Saturday, March 8, 2008

My Sister's Keeper

"Anna is not sick, but she might as well be. By age thirteen, she has undergone countless surgeries, transfusions, and shots so that her older sister, Kate, can somehow fight the leukemia that has plagued her since childhood."

This was the first book I’ve read by Jodi Picoult and I have to say, the story line totally pulled me in. It was fascinating, heartbreaking and hopeful wrapped in suspense. She managed to write this story in the voices of all the main characters, which only enhanced the story because the reader is able to look at the plot from different angles … a sort of placing oneself in the shoes of everyone involved.

There are 7 main characters (7 voices) that are involved in this story. Anna and Kate (the sisters), Jesse (their brother), Sara and Brian (their parents), Campbell (Anna’s lawyer) and Julia (Anna’s guardian at litem).

When Kate was 2 years old, she was diagnosed with acute promyelocytic leukemia. Her only chance of prolonging her life was if she could find a donor. Because this alone could take years (and she didn’t have years), her parents decided to fashion her a sister who would be a genetically perfect match through in vitro fertilization. A year later, Anna was born and made her first contribution at attempting to restore her sister’s life, by donating the blood from her umbilical cord. This was supposed to be her only contribution, however when Kate’s leukemia returned, Anna donated blood and bone marrow. Fast forward to Kate being 16 years old and Anna being 13. Kate’s kidneys are failing and Anna is expected to donate one of hers to save her sister’s life. Instead of going through with this, Anna does something that is unthinkable. She retains a lawyer (Campbell) to be medically emancipated from her parents and gain the right to make the decision herself.

Throughout the novel, we hear the voice of Anna who goes through with this for what the reader might think are selfish reasons (but the truth comes out at the end why she even initiated this lawsuit in the first place), the voice of her father, Brian, who loves both of his children and can understand Anna’s point of view, but still would do anything to save Kate, the voice of her mother, Sara, who is beside herself when the lawsuit comes to be and can’t understand why Anna would do such a thing, the voice of Jesse, the kid who in the midst of his sister’s illness has been cast aside by his parents, deemed the lost cause. We also hear the voice of Campbell and Julia, who happened to be past loves, and in their fight for a just cause, find their way back to eachother.

This book was so well written and had me hooked from the start. The twist at the end was so devastating and so unexpected (but I won’t give that away), but it also served to save that family and pull them back together. It was a fantastic read and one I would definitely recommend.

10 comments:

Playful Professional said...

I just did a review of this book and had almost the exact same thing to say about it. I loved it and really like Jodi Picoult. You should read Nineteen Minutes if you haven't already- also a great book.

Airam said...

Nice!

A review of 19 minutes was done on this blog some time ago and it's actually a book that I'm in the middle of right now.

I'm really liking Jodi Picoult.

Kathryn said...

I just finished this book and loved it - never mind that it caused me to cry in public more than once

19 minutes is next for me, too

Pam said...

This book and Nineteen Minutes havbe been on my "to read" list and bookshelf for months. I've heard such good things about both of them.

The Pact is the only one of hers I've ever read and it was good.

Inarticulate Fumblings said...

You saved me! I'm a part of a book club and have to submit my selection soon. Woo Hoo!

Airam said...

Inarticulate - You're welcome! Let me know what everyone thinks of it.

Amber said...

Jodi Picoult is an amazing author and My Sister's Keeper is my absolute favorite by her!

I'm currently reading her most recent release, Change of Heart, and it's definitely another winner!

brandy said...

This one (and 19 minutes) are my two favourites. I just read "Mercy" by Jodi (yes, we are on a first name basis) and although I enjoyed it, it wasn't at the same level as the other two mentioned.

Also, this book is being made into a movie now- Cameron Diaz is playing the mom. I'm not sure how I feel about that...

Katelin said...

i just finished this book this weekend and i totally agree with your review, it drew me in from the beginning. even though it was a little hard to follow who was talking at first, it definitely added to the story overall. and the end, so sad, and wow. but i loved it all.

Katie Killary said...

I just came across this post... I plan on reading this book very soon. Now I'm really looking forward to it!