Wednesday, May 6, 2009

First Review! My Sister's Keeper

The way I decide which books to read is interesting. The quote from Friends usually comes to mind: “Are you judging them by their covers, because you’re not supposed to do that.” Sometimes I do! I also sometimes peruse the New York Times Bestseller list because hey, if everyone else is reading these books…

I found out about this book by watching Entertainment Tonight and catching a trailer for its movie due out at the end of June. The trailer roped me in and I was nearly in tears just by watching it. If the book is always better than the movie, and the trailer had me enraptured, I had better get this book!

So I did. And I wasn’t disappointed!


Spoiler-LESS Synopsis: This unique and politically relevant story is told through the eyes of several different people. The main character, Anna Fitzgerald, is 13 years old and was born with the specific purpose of saving her sister, Kate’s life. Kate has been suffering from APL, a rare form of leukemia, since she was two years old. When her parents (Sara and Brian) realize neither they nor their son, Jesse, are matches for donating, they genetically engineer Anna to be a donor.

It started directly after Anna’s birth, with the cord blood donation. When Kate relapsed, Anna was there to donate again with bone marrow. Now, at sixteen, Kate’s kidneys are beginning to fail, and her only chance of survival is getting a kidney from her sister, the harvest child.

Though Anna and Kate share a unique bond, Anna has had enough of her fears and her pain being ignored by her parents. She decides to sue them for rights to her own body, despite the consequences to her sister and entire family. She elicits the help of local celebrity attorney, Campbell Alexander. Her guardian ad litem, Julia Romano, also joins to review Anna’s story along with all the family members. (A sub-plot to this novel is flashbacks of a previous and intense love shared between Campbell and Julia.)

All in all, the book is told through each character, with Kate only giving her point of view in the epilogue.

(For a better snap-shot of the plot, check out the trailer for the movie, HERE!)

My Review: While a political agenda could possibly be entwined in this novel, Jodi Picoult does an outstanding job of solely focusing on the Fitzgerald family, and how they are affected by their circumstances. This actually kept me reading the book, because the right vs. wrong aspect is really second-tier in it.

The character chapters are often very short, which can sometimes delay the development of the actual story. Especially since there are six constant characters adding to it. That, along with the transparent nature of the troubled-older son, Jesse, are the only complaints I have with this book. It takes about 100 pages to really get into, but you’ll keep asking yourself, “What is Anna going to do?!”

The trial at the end of the novel reveals a special twist that will truly endear you to Anna and why she is doing what she is doing. You’ll also develop your own opinions on Sara Fitzgerald. She seems to only be worried about Kate and ignores her two other children, but again reveals how she struggles from day to day heartbreak, and how she truly loves and values all of her children.

Despite my earlier complaints, I do love this book because of the different perspectives coming from it. The family matters are heart wrenching, and it’s interesting to catch a glimpse into such a family’s life. You’ll also constantly be thanking your lucky stars to never be put in such a sad and relationship-rifting position!

No doubt, this book is a tearjerker. Picoult’s eloquent writing and subject matter WILL have you reaching for the tissues, and if you’re like me, you’ll be crying long after the last page.

Do I suggest this book? Absolutely!


So, that’s my first review. This was actually a difficult review to write, since I mailed the book to Tanya before I had a chance to write it! I’m sure the nature of these reviews will change over time.

I’m not claiming to be an official reviewer of the written word, so I’d love to get feedback! Do you want to see more or less summary (spoilers, perhaps)? Should I delve into my opinions more?

I want this blog to also be a forum for your opinions on these books as well! If you’ve read My Sister’s Keeper, leave a comment!



Aggie said...

I read this book a couple of years ago...I had no idea what I was reading before I started, it was also my first of many Jodi Picoult books. Like you said, this book made my heart hurt. It really made you think. I liked the way it was written in the perspectives of different characters too...its a good read! ;)

If you want to read any more Jodi Picoult books I have a few to lend you...she's got a way about writing about some contraversial topics.

Aggie said...

PS...coconut ice cream = YUMMY!!! if you love coconut you will love that recipe! ;)

Meredith and Tanya Rauch said...

Thanks, Aggie! I'm about to begin reading Second Glance... can't wait!