Last year, I bought my lovely fiancée a book entitled Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult. Corrine has always been a fan of Jodi Picoult’s writing, but she showed a vast desire to read this particular story because it explores what it means to be gay, lesbian, and bisexual in today's world, as well as what happens when religion and sexual orientation enter the courtroom. What makes this story even more powerful is the notion that Jodi Picoult’s son, Kyle, seventeen years of age at the time, came out to both Jodi and her husband while Jodi was researching and writing her novel, Sing You Home. Corrine is halfway finished with the book and wanted to share her raw thoughts and emotions towards the powerful literature.
Where do I begin when this book has evoked so many different emotions from me? I can’t wait to finish reading while at the same time I don’t want the story to end. Jodi Picoult writes with such realism that her characters are more than characters; they are my friends, my enemies, and my family. Within the story I can see my struggles within my past, present, and future. Jodi Picoult is one of my favorite authors and not only because she is able to write about the struggles a same sex couple may face or because she is able to write about issues that are easily relatable and congruent with reality, but also because she is able to make her readers, including myself, become emotionally invested in her stories. She makes me angry and she makes me smile, but most importantly, she makes me want to keep reading as if I’m watching it all unfold right in front of my eyes. Jodi Picoult’s writing flows effortlessly and she leaves her story open for interpretation, depending on your own perspective.
I have discussed this book with my best friend, Yvonne, and with my fiancée thus far. Yvonne has read the book and my fiancée plans on reading it as soon as I am finished. Both my best friend and I found ourselves strongly impacted by the story, but in varying ways. Yvonne is in a heterosexual relationship, married for several years, and has been unable to get pregnant. The book had a strong meaning to her due to the infertility issues the main characters had to face. For me, the book had a strong meaning due to the fact that I am in a same sex relationship and facing the possibility of enduring similar struggles. It begins with a struggle to keep the love in a relationship that has lost so much as far as infertility. It continues with a break-up and divorce, and during a dark time there is a light. That light was something I could completely relate to. That light was Zoe, the main character, finding security in a new friend, whom she later falls in love with. The book explores those first feelings of not only falling in love with your best friend, but falling in love with a woman, someone of the same gender, and the ways in which that differs from society’s norm. The book doesn’t exploit same sex relationships or love, but instead, the book embraces it. Jodi Picoult writes about the range of emotions beautifully, from the friendship that develops into a hidden crush to the very first kiss that melts the room away, and to the charming wedding detailed in simplicity. She explores the more private moments of the characters’ lives, as well as the struggles they face in their personal life, their professional lives, and when their lives are dragged through the public eye from a court battle laced with religious propaganda. Minus the court room and I have yet to experience the wedding, I can relate to these feelings, to those struggles.
|Me and Yvonne|
As much as this book shares the story of love, it also explores the adversity that same sex couples may face in their relationships, challenged by those who use their religion or the bible to promote hate. I have both wanted to throw the book and not put it down at the same time because it has made me so angry. One of the main characters, Max, who divorces Zoe, finds himself at the mercy of the Lord as he attempts to recover from alcoholism and his downward spiral lifestyle, which is fueled by the guilt that he couldn’t father a baby or stand by his wife when she was broken from their lose. While Max finds solace within the church, the church uses him as a platform to stand on to promote their message of ‘traditional’ families. I’ve tried to keep my mind open about those who chose to practice religion as long as this practice doesn’t interfere with my life. The characters in the book are purposely designed to bring these interferences to light. The characters are shown quoting the bible and even showcasing a “reformed lesbian” who found her place in God and religion, and was able to cast away the sinful thoughts of wanting to be with the same sex.
While I enjoyed reading the chapters from Max’s point of view, I can’t help but feel my blood boil when reading such hateful words. Without straying too far from the topic of this book, how can certain religious groups within the Christian faith be so blind when using the bible? These groups choose one passage to follow, lead insupportable protests, as well as televised programs to promote hate against their own brothers and sisters. How can humans carry such hatred towards one another? I’ve heard this quote more times than I can count, “do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; this is detestable.” Conversely, those scriptures that speak of divorce and men’s ownership of women or how those who are not virgins when married should be stoned are not followed. These points are considered barbaric and aged; however, in the land of the free, we are not all free and the home of the brave often make or forces young children to be brave as they are bullied for who they love. Some religious leaders of the Christian faith act as if it is their duty to speak the word of the Lord when they are in fact preying on the weak and manipulating the minds of those who are only looking for guidance. These groups of religious leaders are spreading the word of hate, rather than teaching tolerance, love, and acceptance. If they believed in these three attributes, then they would not feel threatened if same sex couples wish to marry or they would be the frontrunners in lobbying for a marriage equality bill to pass on a state and federal level. I am all for standing up for what your beliefs and values, but I also don’t understand how the love I share with my fiancée can be something to be hated by groups of people that I’ve never even met.
|Tolerance, Love, and Acceptance|
I haven’t finished the book yet, but regardless of the ending, I’d recommend it. The book Sing You Home is a story about love, lost, and fight, which is something I think everyone can relate to and appreciate. Even more, I hope current and future readers will be able find a familiar face in one of the characters as I have and find the strength to allow this story to challenge their emotions, beliefs, and values.
|xo Stephorrine Lily|