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Book: My Sister’s Keeper, by Jodi Picoult
Published: 6th April 2004
Genre: Realistic Fiction, Contemporary, Drama, Adult
Page Count: 423
Goodreads Rating: 4.04
Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Anna is not sick, but she may as well be. By the age of thirteen, she has undergone countless surgeries, transfusions, and shots so that her older sister, Kate, can somehow fight the leukaemia that has plagued her since childhood. The product of preimplantation genetic diagnosis, Anna was conceived as a bone marrow match for Kate – a life and a role that she has never challenged… until now. Like most teenagers, Anna is beginning to question who she truly is. But unlike most teenagers, she has always been defined in terms of her sister – and so Anna makes a decision that for most would be unthinkable, a decision that will tear her family apart and have perhaps fatal consequences for the sister she loves.
A provocative novel that raises some important ethical issues, My Sister’s Keeper is the story of one family’s struggle for survival at all human costs and a stunning parable for all time.
The main characters of this story are Anna Fitzgerald (the girl born to keep her sister alive), Kate Fitzgerald (the girl with leukaemia), Sara Fitzgerald (the mother), Brian Fitzgerald (the father, who is a firefighter) and Campbell Alexander (the lawyer Anna hires to gain medical emancipation.)
If I’m going to be completely honest I didn’t love any of the characters. I found them a bit wavery (is that a word?) and inconsistent. I don’t know, maybe I just couldn’t relate to them, but they all frustrated me.
I didn’t mind reading about Campbell Soup (I’m sorry I had to #notsorry), because he was kind of funny, even though he was a certifiable (excuse me) asshole. I just really wanted to find out why he had a service dog and why it was such a big secret. I pretty sure I liked Brian (that’s promising, right?) he seemed to be the most consistent and fair out of all of them. Anna just confused me greatly and didn’t know what she wanted until right at the very end, when the big secret comes out (or one of the big secrets.) I also thought that her voice was just too mature to be coming from a thirteen year old. I know that she had been through a lot, but it still didn’t make sense that a 25 year olds voice was coming from a 13 year old. Sara just came across as a terrible person, which I don’t think she was completely. She was blinded by the love she had for her children and she made some wrong choices. I just kind of wanted to punch her for a lot of it, I’m sorry.
The main plot of the book is about Anna trying to sue her parents for the rights to her own body and to make her own medical decisions, because she no longer wants to be defined by her sister. The story was extended (ie. dragged out) by all the extensive subplots, which seem to be Jodi Picoult’s specialty. I actually generally enjoyed the plot and subplots, but the ending is what really got to me. I can’t say much without giving it all away, but it just seemed like a bit of a cop out. Like she had got to the end and didn’t know what to do with the characters and story. And just let me warn you, no matter what you do or think, you will not see the many layers of the ending to come together the way they do. It all really shocked me and I was left feeling dissatisfied.
I’ve only ever read two books by Jodi Picoult, this one and Nineteen Minutes. I haven’t loved either of them particularly and now that I think about it there were a lot of similarities between the two. I did not connect with Picoult’s characters in either book and I found the various subplots to be a little overwhelming at times and in some cases unnecessary to the main plot.
I do like that she has brought up some serious issues in this book like cancer and good parenting and medical emancipation. The book asked me questions and made me think a little about what choice I would make in that situation.
The book is written in multiple first person POV, which is my favourite style of writing, so I liked this part of it. It was overwhelming to begin with, with the POV’s changing so quickly, but it is something I got used to quite quickly.
Overall, I didn’t love this book, but I didn’t necessarily hate it. I didn’t connect with the characters, which made it difficult to care for them. I loved the idea of the plot and mostly enjoyed how it was told. I disliked the ending, it just seemed rushed and fake, but I loved how the POV’s were written. I would recommend it to anyone interested in law or medicine, to parents, to anyone who needs a cry, anyone who wants to ponder the meaning of life and whether or not they’re a good person.
I am determined to find a Jodi Picoult book that I like more than not. I will keep trying.
Have you read this book? What did you think of it?
I would love to hear from you. 🙂