Wednesday, September 5, 2007

My Sister's Keeper

Title: My Sister's Keeper
Author: Jodi Picoult
Publisher: Atria Books, 2004

Written more in the style of a movie than a book, My Sister's Keeper outlines the story of a family torn apart and drawn back together by their decisions in supporting a child with an acute form of leukemia.

The story is told from multiple points of view, but it is mostly about Anna, the youngest of three children who was conceived in order to be a bone marrow donor for her sister Kate, who suffers said leukemia.
Anna, 13, decides she wants medical emancipation from her parents - and informs them of this by filing a law suit. It isn't clear, until the final pages of the book, just why Anna files the law-suit originally, as we, the reader, are only given opinions of those surrounding Anna, she herslef never divulges the reasoning behind her decision.

This book touches on many issues, but central to the plot - should society allow parents to decide whether or not one child should become a donor for another, sick, sibling?
I believe that the characters presented, within Anna's family are all believable. Jesse (brother) and Anna clearly show the effects of being neglected, in an emotional sense, by their parents, especially the mother, who are entirely focused on having three healthy children, ie. dedicating most of their time to Kate (although i think Brian, the father, is not so much guilty of this as the mother. He appears more in-touch with the states of all his children and the mother's clear 'writing-off' of Jesse is depressing in the fact that it is so common amongst youth of my generation who are misunderstood and get caught up in drugs and other bad practices).

To me, the characters presented outside the family, Julia and Campbell, diminish the quality of the rest of the book as they are much harder to believe. Their sub-plot does add some much needed distraction from the times within the book when Sara, the mother - and easily the most unlikeable character - is talking from her viewpoint.

All in all, this book is a fabulous read that touches on some of the hottest topics relevant in today's society from IVF and genetic engineering to just how much can a parent control their child?


redcap said...

I have to admit I've never really fancied the idea of Jodi Picoult. There's no particular reason - I've picked up a couple of her books and not fancied the blurbs on the back. I guess that means I judge books by their covers, eh? She's certainly chosen a thorny and emotive issue, though. What's her writing style like, kiki? Does she play it as a tear jerker or is she more subtle?

kiki said...

i don't cry

Dot said...

i've always judged Picoult by her covers too! they emote the same vibe as Paulina Simons books... and i KNOW i don't like them.

anyway Kiki, if you says it's worth a peek then next time i'm at the library i'll try to be a bigger person.

kiki said...

that's actually not the cover of the version i read. it seems i can only find the UK and US covers on good old google image search

the cover of my version is much better i think.

and i think Picoult employs an emotive writing style, but it doesn't really work when a third of the book is through the eyes of the mum (a selfish bitch).
when it's through Brian's eyes, that's when it touches the occasional nerve, and Jesse to an extent.

redcap said...

Angus and Robertson is better for cover images.

Ariel said...

I'm afraid I've never been a fan either - covers and Paullina Simons type feel of the marketing, I guess. Though a friend of mine loves them, and so does my mother (also put me off, unfairly perhaps).

I have to admit that objectively, it sounds pretty interesting.

Redcap, I have a formatting question for this blog. Do you know how to set it up so that only a certain amount of text is displayed in a post, and you click a link to read the rest? (So you can post something long without taking up too much scroll space). If so, how?

redcap said...

Chesty's on the case, ariel. Excellent idea that. If we're going to do that, perhaps everyone could keep cover images fairly small so that it doesn't defeat the purpose? Anus (no, that's not a typo) and Robertson is quite a good source of cover images. In light of their recent heartless treatment of small publishers, I vote we use 'em up for all they're worth.

Milly Moo said...

Kiki's review is a good one - My Sister's Keeper is by far the best of Jodi Picoult (dodgy covers or otherwise) and is reminiscent of 'The Lovely Bones' in writing style.

Even the mother has redeeming qualities. She may be unlikeable at times, but I recognise that 'tigress who will do anything for her child' streak within her.

Rosanna said...

I thought My Sisters Keeper was beautiful, if not a little 'movie-style' in written prose. A very good point, Kiki as it does make for a different read.