need a mother and a father; you don't necessarily even need two parents. You just need someone who's got your back.'" (p. 374) Do you agree with her? Explain your answer.

11. During his sermon, Pastor Clive argues against homosexuality by saying, "After all, I like swimming . . . but that doesn't make me a fish." (p. 399) Do you think his fish analogy is relevant? Do you find his interpretation of sexuality more or less accurate than Vanessa's assertion that "we're all just wired differently." (p. 111)

12. When Max says to Zoe, "'God forgives you,'" she replies, "'God should know there's nothing to forgive.'" (p. 406) Their statements are diametrically opposite, and they spend almost the entire novel arguing their beliefs to each other. Do you think both sides' arguments were equally represented in the novel? Which points from either side did you find most compelling or convincing? Which points did you find most difficult to hear?

13. When Max seeks guidance from Pastor Clive as to how he should react to Zoe's new relationship with Vanessa, Pastor Clive tells him a story about Pastor Wallace, who allowed homosexuals into his congregation. Pastor Clive believes that Pastor Wallace is a model for tolerance and that, while homosexuality shouldn't be accepted, gay members of the church should be tolerated. Do you believe Pastor Clive practices what he preaches in the novel? What about when he says that the Eternal Glory Church isn't "anti-gay" but rather "pro-Christ"? (p. 219) Is tolerance even possible without acceptance? Explain.

14. Despite being about a very specific relationship and a unique court case, Sing You Home addresses universal themes and ideas regarding family, love, and acceptance. Do you think this story reaches a wide audience, despite its unique specificities? Did you connect with the characters? Why or why not?

15. Several different story lines are left unresolved, such as Lucy's story and why

Book Summary
Simon and Schuster, 2011 - Fiction - 480 pages
Every life has a soundtrack. All you have to do is listen. Music has set the tone for most of Zoe Baxter’s life. There’s the melody that reminds her of the summer she spent rubbing baby oil on her stomach in pursuit of the perfect tan. A dance beat that makes her think of using a fake ID to slip into a nightclub. A dirge that marked the years she spent trying to get pregnant.

For better or for worse, music is the language of memory. It is also the language of love.
In the aftermath of a series of personal tragedies, Zoe throws herself into her career as a music therapist. When an unexpected friendship slowly blossoms into love, she makes plans for a new life, but to her shock and inevitable rage, some people—even those she loves and trusts most—don’t want that to happen.

Sing You Home is about identity, love, marriage, and parenthood. It’s about people wanting to do the right thing for the greater good, even as they work to fulfill their own personal desires and dreams. And it’s about what happens when the outside world brutally calls into question the very thing closest to our hearts: family. ISBN-10: 1439102724 ISBN-13: 978-1439102725
 
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