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Literature / Sing You Home

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Sing You Home is a 2011 book by Jodi Picoult. Zoe Baxter has spent ten years trying to get pregnant, and after multiple miscarriages and infertility issues, it looks like her dream is about to come true: She is seven months pregnant. But a terrible turn of events leads to a nightmare — one that takes away the baby for whom she has already fallen; and breaks apart her marriage to Max. In the aftermath, she throws herself into her career as a music therapist.

When Vanessa, a guidance counselor, asks Zoe to work with a suicidal teen, their relationship moves from business to friendship and then, to Zoe’s surprise, blossoms into love. When Zoe allows herself to start thinking of having a family, again, she remembers that there are still frozen embryos that were never used by her and Max. Meanwhile, Max has found peace at the bottom of a bottle – until he is redeemed by an evangelical church, whose charismatic pastor, Clive Lincoln, has vowed to fight the “homosexual agenda” that has threatened traditional family values in America. But this mission becomes personal for Max, when Zoe and her same-sex partner say they want permission to raise his unborn child. This leads to a court case to decide who gets the embryos.



  • Activist-Fundamentalist Antics: The whole trial arguably starts because of this. Pastor Clive claims that no child should have to live with lesbian parents, so he encourages Max to sue Zoe and Vanessa.
  • The Alcoholic: Max. Though clean at the beginning of the story, he relapses after divorcing Zoe.
  • All Gays Are Pedophiles: Zoe is accused of molesting one of her clients, Lucy, who just so happens to be Pastor Clive's stepdaughter. Vanessa states that this trope is why she keeps her door open when counseling students, so that nobody will have any reason to suspect her.
  • All Lesbians Want Kids: Played with. Both Vanessa and Zoe want kids, but Zoe desperately wanted kids long before Vanessa came along.
  • Babies Make Everything Better: Implied in the epilogue, told from the viewpoint of their child, Samantha.
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  • Closet Key: Vanessa for Zoe.
  • Disappeared Dad: Zoe's father died when she was eight.
  • Emo Teen: Lucy.
  • Good Girls Avoid Abortion: Zoe is revealed to have had an abortion when she was nineteen, and feels incredibly guilty about it, especially in light of her current fertility issues.
  • Has Two Mommies: Zoe and Vanessa are hoping for this. Max gives them the embryos, so their child, Samantha, indeed has two mommies.
  • Last Het Romance: Max and Zoe.
  • Law of Inverse Fertility: Zoe desperately wants a child, but just can't carry a pregnancy to term.
  • Lipstick Lesbian: Zoe and Vanessa.
  • Love Triangle: Max is in love with his sister-in-law Liddy. He ends up winning said triangle, and in the epilogue it is mentioned that he and Liddy are soon to be married.
  • No Bisexuals/If It's You, It's Okay: Zoe calls herself a lesbian despite the fact that she admits being attracted to and in love with men. Her partner, Vanessa, is a school counselor and frequently counsels LGBT teens, but never mentions any bisexuals.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: The novel discusses gay rights, in-vitro fertilization, abortion, evangelicals, alcoholism, atheism...
  • Sibling Triangle: Max falls for Liddy, his brother's wife. They hook up during the trial, but the main plot ends rather abruptly before giving much more detail. In the epilogue, we find out that Max and Liddy are apparently getting married, but that's about it.
  • Virtual Soundtrack: There is a 10-song CD with songs by Jodi Picoult's friend Ellen Wilber, along with recommendations on when to play the songs.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The plot builds up for all of the book, and then is resolved in more or less a single chapter in the end, leaving quite a few plot threads unresolved. No word on what happens with Lucy making a false rape accusation, or Liddy apparently divorcing her husband and marrying his brother, or much of anything else. Quite unsatisfying, really.