This new novel from veteran novelist Jodi Picoult, arrived at work in ARC form from Atria Publishing. It’s been a while since I’ve read a Jodi Picoult novel. Why, you may ask? The topics haven’t been ones I was interested in enough to tackle. But, many of my bookselling peers have not missed a one.
I sometimes find the issues Picoult addresses not geared toward me. And this new one is no exception, but I really like the characters and the way she has chosen to deal with the problems they are living through.
Here are the issues: Invitro-fertilization; music therapy; lesbian marriage; and religious intent. Each one is fully involved with the story. Zoe and Max are a married couple trying to have a baby when the story begins. They try, and they try, and they try. Then they try invitro. Over and over again. Like many couples, this takes a huge toll on their relationship, finally becoming the main cause of their divorce. That a divorce occurs is not a spoiler. It is inevitable. It is what happens to both these tortured people after the divorce that is the focus of Picoult’s latest novel. And, what happens to frozen embryos after a divorce?
Zoe works as a music therapist. Max has his own business when he isn’t chasing the next big wave, surfing. Both these people are just looking for the right person to share the rest of their lives with. But Max goes astray and finds Jesus. Zoe finds Vanessa.
Novels like this show how devastating lies and secrets can be to innocent lives. Picoult has brought attention to the gay and lesbian community in a bright and unique form. I was impressed with her knowledge and her insight. She shows not tells how these two women feel. She also shows us, how, in this case, religion is not always the answer, in it’s entirety. And music therapy can work.
With depth of empathy and warmth of compassion, this author has given us something fresh and new to chew on. Read this novel with an open mind. You will come away with so much more than you started with. After all, we are all in this together.