Sing You Home

Sing You Home

Cover of hardcover 1st edition
Author Jodi Picoult
Publisher Atria Books
Publication date
Media type Print (Hardcover)
Pages 480
ISBN 978-1-4391-0272-5

Sing You Home is a novel by American novelist Jodi Picoult. It was released on March 1, 2011, and tells the story of a lesbian fighting for the right to use frozen embryos created by her and her ex-husband. The novel features a companion soundtrack CD of ten original songs with lyrics by Jodi Picoult and music by her best friend, Ellen Wilber. Ellen Wilber also performs the songs on the CD in the voice of the story's main character, Zoe.


Zoe and Max Baxter, a music therapist and landscaper respectively, cannot have children because of their fertility issues. It is revealed that Zoe has polycystic ovary syndrome and Max has a genetic disease. Over the course of their marriage, they have overgone five rounds of in vitro. Zoe has had two miscarriages. She successfully becomes pregnant for the third time, but loses the baby in late pregnancy, at her baby shower, no less, much to her great sorrow. Zoe and Max soon divorce because Max does not want Zoe to pressure him into trying again for a child.

Some time later, Zoe, a music therapist, still has not recovered from the shock of the divorce, and Max has moved in with his brother, Reid, and his sister-in-law, Liddy. Reid and Liddy are both Christians, and are also trying to have children, and have had several miscarriages because of the Baxter family unbalance. Max originally is hostile to Reid, Liddy, and their pastor's efforts to convert him to their religion, but eventually warms up to the church and becomes a born-again Christian.

Zoe meets Vanessa Shaw, who is openly a lesbian, while floating at the bottom of a pool early in the morning. Vanessa thinks Zoe is drowning and tries to save her, but Zoe asserts that she was only floating at the bottom, looking at the lights from the bottom of the pool. Zoe and Vanessa become fast friends and eventually fall in love. Zoe, at first, is unwilling to admit to her relationship with Vanessa, but when Vanessa is angry that Zoe is ashamed of her, Zoe eventually admits to Max when she sees him at a grocery store that she and Vanessa are together. Max is shocked and disgusted, and confides in his pastor, Pastor Clive, his fears: that Zoe turned to lesbianism because he was not enough of a man to satisfy her.

Zoe and Vanessa marry soon after the incident, and Zoe still wants to have a child, but requires a hysterectomy after the discovery of endometrial cancer. Vanessa suggests that she could carry one of Zoe's frozen embryos, and Zoe readily agrees. They learn that since the embryos are Max's children too, Max must agree for Zoe and Vanessa to try to use the embryos. Zoe asks Max if he will agree, and Max, confused and stricken, tells her he will think about it. Zoe and Vanessa, thinking that Max is surely going to agree, begin thinking of names and furnishing the baby's room. Meanwhile, Zoe is working with a rebellious teenage girl named Lucy, who is hostile and angry.

Max consults Pastor Clive, who tells him that no child should be subjected to being raised in a lesbian household. He suggests that Max sue Vanessa and Zoe for the rights to raise the embryos, which he calls 'pre-born children', and that if Max wins, he should give the children to be raised by Reid and Liddy, who cannot have children of their own. Max agrees, and serves Vanessa and Zoe with papers, suing them for the right to raise the children.

Vanessa and Zoe are angry and upset, Zoe being incredulous that Max would betray her like that. The two turn to a lawyer, Angela Moretti, who specializes in gay and lesbian cases, although she is not gay herself. In turn, Max and Pastor Clive enlist the help of Wade Preston, a Christian lawyer, and Ben Benjamin, another lawyer.

Over the course of a month or two, the case shifts gears several times, with hostility present between Max, Zoe, Angela and Wade. Initially the judge seems to be in favor of Zoe's case, but then evidence is supplied that Lucy—who is, in fact, Pastor Clive's stepdaughter—was molested by Zoe, which is an untrue allegation. Nevertheless, Zoe cracks and agrees to give up and award the case to Max.

Max eventually realizes that he is in love with Liddy, and that to sit by and watch the child be raised as Reid and Liddy's, with him playing the lesser role of uncle, would be unbearable. He agrees to give up the embryos and give them to Zoe and Vanessa to raise as their own; Zoe and Vanessa allow him to play the role of father.

The epilogue is seen seven or so years later, through Samantha 'Sammy' Baxter's eyes. Sammy is six years old, has a dog named Ollie, and calls her mothers 'Mama Ness' and 'Mommy Zoe'. She knows that Vanessa is the tooth fairy, because she peeked, and often defends her two mothers against bullying remarks passed by her classmates. She reveals that Liddy and Max are together and are getting married shortly. She considers it normal, and even better, to have two mothers and a father, and knows that all three of her parents love her very much. In the end she asserts that she is a very happy child, and is, really, the luckiest little girl in the world.


Ellen DeGeneres has acquired right to the book in order to turn it into a film that she will be producing with Craig Zaden and Neil Meron.[1]


  1. "Ellen DeGeneres is making "Sing You Home" into a movie". 2011-03-22. Archived from the original on 2013-01-16. Retrieved 2012-08-19.
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