Book Club – Songs of the Humpback Whale

It is true, that once you’ve become a mother (and I can affirm, worse when you have kids a year apart), things like reading, watching television and just general alone time becomes somewhat of a luxury. Now that my kids are at a fairly independent age, it’s been great getting back into the swing of reclaiming my identity! Part of that means I get to concentrate on my fitness, navigate the mall without a pram and entourage, write my little stories here on the blog…and read a little bit more.
When I got invited to join a book club recently, I eagerly accepted as it meant I could indulge and get lost in some reading a little bit more often than I have been of late. Our first meeting took place in September, where we shared our recent reads and favourite reads of all time, and also decided on the book we would be reading to discuss at our next meeting.
Songs of the Humpback Whale – Jodi Picoult
The novel centre’s around Jane, who flees from her very famous scientist husband (he does research on whale’s) with her teenage daughter Rebecca after a seemingly minor and trivial argument. The story is being told from 4 different perspectives, and slowly delves deeper into Jane’s troubled past in the hopes of giving us insight on her decision to flee.
I was a little bit disappointed with this book. Perhaps, because of the unfair comparison I was giving it to My Sister’s Keeper, which remains one of my favourite reads. Although beautifully written, It  lacked some of the more complex moral  dilemma’s that Jodi has become known for, and did not grip me in the same manner as many of her other novels.
That being said, I discovered some interesting information after having completed the book which changed my perception slightly…. This was Jodi’s first published novel !! She was 25 when she completed the novel and had just had her first baby…
So, I suppose, with that knowledge, it gave me  a better understanding and appreciation of this tale…that of a woman in search of herself, finding her voice and breaking free. It made me see the hidden messages in Jodi’s imagery, and gave us plenty to discuss and dissect (and we did plenty of dissecting) at our October book club meeting.  I think all of us left with a sense of fulfilment with grasping the message of the book, and unravelling a few of the mysteries and unanswered questions that Jodi Picoult always likes to leave the reader with.
Some people may find the structure of the book confusing, as it flows through different narrators and different time frames…but there is method to Jodi’s madness here, and if you think you’ve figured it all out at the end of the novel, you might want to take a second look. It is through this hidden mysteries that Jodi has left us; that you can truly appreciate the crafting of this novel, and the message she is sending!
I would not classify this book in the league of my favourites, but I definitely appreciate it more after our discussion than I initially did. For a first novel it was great, and one can appreciate the growth of one of the best known authors of our time!

Book Club will resume after the 2 lovely ladies on the left have had their babies (both due in December) and have settled into their new roles, where we will be discussing a novel of  my recommendation A Thousand Splendid Suns… 
 Thanks for reading.


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