Songs of the Humpback Whale: A Novel in Five Voices
3 journalers for this copy...
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.
When Jane gets into another one of their arguments, she actually hits Oliver this time. Horrified because she had an abusive father, she runs away. Her daughter, Rebecca , age 15, accompanies her.
Jane contacts her brother, Joley and wants to visit him. He gives her directions day by day driving her across the country and making her see points of interest. One of the points of interest is in Iowa where Rebecca survived an airplane crash when Jane had left Oliver another time and put Rebecca on the plane to return to Oliver alone.
Finally Jane and Rebecca arrive at the apple orchard in Massachusetts. Joley is working there alongside the owner, Sam and his assistant, Hadley, both 25. Jane falls in love with Sam and Rebecca with Hadley.
This novel was written in 5 voices. But the time frames are different as some are forwards and Rebecca is backwards. Although I did enjoy the book, it was not as good as some of Picoult's other books. There were some glaring problems. Hadley being so much older than Rebecca puts his actions in the realm of statutory rape, yet no one seems to worry about this aspect. The trip across the country is the most chaotic trip ever, with backtracking and sometimes it felt like it was the most indirect route available that was taken. The ending was hurried and as far as I was concerned not at all either satisfying or explained.