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. 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.
My Sister's Keeper examines what it means to be a good parent, a good sister, a good person. Is it morally correct to do whatever it takes to save a child's life, even if that means infringing upon the rights of another? Is it worth trying to discover who you really are, if that quest makes you like yourself less? Should you follow your own heart, or let others lead you? Once again, in My Sister's Keeper, Jodi Picoult tackles a controversial real-life subject with grace, wisdom, and sensitivity.
While this book wasn't classic literature, it flowed easily and was difficult to put down. The topic was certainly controversial enough to cause me to contemplate how I would handle the situation had this been my family. I'm not sure if there are correct answers to this one.
A family discovers their 2 year old daughter (Kate) has an extremely aggressive type of leukemia and is need of a donor. There is no one in the family who matches, and the national registry can take years, if any at all. The parents opt for a genetically engineered child to be conceived for the blood contained within the umbilical cord. However, as the years go by more and more donations are required of this youngest child to (Anne) keep the older daughter alive. At the age of 13 Anne files suit against her parents for medical emancipation.
The book revolves around this lawsuit, and is recounted from various points of view - Anne, her parents, her brother Jesse, her lawyer and her ad litem guardian. Through these points of view the reader learns the history and dynamics of the family. I've read reviews complaining that the mother's character seems one-dimensional, but I don't see it that way. It may seem a little harsh, that's for sure. ( It seems absurd to me that this character in the film based on the book is Cameron Diaz, sweet, smiling and blonde, when in the book she is a brunette). I can imagine that a mother of a very, very sick child could concentrate too much on this child and apparently neglect other children without fully realizing it. It worked for me.
The ending didn't come as a total and complete surprise for me. I felt the author had already addressed the main issues that needed to be addressed. There are no easy answers to this situation and any ending is going to be difficult, shy of a miracle or divine intervention.
I love books that make me think long after I finish reading them, and this one caused me to do just that. I also like books that allow me to get so caught up in the characters that I can shed a tear when I'm done reading, whether the ending is happy or sad, and this story allowed for that as well. As I stated in the beginning: this is not great, classical literature, but a solid book to wrapped up in on a quiet afternoon.
Anche se questo libro non è letteratura classica, è scorrevole e appassionante L'argomento è certamente abbastanza controverso da indurmi a riflettere su come avrei gestito la situazione se fosse stata la mia famiglia. Non sono sicura che ci siano risposte corrette. Una famiglia scopre che la figlia di 2 anni (Kate) ha un tipo di leucemia estremamente aggressivo e ha bisogno di un donatore. Non c'è nessuno in famiglia che corrisponda, e con il registro nazionale occorrono anni, ammesso che ce ne sia qualcuno. I genitori optano per un bambino geneticamente modificato da concepire per il sangue contenuto nel cordone ombelicale. Tuttavia, con il passare degli anni, sono sempre più numerose le donazioni richieste a questa bambina più piccola (Anne) per mantenere in vita la figlia maggiore. All'età di 13 anni la figlia Anne intenta una causa contro i genitori per l'emancipazione medica.
Il libro ruota intorno a questa azione legale, e viene raccontato da vari punti di vista - Anne, i suoi genitori, suo fratello Jesse, il suo avvocato e il suo tutore ad litem. Attraverso questi punti di vista il lettore impara la storia e le dinamiche della famiglia. Ho letto recensioni che lamentano il fatto che il carattere della madre sembra unidimensionale, ma non la vedo così. Può sembrare un po' dura, questo sì. (Al che mi pare assurdo che questo personaggio nel film tratto dal libro sia Cameron Diaz, dolce, sorridente e bionda, quando nel libro è mora. Posso immaginare che una madre di un bambino molto, molto malato possa concentrarsi troppo su questo bambino e apparentemente trascurare gli altri bambini senza rendersene pienamente conto. Per me ha funzionato.
Il finale è esattamente quello che avevo ipotizzato potesse essere per questa storia, quindi non è stata per me una sorpresa totale e completa, perché ho sentito che l’autrice aveva già affrontato le questioni principali che dovevano essere affrontate. Non ci sono risposte facili a questa situazione e qualsiasi fine sarà difficile, a meno di un miracolo o di un intervento divino. Amo i libri che mi fanno riflettere molto dopo averli letti, e questo mi ha spinto a fare proprio questo. Mi piacciono anche i libri che mi permettono di farmi coinvolgere così tanto dai personaggi da farmi versare una lacrima quando ho finito di leggere, sia che il finale sia felice o triste, e questa storia ha permesso anche questo. Come ho detto all'inizio: non si tratta di grande letteratura classica, ma di un libro solido in cui avvolgersi in un pomeriggio tranquillo.
I loved this book and the ending was a surprise. Highly recommended.
My sister’s keeper had been in my bookshelf for a while before I decided to read it. I was not convinced that I would like it – or rather, I was quite convinced that I would not like it – probably because of the plot. Anna is thirteen years old and her sister, Kate, suffers from a rare form of leukaemia. From the moment she was conceived, she was destined to help Kate survive. But Anna has had enough and decides to sue her parents for the right of her own body, although she knows that this decision will change their life forever.
When I read the summary, I thought Jodi Picoult’s novel was going to be one of these heart-rending stories where the author tries to make you cry from the beginning to the end; that it would be centred on Kate’s illness only to the detriment of the family and the characters; that the end would be predictable and contain no suspense. Luckily, I decided to start it anyway and I must say I was extremely surprise by how much I enjoyed it. The book was completely different from what I had imagined.
Of course, in such a story, illness has got a central part. However, I liked the was the author dealt with it because we could feel that she knew a lot about the topic although we did not have to read pages and pages of medical explanations. A few specific terms were used, but it was more to lead us into the setting than to really give information about leukaemia. So it is present along the whole story, but in the background.
We focus on Anna’s family, her own personality as well as her parents’, Kate’s and her brother’s and the relationships between these very realistic characters. Each short chapter is told by a different person, which enables us to have a different viewpoint on the events. It is an interesting narrative choice because it stops us from being on Anna’s side or against her. As the story unfolds and we share each of the characters’ experiences, we understand that such a situation is not as easy as it may seem: each person has got their reasons and sometimes there is perhaps no right or wrong.
The narrators are Anna, her parents and her brother Jesse, but we also have several chapters told by Campbell Alexander, Anna’s lawyer, and Julia Romano, the guardian ad litem appointed by the judge who has to decide what it better for the girl. Although I found it strange at the beginning, I then enjoyed having parts of the story told by characters that are not part of the family. I felt it brought reality to the story and diversion. In a way, it reminds us that no matter how hard the situation of a family is, other people around them also go on with their lives. One of the details that caught my attention was that Kate is not the narrator – except in one single chapter – despite the fact that she is the main actor in the story. I was a little disappointed at first, but after finishing it, I think it was a rather clever option.
As I said before, I appreciated the fact that the story was not tragic all the time. With such a theme, it was of course not going to be cheerful and merry, but several scenes are funny and will make us laugh. The timeline is not linear, as we have several flashbacks, which help us understand the character’s present actions.
Jodi Picoult also handles a theme which acquires more and more importance in our current life: genetic engineering. It is something subject to debate and controversy in the medical and political world nowadays and in is interesting to see how, in the story, it is also difficult to decide if it is right or wrong, good or bad. Although it does not occupy a central place in the story, several allusions are made to this matter.
The ending – which is probably what most readers will want to know before they start reading the novel – is not a happy one. Realistically, it cannot be a happy-ending. However, you will probably be taken aback by several twists and turns in the last pages, where the tension builds up until the last dramatic event occurs. I do not want to give away what happens, as it would spoil your reading, but this ending troubled me deeply. I still cannot decide if I like it or not but it clearly made me want to reread the novel with the new pieces of information I had. My sister’s keeper is an amazing novel and I was not able to put it down until I had read it all. The writing style is nice and draws us into the story, mixing different viewpoints, present and flashbacks and tragic events with comic moments. It is a perfectly balanced story and my best read in the year so far. Let us hope the cinematographic adaptation will live up to the book’s success!