Been some time since my last Jodi Picoult. This is another book that made the bestsellers' list.
In the beginning of the novel, Zoe and Max are trying to have their own baby. They are unable to have kids even though they have been married 9 years. Both have fertility problems. So, 5 years into their marriage, they try IVF. And 5 years down the road, she's on the 5th cycle of treatment, after 2 miscarriages. Her clock is ticking. They are almost broke after so many tries. And then at 28 weeks, she lost the baby. Both are devastated. Something goes out.
Everything goes downhill after that. Zoe wants to try again. Max cannot go through it. They drift apart, or rather he runs away. He goes back to the bottle and files for a divorce. Then, Max finds religion. Zoe finds Vanessa. From straight to gay. Zoe 'marries' Vanessa and they want to have their own child. Zoe remembers that there are still 3 more frozen embryos. But to use it, she has to get Max to release them since they are his too. And that's when things got ugly. Max's church believes it's wrong because the pre-born children will be growing up in sin. A court case; digging up dark secrets, opening of closets long locked to be forgotten... and the dark and ugly of what all of us are capable of, especially under the guise of religion, how ugly religious people can be. The more you claim to be godly, the more of the a voice of moral authority you feel you are entitled to be.
Picked up the book because it's a Picoult book. But after a couple of pages, actually thought of not continuing because the story evolved around an issue which I'm uncomfortable with.... being gay. Being gay is an abberration from the norm and abomination in the eyes of faith. Yet as I read, I found it to be rather humbling too because often times we forget that gays are people too.
Being gay I guess finally also boils down to a need(s) being met; a soul mate, a friend. It's not just about a deviant sexual orientation. Deep down everyone is this need to be loved and accepted. Everyone of us wants someone with whom we can share our life, someone who knows what we like or will do, without being told or asked. One can easily identify with Zoe as she goes through the most difficult time of her life and finally finding that someone fills that need, just that it's Vanessa. It's easy to see why people make their choices...
As Max and Zoe go through their legal battle, Max's church throws their weight hehind him. And that's where the ugly appears. People hide behind institutionalised religion. People use institutionalise religion for legitimacy. And it's easy to see why people turn away from religion once you can think for yourself... . Faith which is supposed to be the face of compassion and love is often more judgmental and harsh in its persecution of the very peope they are supposed to engage and show love. We become the hypocrites instead of givers of compassion.
This is a book that made me think quite a bit more than usual. Putting ourselves in the opposite pair of shoes is not something many of us are willing to do. Many of us prefer to hide behind this veneer of religious laws so that we can dictate the kind if moral grounds that the rest should tread. And sometimes being gay is not just about having a deviant sexual orientation. It's also about gravitating towards other needs met... It's a product of love being a verb and not just a feeling. Today's world is also an increasingly lonely one despite having so much more....
Coming in at number 3... I thought the reading bug had been squashed by eyes that tire more easily these days and also other pressing demands. It's nice to know that a good book can still keep me riveted.