I think I've met my soul mate. Before my husband goes on a jealous rampage, I should mention this soul mate is a happily married woman with three children- so no competition Brian, I promise. This is important for him because I spent the night with Jodi Picoult last night. It's not quite as racy as it sounds, but that's what the event was called- "A Night with Jodi Picoult". Jodi Picoult is a bestselling author of 17 books, and she has a new one coming out on March 1st which is very relevant to The AFA's mission. That's one of the reasons I drove an hour away to spend almost 2 hours listening to Jodi Picoult talk about storytelling, her books and her life.
I wasn't quite sure what to expect when meeting Jodi. Reading her books is similar to riding a roller coaster (of emotions)- the subjects aren't light hearted, and the story lines make you think, make you question. Here's a little surprise...Jodi wants you to think, wants you to question your beliefs. When she picks up a pen she wants to put every reader on that emotional roller coaster and make it a ride you won't forget. Jodi is down to earth, funny, engaging, brilliant, insightful and most of all, real. I warned you I have a bit of a obsession.
She is known to write about controversial topics- such as high school shootings, molestation, religion, science, suicide, to name a few. One of the audience members asked her why she chose to write about such hot button topics. She said she will get an idea about a subject for a book, and knows when it's the right one when she can't stop thinking about it. Jodi says her goal as a writer is to have the reader walk away from the book not knowing how Jodi feels about the issue. She talked about the importance of giving each side of an issue a voice- she does this through her characters. Many of us are shaped by our parent's opinions, and haven't taken the time to look at an issue through our own eyes. She allows readers to see all sides to the argument, and then the reader can decide what they believe or don't believe, what they feel is right or wrong.
Jodi's new book, Sing You Home, will be available on March 1st. Below is a synopsis of the book from her website. I read this synopsis, and then directly figured out her appearance schedule, bought a ticket- and thus the obsession begins...
"Zoe Baxter has spent ten years trying to get pregnant, and after multiple miscarriages and infertility issues, it looks like her dream is about to come true – she is seven months pregnant. But a terrible turn of events leads to a nightmare – one that takes away the baby she has already fallen for; and breaks apart her marriage to Max. In the aftermath, she throws herself into her career as a music therapist – using music clinically to soothe burn victims in a hospital; to help Alzheimer’s patients connect with the present; to provide solace for hospice patients. When Vanessa – a guidance counselor -- asks her to work with a suicidal teen, their relationship moves from business to friendship and then, to Zoe’s surprise, blossoms into love. When Zoe allows herself to start thinking of having a family, again, she remembers that there are still frozen embryos that were never used by herself and Max.
Meanwhile, Max has found peace at the bottom of a bottle – until he is redeemed by an evangelical church, whose charismatic pastor – Clive Lincoln – has vowed to fight the “homosexual agenda” that has threatened traditional family values in America. But this mission becomes personal for Max, when Zoe and her same-sex partner say they want permission to raise his unborn child.
SING YOU HOME explores what it means to be gay in today’s world, and how reproductive science has outstripped the legal system. Are embryos people or property? What challenges do same-sex couples face when it comes to marriage and adoption? What happens when religion and sexual orientation – two issues that are supposed to be justice-blind – enter the courtroom? And most importantly, what constitutes a “traditional family” in today’s day and age?"
She raises a great question- what is a "traditional family"? The AFA believes everyone has the right to a family which is why we support everyone in their family building dreams. Jodi wrote this book so she could show her readers families come in all shapes and sizes- love is love. She said when her goal is for reader's to walk away from this book completely understanding why Zoe and Vanessa should be parents- why they deserve to be a family.
I was able to ask Jodi a few questions on infertility and LGBT family building, and will be featuring the interview in The AFA's weekly e-newsletter, Connect. If you don't already subscribe to Connect, please go to our website and sign-up so you don't miss this exciting article!