Saturday, April 02, 2011

Songs of the Humpback Whale by Jodi Picoult

Songs of the Humpback Whale by Jodi Picoult

Jane Jones grew up with an abusive father. Her dad would hit and verbally abuse both her and her mother. Jane managed to protect her younger brother, Joley, from the abuse which made Joley have a very deep and strong love for his sister.

Jane falls in love with and marries Oliver, a well-recognized expert on humpback whales, her life changes. She has to move to the other side of the country and finds herself at home alone more and more because Oliver leaves on expeditions to watch the whales. She soon has a daughter Rebecca and when she turns three, Oliver and Jane get into such a fight that Oliver slaps Jane and she takes off to Boston with Rebecca. When Oliver threatens to send the FBI to get back his daughter, she sends Rebecca back on a plane that ends up crashing and killing everyone but Rebecca and a couple of other people. Jane goes back to Oliver.

It's now 12 years later and the two get in another fight that results in Jane hitting Oliver. Afraid that she's going to become like her father, Jane sets out again on a cross country trip to see Joley. This time, with Rebecca and in the car because she's too afraid to fly. Joley gives them directions day by day, taking them on an odd route to see places he thinks would be therapeutic. We learn that the relationship between Jane and Rebecca is a bit strained. Layers to their relationship are peeled away as they get closer and closer to their destination.

This story is told from the perspective of five different people. Rebecca tells the story from the end to the beginning, which is interesting, however I feel that it detracts a bit from the story because there isn't much of a climax at the end. Infact, the overall tone of this book is rather flat. Everything goes in a circle and there isn't much resolution at the end. This is my least favourite Jodi Picoult book.

First Line: "In the upper right hand corner of the photo is a miniature airplane that looks as if it is flying right into my forehead."


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