I read this book because I am a big Jodi Picoult fan. I would advise anyone thinking about reading this book to make sure it is not the first Jodi Picoult book you read. It was an interesting read mainly to see the beginning of Jodi's complex character details and her ability to weave a storyline from many controversial subjects in our society. This book covers several different subjects, spousal and child abuse, traumatic events and the way they affect lives, and a grown man's involvement with a minor. Jodi obviously took on too many subjects to make this story compelling. Each character seems to have enough flaws that none ever seems to touch the heart of the reader. Since it was a first novel, I applaud Ms. Picoult's efforts. However, if it was not a first novel of an accomplished author, I probably would have put the book down before finishing.
Eh... I'm glad this wasn't my first Picoult book, it may have been my last. I thought it dragged a lot, I really didn't like any of the characters and it just kind of "was". Most interesting thing about it was the whale stuff :)
Oh, this was terrible. I almost can't even begin to describe how terrible. I'm shocked that it got such good reviews from the newspapers. Okay, reasons why this book is terrible . . . 1) the time sequence is so out of whack that she ends up revealing the shocking parts of the book too early, which makes you not want to read the rest, but plow through it anyway hoping fruitlessly that it will get better, 2) you really, really dislike the Oliver character who is the guy communing with the humpbacks (I liked humpbacks before reading this book, and now they are tainted by this guy's scientific self-obsession/agrandizement), and 3) it's just slowwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.
I guess, ultimately, it's about families and love, what brings people together and rips them apart, but there's no real issue/premise that makes it all a cohesive whole like the rest of her books. If you want a good introduction to Picoult, start with Nineteen Minutes or My Sister's Keeper. This book will make you avoid her forever, if you've never read her before.
Another wonderful human interest story from Jody Picoult. However, the story unfolds in reverse order which made it a bit confusing for me. Definately a book to be read in one or two sittings, rather than over a week in small increments the way I did.
Another success. My BF had a hard time with the diffirent perspectives and timelines, but I really enjoyed then and thought it enhanced the suspense waiting to see how events were viewed by different characters. As are all of her books, it's thought provoking and challenging on several levels.
This book is a normal Picoult book because it jumbles up the chronological order of the story so you have to keep a close eye on the dates in each chapter. I find that difficult in some cases to understand what is happening. At the time I read this book I was also reading Evan's book "The Divide," which had a very similar theme. In Picoult's book the ending perhaps was more realistic, but in Evan's book more optomistic.
I did not find this book is not one I would read again or recommend to anyone.
It doesn't have the surprising ending the other Picoult's books have ... but it is still a very interesting story. I enjoy the way Picoult tells a story from 5 people's point of view ... and the reader can fit these all together. This one is interesting as 4 people are telling the story from beginning to end (chronologically), whereas the 5th person tells the story backwards (starting with the current day and going back to the beginning). It's not as confusing as it sounds, but holds your attention.
Another excellent one by Picoult. Couldn't put it down. I love how she gives each character their point of views. In this one she had the same scene a couple times told by a couple different characters to get everybody's perspective.
Another fantastic read by Jodi Picoult. Based on the description, I wasn't looking forward to it as much as some of her others, but as usual, she did not disappoint. Her writing style is phenomenal. By far my favorite author.
I found the jumping around in time to be very confusing. I would have preferred a straightforward time line from beginning to end. The forward and backward in time did not seem to add anything to the story line.
LASHERA K. - reviewed Songs of the Humpback Whale: A Novel in Five Voices on
Helpful Score: 3
I'm glad this was not my first encounter with Jodi Picoult because it would have been my last. I've read some of her other work and have always been impressed but not this time--I dragged myself through to the end. I found none of the characters to be endearing...the mother was childish, the teenage daughter too precocious, the husband/father a jerk, etc., etc. The relationship between Jane and her brother was somewhat unsettling to me. I wouldn't recommend this book to be your first step into the multi voiced novels of Picoult.
This book jumped back in forth in time a lot and switched character points of view which I normally do not mind but you were forced to read the same scenes over and over from different characters points of view which was ridiculous and the ending was given away less than halfway through the book. Very silly. Wouldn't recommend.
This was my fourth Picoult book and as some others have said; I'm glad it wasn't my first. As she progresses as a writer her stories draw you in. This book just didn't do that for me. I did finish it; but just didn't care about the characters as I had for her other books.
It took such a long time to finally get a copy of this from my Wish List, and what a waste of time. I've read several of Picoult's books, and liked some a lot, and some not so much. She has written 12 novels and has certainly matured a lot in her writing since this first effort. I believe this is her first, and it certainly reads likes it. I will now give serious thought and read evaluations more carefully before searching out earlier works of authors with whom I am now very favorably impressed. I hope that those of her books that I have purchased but not yet read are superior to this effort.
Pretty good for the author's first novel. I did find myself very interested and disappointed that one of the characters tells the story backward so the reader knows the end of the story at the beginning of the novel. None the less still very good.
This is one of Picoult's first novels, so maybe she hadn't hit her stride yet. I found myself skimming a lot of this book...not a good sign. I didn't care about the characters, because I didn't really like them. The ones that I thought I might like, weren't really developed enough.
I enjoyed this book but not as much as some of her other books. I did not like the way the book jumped to the end and then went back and gave the details of the story. Still had good characters, as always.
I'm a Picoult fan and have never NOT liked one of her books. But this is about as close to not liking I've come. The story was hard for me to get into in the beginning, then started to get better, then fizzled.
I loved it!! This is about Love and can happen to everyone . to be stuck in a marriage when you married young.. to have hang ups from your childhood nd to just want to go and start over. Points of view from all characters very well thought!
I like that the same story is told by 5 different people. It's interesting to see people's perception of the same events that occur. It was a bit confusing that Rebecca told the story in reverse chronological order, while everyone else told it like it happened. I did not like the ending, but not all stories have to have the fairy tale ending. There were stretches that the story dragged on, but I did finish it.
As others have already said, by no means is this the best Picoult book she's written and probably wouldn't be the best one to pick up first, but there are still many positives about it. As always, her writing is done beautifully, keeping you engaged from beginning to end. I also loved the themes she explored. Ultimately, the characters in this piece all try to come to terms with the meaning love, and what it means for different people and different relationships. WHen do they conflict? Do you have to choose? What is the difference between the love you find in a comfortable marriage based on routine versus the young love that sends sparks flying? What about the love between siblings, the love between parents, and the areas where love should exist but does not? What about the love between best friends? These are all explored here.
Jodi plays with different voices and often plays with the chronology in many of her books, but the beginning of this one was confusing and I don't think the choices always made the best sense. By the end of it, things fall into rhythm, so you just have to weather through the beginning. I'm not sure how much I bought the resolution of the conflicts in this story and would have liked to see some more things play out, but even still, some of these drawbacks are not enough to prevent me from recommending anyone to give this one a chance.
Interesting read, but a little difficult to follow at times with so much jumping around between "voices." Picoult covers a lot of issues in this one...then it just ends--left me wondering Now what? OK book, but not my favorite by Picoult
For her first book not bad. I am huge fan of her writing style and the way she can explore topics of an unwanted nature. This isn't her best work in my eyes however it is nice to see where she got her start from.
Do not make this your first Jodi Picoult read. This is by far my least favorite Picoult novel and I much enjoy her more recent novels. This book is hard to follow in terms of time frame. It skips all over in time and it is hard to know when the story is taking place, without paying close attention and rereading.
Cathy S. reviewed Songs of the Humpback Whale: A Novel in Five Voices on
Having read some of Jodi Picoult's more recent works I was curious to see what her earlier writing was like. This book was published in 1992. I enjoy her character development but struggle at times with the timeline going back and forth between present and past. Her chapters alternate in the voices of different characters, which is fine.
I agree with some of the reviewers before me that this should not be the first Jodi Picoult book a person reads. I did like the development of character over time however they were all so flawed that it was hard to choose whose side I most understood. The book is told through five different characters, and for the character of Rebecca the story travels back from the present to the event that started everything pertinent to the storyline. Jodi's later books are easier to read and comprehend. Sometimes it was hard to find the timeline for this story. All in all I enjoyed the book though; just not one of my favorites of hers.
I have read many of Jodi Picoult's books and I can say that I am glad that I did not read this one first! This was simply a shallow romance novel. Her other novels are filled with research and information and Songs of the Humpback Whale had none.
snowglow reviewed Songs of the Humpback Whale: A Novel in Five Voices on
This is a fascinating read with all the simple but often profound observations that you expect from Picoult, but the characters are all frustrating to the end. A journey of enlightenment and shocking events seems to end up being not much more than a summer break.
Songs of the Humpback Whale does take attention w/all the jumping around w/5 voices, but I love Picoult & have read many of her books. This one is my absolute favorite. It's worth the trouble. Of all the Picoult books I've read, this is the one that lingers long after I finished it............
I have read many of Picoults books and loved them. Then I realized that many of her characters in those books developed earlier. So I decided to go back to the beginning. This is the first book. I am so glad that I have read others. I hated this book. I would never have picked up another of hers if this was the first one I read. Because it was Picoult, I forced myself to read it. The book was very dry and not very interesting. I hated the ending. It had 5 different people telling the story. They story was out of order, which is OK sometimes but not in this book. Sometimes you were told about a scene by 3 different characters by the second, you got it, you did not need to read a different version. At times I would skip paragraphs just to make the book go faster. If you like Picoult you are going to want to read it to form your own opinion but please if this is your first Picoult do not base your opinion of her on this book. Read some of her books that were published in 2000 or on. I still have to read a couple more of her beginning books, I have read most of her books published after 2000 and I love them. Need to take a mental break after finishing them. I am hoping that the other earlier books are not as bad as this one.