New York Times bestselling author Jodi Picoult is widely acclaimed for her keen insights into the hearts and minds of real people. Now she tells the emotionally riveting story of a family torn apart by conflicting needs and a passionate love that triumphs over human weakness.
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.
The difficult choices a family must make when a child is diagnosed with a serious disease are explored with pathos and understanding in this 11th novel by Picoult (Second Glance, etc.). The author, who has taken on such controversial subjects as euthanasia (Mercy), teen suicide (The Pact) and sterilization laws (Second Glance), turns her gaze on genetic planning, the prospect of creating babies for health purposes and the ethical and moral fallout that results. Kate Fitzgerald has a rare form of leukemia. Her sister, Anna, was conceived to provide a donor match for procedures that become increasingly invasive. At 13, Anna hires a lawyer so that she can sue her parents for the right to make her own decisions about how her body is used when a kidney transplant is planned. Meanwhile, Jesse, the neglected oldest child of the family, is out setting fires, which his firefighter father, Brian, inevitably puts out. Picoult uses multiple viewpoints to reveal each character's intentions and observations, but she doesn't manage her transitions as gracefully as usual; a series of flashbacks are abrupt. Nor is Sara, the children's mother, as well developed and three-dimensional as previous Picoult protagonists. Her devotion to Kate is understandable, but her complete lack of sympathy for Anna's predicament until the trial does not ring true, nor can we buy that Sara would dust off her law degree and represent herself in such a complicated case. Nevertheless, Picoult ably explores a complex subject with bravado and clarity, and comes up with a heart-wrenching, unexpected plot twist at the book's conclusion.
Copyright (c) Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
Showing 1-10 of the 23 most recent reviews
1 . GREAT!
Posted April 22, 2011 by Natalia , ConnecticutI loved this book, not only did it have a strong conflict but there was a lot of emotion in the story. I understood how the characters felt, because this was a real life situation unlike many books. Jodi Picoult also created very strong character in the story, ones you can never forget along with strong scenes that were crucial to the story.
I really liked how the story was written from many points of view, it really helped you understand that no one was the villain in the story. What one person explained the other took in a whole different direction. For example, Anna and her Mother have completely different views of the situation, but still connect in deep ways.
This book is worth reading. I couldn't put it down.
2 . WOW
Posted October 18, 2010 by Liz C , Orangeburg, NYI loved this book. I could not put it down. There were some "slow" parts but it is worth it, the ending is shocking. I had to read the ending twice because I could not believe what I was reading.
I saw the movie but was very disappointed, the book is 100 times better.
3 . Amazing
Posted August 23, 2010 by Hannah , MontanaI loved and would recommend this book to anyone!
4 . You will love this book!
Posted August 18, 2010 by Liz , CambridgeI absolutely loved this book! I admit it was kind of slow in some parts, but you cannot put it down. It will make you cry, I was so suprised in the end! I will not ruin it for you but oh wow I was definitely not expecting that. The book is so much better than the movie, I would definitely recommend reading the book before you see the movie because they change some things. Which I really do not understand... so weird. But anyways the book is awesome!
5 . Wow!!!
Posted May 26, 2010 by Abby , Vancouver, BCThis author keep be glued to this powerful story until the very climactic ending! Excellent story!!! Definately a tear jerker!!!
6 . You'll regret not reading this novel!!! Don't miss out!
Posted April 29, 2010 by J , JJodi Picoult is my favorite author. I purchased this novel in 2007 and could not put it down until I finished reading it. She shows a realistic temporary split of the parents when one gets too wrapped up in the health of their daughter and neglects care of the other two children. This book is a tearjerker as it causes you to relate to every character's point of view and the big ending.
Picoult's amazing writing had me rushing to the theater when the movie premiered. I was highly disappointed in the New Line Cinema's twist to the finale.
7 . THE BEST BOOK EVER!
Posted January 25, 2010 by Olivia , PerkaiseThis boook was awesome! My mo told me to read it and i loved it! The ending was the best ever!!
8 . love the movie,love the book<3
Posted January 10, 2010 by Sista's Keepa' lova'(: , antarticaBeautiful,sad,its just 7 letters for you, PERFECT.
9 . Very thought provoking
Posted January 02, 2010 by Jan , Kamloops, BCI Love Jodi Picoult! She has the uncanny ability to take an ordinary family and put them through extraordinary circumstances/events. I enjoy how the author tells the story through the eyes of each family member. I did not see the ending coming, but it was brilliant!
10 . One of my favourite books!
Posted January 02, 2010 by Susan , Kitchener, OntarioI loved this book. I found the characters to be very believable and I could emphathize with each one of them. The writing itself is beautiful and I found myself getting choked up many times. I highly recommend it!
December 31, 2003
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Excerpt from My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult
When I was little, the great mystery to me wasn't how babies were made, but why. The mechanics I understood -- my older brother Jesse had filled me in -- although at the time I was sure he'd heard half of it wrong. Other kids my age were busy looking up the words penis and vagina in the classroom dictionary when the teacher had her back turned, but I paid attention to different details. Like why some mothers only had one child, while other families seemed to multiply before your eyes. Or how the new girl in school, Sedona, told anyone who'd listen that she was named for the place where her parents were vacationing when they made her ("Good thing they weren't staying in Jersey City," my father used to say).
Now that I am thirteen, these distinctions are only more complicated: the eighth-grader who dropped out of school because she got into trouble; a neighbor who got herself pregnant in the hopes it would keep her husband from filing for divorce. I'm telling you, if aliens landed on earth today and took a good hard look at why babies get born, they'd conclude that most people have children by accident, or because they drink too much on a certain night, or because birth control isn't one hundred percent, or for a thousand other reasons that really aren't very flattering.
On the other hand, I was born for a very specific purpose. I wasn't the result of a cheap bottle of wine or a full moon or the heat of the moment. I was born because a scientist managed to hook up my mother's eggs and my father's sperm to create a specific combination of precious genetic material. In fact, when Jesse told me how babies get made and I, the great disbeliever, decided to ask my parents the truth, I got more than I bargained for. They sat me down and told me all the usual stuff, of course -- but they also explained that they chose little embryonic me, specifically, because I could save my sister, Kate. "We loved you even more," my mother made sure to say, "because we knew what exactly we were getting."
It made me wonder, though, what would have happened if Kate had been healthy. Chances are, I'd still be floating up in Heaven or wherever, waiting to be attached to a body to spend some time on Earth. Certainly I would not be part of this family. See, unlike the rest of the free world, I didn't get here by accident. And if your parents have you for a reason, then that reason better exist. Because once it's gone, so are you.
Pawnshops may be full of junk, but they're also a breeding ground for stories, if you ask me, not that you did. What happened to make a person trade in the Never Before Worn Diamond Solitaire? Who needed money so badly they'd sell a teddy bear missing an eye? As I walk up to the counter, I wonder if someone will look at the locket I'm about to give up, and ask these same questions.
The man at the cash register has a nose the shape of a turnip, and eyes sunk so deep I can't imagine how he sees well enough to go about his business. "Need something?" he asks.
It's all I can do to not turn around and walk out the door, pretend I've come in by mistake. The only thing that keeps me steady is knowing I am not the first person to stand in front of this counter holding the one item in the world I never thought I'd part with.
"I have something to sell," I tell him.
"Am I supposed to guess what it is?"
"Oh." Swallowing, I pull the locket out of the pocket of my jeans. The heart falls on the glass counter in a pool of its own chain. "It's
fourteen-karat gold," I pitch. "Hardly ever worn." This is a lie; until this morning, I haven't taken it off in seven years. My father gave it to me when I was six after the bone marrow harvest, because he said anyone who was giving her sister such a major present deserved one of her own. Seeing it there, on the counter, my neck feels shivery and naked.