I am an avid Jodi Picoult fan, I have read nearly all of her novels, and I have to say i dont think this was her best effort. For me everything stops when I get her new book, (luckly for me she always releases them in time for my birthday!) I thought the CD was a nice touch although I will be honest I cant listen to music and read at the same time. Maybe if i read the book again i will give the CD a try at the same time.
I love Jodi's style of writing, whereby she dedicates each chapter to a character and writes from their perspective, this is extremely common in her novels. I felt the characters were well explored which consequently provided an insight into their backgrounds. However, although I liked the premise of the story, i just didnt believe it. Dont get me wrong I think it is a real contentious issue for same sex couples to fight for the same rights as heterosexual couples along with the issue of battling for custody of embryos from a retrospective relationship and I dont think i would come up with a fair conclusion for this, and I understand and empathise with anyone in this or a similar situation.
The religous aspect of this book grated on me and I found myself skim reading these parts aswell as feeling angry at the attitudes Picoult was conveying. I understand that this is in essence indicitive of her superb writing, but i just thought it was a little too heavy, although that is just my personal opinion, and maybe most of it was necessary for the book. I agree with a previous reviewer, in that if you are religious this may not be the book for you.
The characters themselves I liked. I particularly liked Vanessa and her vulnerability, and i feel this could have been explored a lot further. Although it was explained that she had a less than perfect childhood and her mother wasnt supportive of her sexuality. However, i feel this could have been expanded as we only had a short time in the book focused on her. Max frustrated me, it felt as though he didnt really know what he wanted and felt he continuously tried to gain approval from those around him.
As with some of the other reviewers, i felt the ending was not only rushed but unbelievable. I wished that the character of Lucy had been explored more, and we never knew why she "accused" Zoe of sexual harrassment and whther her father had a part play in that. We knew that she was troubled but it was never explicit as to why other than her religious conflict with her parents. Her sexuality was hinted at but not confirmed. Although it was unexpected I was frustrated that Max suddenly had a change of heart, and gave the embryos to Zoe. After all the reasons that Max gave for wanting his brother to have them, just doesnt seem believeable that he would just "change his mind". The last chapter, infuriated me as it was a happy ever after ending, Max ended up with Liddy, but no mention of how that happened. yes it was discovered that they had feelings for one another but as Picoult clearly described Liddy's character she had no intention of leaving Reid and her character being extremeley religious, i just dont think it was fitting. Also, in the final chapter, Samantha says she has a loving family with her 2 moms and her dad, given that Max stated repeatedly that he did not want to be father (which was why he wanted Reid and Liddy to have the embryos and he wanted be uncle max), just seems to saccahrine for me. There was no conclusion for Liddy either, other than her getting together with Max, regarding her wanting a child.
All in all, i did enjoy it i just dont think its up to Picoult's usually high standards and it certainly wasnt me favourite.