Normally, I’m not the type to pick up contemporary fiction, much less enjoy it. Normally, it bores me and I can’t get into the stories…they’re too…realistic. But I’d heard that My Sister’s Keeper was a good a novel, and back at the beginning of the school year, I had picked it up at the bookstore for $1.00. Unfortunately, I didn’t read it until now because I had the unsightly disease known as reading-deprivation. Yeah, I hate to admit I went for many months without reading for pleasure, but the summer has me back in the swing of things, and yesterday I finally got around to reading it! I’m so glad I did. It was honestly fantastic.
Rating: 5/5 Sparkles
Sara and Brian Fitzgerald receive the news no parent want to hear: their beautiful toddler daughter has leukemia. They’re at a loss of what to do. Yes, there are medical steps that can be taken, but anything will be dangerous. The best form of help would come in the form of a matching relative who could donate organs and such to save young Kate. Unfortunately for the Fitzgeralds, their other child, their eldest, Brian is not a match. After some deliberation, they decide to have another child, but this child will be engineered to be the perfect match for donations for Kate, and as soon as baby Anna is born, she is used for a treatment to save her sister. But it doesn’t end there, Anna continually goes through surgeries and transfusions and transplants as her sister continually falls into relapses and needs more treatment, and once she’s thirteen, Anna decides it is time to end. She will sue her parents for the right to her own body. Yes, it might mean the end of her sister, but she feels she needs to, and she finds the perfect lawyer for the job, Campbell Alexander. Due to the touchy nature of the court case, the judge appoints Julia Romano, an ex-lover of Campbell’s to be Anna’s guardian and help make the final decision. It’s not an easy time for the Fitzgeralds as their eldest child has been long gone to a life of drugs, their second fights a constant battle with leukemia, and their youngest fights for medical emancipation.
Jodi Picoult is a fantastic author. I can understand what the hype is about with this novel, which was a relief to me, as often the “amazing” novels that everyone gushes about turn out to be such disappointments. *
cough*The Fault in our Stars*cough* But My Sister’s Keeper performed a victorious stay— away from the disappointment crowd.
The presentation of the difficult topic captured my attention, and had me at a loss as to choosing the definite correct course of action. I loved that Picoult gave the main characters their own sections of the story to speak from a first person point of view. It gave us a look into all their pasts and presents and helped us understand why they did what they did. This style also made it so their was no clear protagonist; based on your own beliefs on the controversial topic, you could root for whomever you wanted. For me that was hard as I couldn’t make a complete decision. The lines are so thin in moral decisions such as these. Should you continue to go through painful surgeries to donate your healthy body to your dying sister, who continually goes into relapse anyway? Is it wrong of you to sue your parents? How much do you owe them? Is treating your children equally even possible? What is bad parenting? Is it wrong to conceive a child just to save another? Moral dilemmas are just that: dilemmas. It’s often hard to make a choice, and the characters in this novel were constantly faced with these.
The characterization was on point. I was extremely impressed with how well-developed the characters were and how appropriate their unique voices were. There was so much depth to each character’s personality, well portrayed by their voice and the inclusion of their memories. Each had different stories to tell of their lives and growing up/raising Kate, but all their stories melded together to form one unique tale. And there was more than just the main plot of Anna suing her parents over Kate, so many anecdotes that really brought the characters to life and a few side plots that didn’t hurt the story it all. The whole novel I was wondering what on earth Campbell’s service dog was for.
You can often tell if a book is good, if it brings out real emotion from you, and this one definitely did. My eyes teared up a few times, and it wasn’t even for the cancer scenes. It was for the real encounters and confrontations the kids had with their parents. Needless to say, they weren’t always beautiful moments of loving parents giving gifts to their children or something, but there were moments I could feel the parents trying; I could feel their love. And then there were the sad moments where I could feel the kids trying, especially Anna and Brian, to be noticed. They wanted love, and they couldn’t always see it as they wanted to. And the ending. I couldn’t believe the twist but wasn’t at all surprised to feel the tears fall.
The novel was pieced together very well. It brought about a discussion on ethics and morals. Fine lines people must choose whether or not to cross everyday. It’s easier to say what the right thing to do is when you’re not the one making the decision, and Picoult did an excellent job placing the reader in the shoes of her characters. Though I probably won’t read it again anytime soon, I definitely recommend it. It’s a good read with excellent authorship. Well done Picoult! For writing a novel worth the hype and acclaim as well as the time spent reading!
I track my reading on Goodreads, and often write short reviews. To see my ratings, click on the link at the bottom of the page, or to see my thoughts on some of my latest readings, click on the links below.
- A Step of Faith by Richard Paul Evans (3/5 stars)
- The Hero’s Lot by Patrick W. Carr (4/5 stars)
- Unforseeable by Nancy Mehl (3/5 stars)
- Match Made in Heaven by Bob Mitchell (1/5 stars)
- An Uncertain Dream by Judith McCoy Miller (3/5 stars)