Tuesday, April 23, 2013

My Sister's Keeper, Jodi Picoult

My Sister's KeeperWhen I was little, the great mystery to me wasn't how babies were made, but why.

My Sister's Keeper is an interesting realistic fiction novel, if not high-brow literature. Our main character is Anna; she's not sick, but she was conceived to be a perfect match for her sister Kate, who has leukemia. Over the years, she's undergone many surgeries, transfusions, and shots, so that her sister can live a little longer. But at the age of thirteen, she's finally getting just a little bit sick of it. She makes an unthinkable decision, that will tear her family apart and affect everyone in the story, most of all her sister. "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 moral parable for all time."

Most of that description in quotes is right, though I wouldn't call it that great. "A stunning moral parable for all time" may be overkill a bit, but it is certainly provocative, and it does certainly raise some important ethical issues, which are quite interesting. There's no one "right" side in this case. Obviously, the parents want Kate to live, but Anna has never had a say in anything. It's always been taken for granted that she will donate things to her sister. Now her parents want her to donate a kidney, and that's something that Anna just isn't sure about, because it's kind of dangerous. That may seem a bit selfish since her sister might die if she doesn't donate her kidney, but think about it. Anna has never had a choice, and now her parents just expect her to do something like this.

The writing in My Sister's Keeper was interesting. It was kind of full of cliches, but it was also really absorbing. I was pulled in, and couldn't stop reading. I feel like Jodi Picoult tried to make all of the events symbolize something really important, and perhaps it was a little too much. Does everything that happens have to reinforce a specific something? There was also so many dramatic events: past loves returning to haunt the characters, tortured remembrances, and the like. This made My Sister's Keeper read kind of like a soap opera, though an entertaining one.

The various characters take turns narrating this story, but the one who is conspicuously absent from most of the novel is Kate herself. I kind of would have liked to see her perspective throughout the events, and was a bit disappointed that that didn't happen. She is, after all, one of the most central characters in the story, and yet she never gets her turn, until the epilogue, the very last section.

As many reviewers have commented, the ending of My Sister's Keeper was really bad. It was awful and contrived and I have no idea why the author chose to write the book like that. I did still enjoy this dramatic and sad book.

Read My Sister's Keeper:
  • if you like realistic fiction
  • if you like Jodi Picoult
  • if you like books dealing with cancer and ethical issues
423 pages.
Very Good! I would recommend this book!


  1. Do you have a copy of this/is it in a library I have access to? I'd like to read it.