Wednesday, June 24, 2009

My Sister's Keeper

My first book review will be My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult. I just finished reading it and I was definitely crying at the very end. The whole book is very thought provoking. I loved it, it took me less than a week to get through the whole thing!

The book has great character development, and a whole lot of driama. I really liked the psychological aspect of the story. It is told from multiple perspectives, so I really enjoyed viewing this story from all these characters’ points of view. It also raises very interesting moral dilemmas that are worth thinking about. (The rest of the review has my impressions on aspects of the story and contains spoilers)


I am all about character development, so I really enjoyed the portraits the author created in this book. In the beginning all of them seem so clear cut: a crazy mother obsessed with the well-being of her favorite child, a cocky lawyer, a 13-year-old who was neglected wanting attention, and a father who wants to stay out of it, so he goes along with his wife on all accounts. During the course of the book though, all the characters had changed so drastically.

The most interesting transformation was Anna though: in the very end when we realize what her motives are, she seems a completely different person, very adult, unlike a girl she is made out to be a few pages go, with the description of her having to give an oral presentation in 3rd grade and vomiting on her classmates. For me, the most compelling point in the book where I identified with her most, is when she wants to go to hockey camp, but she can’t go because her sister might need her blood, bone marrow, or something else. She is mad, because she can’t be a normal kid.

In the end the court decides in her favor. I was very interested to see what she would decide to do, now that she can choose what to do. Having understood her, I presume she would have chosen to donate her kidney anyways but we will never know. I don’t think this could have been written any other way. After the conflict throughout the book, I feel like it would take another book to describe Anna’s trials and tribulations, so in a sense in dying she was spared that decision.

One particular aspect of the book that I found fascinating was the family dynamics. The Fitzgeralds seem to have been such a wholesome family before Kate’s illness. We find ourselves thinking what we would have felt have we been in their shoes. The family seems very split about the decision about Anna’s donation and I was afraid the author would leave us with a broken family, yet with Kate’s help they manage to put themselves back together, even Jesse finds himself as a part of the family yet again.

For me personally this book was hard to read (yet so gripping, I found it hard to put it down), because I felt so bad for Sara (the mother). It must be SO hard to know one of your children is so sick that she has a very low survival rate. I think I would have done anything I could for her. But on the other hand, I found myself wondering how she could ask of her other child to give so much! What a horrible position to be in.

I found the ending interesting, because in a sense Anna has served her role in saving her sister, and it is as if she was never there, but I feel like she has left a huge mark on her family. I don’t know how else to say this other than to say Anna didn’t belong, and was not really noticed until she was gone.

I am sorry, I am very rusty in my book-reviewing skills – haven’t done this really since high school. I do look forward to reading more books by Picoult.

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