My Sister's Keeper: A Novel

by Jodi Picoult

Hardcover, 2004

Call number

FIC PIC

Collection

Publication

Atria Books (2004), Edition: 1st, 423 pages

Description

Conceived to provide a bone marrow match for her leukemia-stricken sister, teenage Kate begins to question her moral obligations in light of countless medical procedures and decides to fight for the right to make decisions about her own body. 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.… (more)

Media reviews

This all feels like some awkward combination of a sci-fi novel and a movie on the Lifetime Channel.
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Om utgivelsen : Anna er ikke syk, men hun kunne like gjerne vært det. I løpet av sitt trettenårige liv har hun gjennomgått utallige operasjoner. Hun har nemlig blitt satt til verden for at hennes beinmarg skal redde den eldre søsteren, Kate, fra leukemien hun lider av. Men nå har Anna for
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første gang begynt å stille spørsmål ved hvem hun egentlig er, og hvem hun ønsker å være. Er hun noe mer enn sin søsters livredder? For Anna tvinger det seg fram en umulig avgjørelse. En avgjørelse som skal splitte familien og som kanskje får fatale følger for Kate. Min søsters vokter er en sterk og gripende bok om en familie som befinner seg i en uløselig situasjon. Jodi Picoult er en mester i å skrive innsiktsfullt og engasjerende om viktige moralske spørsmål, og holder leseren fanget helt til siste side er lest.
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User reviews

LibraryThing member riofriotex
This book is the story of 13-year-old Anna who was deliberately conceived by her parents to serve as a donor for her older sister Kate, who has a rare form of leukemia. When Kate's kidneys fail and her parents expect Anna to donate one of hers, she feels enough is enough and hires a lawyer to sue
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for medical emancipation. The mother, Sara, is a lawyer who ends up defending herself and firefighter husband Brian. Rounding out the family is pyromaniac older brother Jesse, getting in trouble just to get a little attention in a family entirely focused on Kate.

The premise was intriguing and thus the book was a fast read. I liked the way the story was presented from all the main characters' viewpoints, and the way different typefaces were used in the book for each character.

I felt a lot of sympathy for Anna and her quest to live her own life and make her own choices. For example, Sara forces her to give up an opportunity to go to a hockey camp in another state, because "we will need Anna - her blood, her stem cells, her tissue - right here." (269)

I was very disappointed with the ending; I thought it was a cop-out. I found the romance between Campbell (Anna's lawyer) and Julia (Anna's guardian ad litem) distracting. Also, I REALLY disliked Sara and I thought she was a terrible mother - seemed like she only had one child, not three.
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LibraryThing member cyderry
This book lived up to my expectations and more. This family drama about the ethics of creating a child to serve as a living donor for another child and the ramifications of the situation for all the members of the family took my breath away. The detail of the different viewpoints in the family
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showing the parents driving need to save their sick child, the donor child's search for identity, the sick child's need to just be normal, and the "unneeded" child's search for recognition was heart-wrenching.
The writer also managed to interweave the feelings of the legal participants. The guardian ad litem's ability to see both sides of the issue - Anna's need to choose and Kate's parents need to help their sick child, no matter what, was effectively written, while her inability to make a recommendation mirrored Anna's feelings of being unable to prevent herself from waffling from continuing her lawsuit and ending it. The Judge's loss of a child reflects the fear of Sarah and Brian who have been battling to preserve Kate's life since she was 2. And of course, there is Campbell, Anna's attorney. His presence only serves to magnify denial - his regarding his medical issues and the family regarding the imminent death of Kate.
What I found particularly interesting was having the story told at different times by different characters. Since the story always seemed to be in the first person, as if the characters were talking directly to you, the reader, the story seemed much more captivating then if it had been told in the third person or constantly from the same point of view. Needless to say, I'm glad that I read this book, and hope that I am never put in such a situation. I'm just glad that I've signed my donor card, have you?

Jodi Picoult confronts a stormy real-life debate with a polished compassion, sympathy and understanding.
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LibraryThing member CasualFriday
Jodi Picoult is the author of many ripped-from-the-headlines novels. This one is about Anna, a 13-year-old girl who was conceived as a "designer baby" to be perfect donor match for her sister with leukemia. Anna sues her parents for medical emancipation so she can stop being a body-parts supplier
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for her dying sister.

This is my first Picoult book, and she's not the kind of author I generally read, so this review might be unfair. The story is absorbing, but the characters are stereotypes. The novel is narrated by different characters in rotation, but they all sound the same. 13-year-old Anna, her frantic mother, her yuppie lawyer, her criminal brother speak in the same voice.

There's a romance thrown in between the lawyer and Anna's guardian ad litem that has nothing to do with the primary story. I don't see what it added to the book, but then I'm not a romance fan.

Finally, the central element of the plot is an unbelievable contrivance. Why does Anna pursue a lawsuit? Regardless of "medical emancipation", no hospital in the world would force a child to donate a major organ against her will on the say-so of her parents. Picoult obviously wanted a lawsuit for dramatic purposes, but it was not a credible plot device.
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LibraryThing member Bookmarque
A baby who exists only to provide organs, tissue and blood for a sickly older sister, then the younger sister decides enough is enough and files a lawsuit to prevent more procedures - what a great idea for a novel. It’s twisted, morally questionable and sure to serve up emotional turmoil. Mostly
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it does, but the effect was blunted by a few problems. First is the side plot about the lawyer and the guardian ad litem; it’s unnecessary and distracting. As was the thing with the dog. Second was the similarity of voice all of the characters had while telling their stories. Multi-point-of-view is most effective when the author can craft individuals with fresh insight. Unfortunately Picoult only did one of those things. Third is the inclusion of Jesse’s firebug activities in addition to his general degeneracy. It was unnecessarily twee and way too much. What, were we supposed to find it utterly brill that the son of a fire captain was setting fires for his father to extinguish? Ugh.

Anyway, it wasn’t all bad. I tore through it in basically one day. I wanted to find out what set Anna at odds with her family and her destined role in it. I wanted to find out if Sara (mom) actually had a heart and a conscience under her driving need to cure Kate. I wanted to find out how much Jesse really was emotionally involved in his family despite his attempts to destroy his connection with it. I wanted to find out just how Kate felt about her life and the fact that it would probably be short. Mostly, I got those answers, but they weren’t as satisfying as I would have liked.

Mom suddenly became concerned about Anna, but her object and motivation were still muddy. She seemed to lose her single-minded focus, but was it because she only wanted Anna to keep on giving, or because she realized that she had been treating the girl unfairly all her life? There were glimmers, but nothing really clear. Jesse’s story was fleshed out; he cared deeply about Kate, but felt like a loser because he couldn’t help her in the way Anna could. He tried not to make his unhappiness felt by the family, but still had to find an outlet for the fact that he was the forgotten, useless child. Anna has the most screen time and I found her to be one of the more enjoyable teenagers I’ve read. She was put-upon, but understanding and relished the times of normalcy she got either with her sister or without. Contacting a lawyer to sue for medical emancipation seemed like a logical thing for her to do at this stage of her life where anything she wanted was second to Kate’s needs. Her very personality was molded in this essence of servitude and “higher calling”. Kate has less narrative than I would have liked, but her stoicism seems to be on par with the kids in real life with horrible, deadly conditions. She has known nothing else and, like Anna, craves normalcy. Sara’s story about her brief relationship with a fellow leukemia sufferer, was tender, sweet and altogether heart-breaking.

All those things are good, but the ending, well. I think it was a cop-out. All during the book I thought about the very first snippet of story with one sister relating how she contributed to the death of the other. It is unlabeled unlike all the other points-of-view in the story. Why? Because it has to be Kate relating the death of Anna, which is why her sudden demise didn’t work for me. Logically it doesn’t follow other than to transform Anna into the ultimate sacrifice which wasn’t necessary or realistic. By now, readers are ready for Kate to die. She is ready. Her family is ready. I guess Picoult wasn’t.
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LibraryThing member Ravenclaw79
This book was good until the last two chapters -- the whole rest of the book was engaging and thought-provoking, really making you ponder the issues at hand, and then the ending was so bad that it actually made me feel cheated, like I'd been tricked into thinking it was a good book when the ending
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came out of nowhere and sucked so tremendously that I wished I hadn't read the book at all. It was so bad that before those last two chapters, I would have rated this book a 3, maybe a 4, and now, it's a 1. My recommendation is that if this really does look like a good book to you, go ahead and read it, but when you get to the chapter when Anna is in the car after the trial is all over with, finish that chapter and PUT THE BOOK DOWN. It's better to have the last few details left open to your imagination than to have the whole thing ruined for you by such an utterly horrible ending.
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LibraryThing member Clif
Jodi Picoult has the unique ability of selecting a perplexing dilemma surrounded by a controversial issue, then carefully crafting a fictional plot around that, then proceeding to explore the inner feelings and motivations of the multiple characters, and then in the end probing the recesses of the
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human condition in a way that has no equal. The book immerses the reader into the world of a good family trying their best to deal with a bad hand that they're dealt. And then when the book has captured your emotions, it breaks your heart. Oh, and did I say that I liked the book?

I could have done without the old flame romance and related sex that was included in the story. But I figure that's one of the items on the check list of things that need to be included in a book that is to be a best seller for the chick-lit crowd.

The author has inserted a little mystery into the story line to puzzle the reader. What's the service dog for? The question is asked numerous times in the story and is answered with hilarious one liners. For example; "I'm near sighted, so my dog reads the road signs for me." That question along with others get answered near the end of the book.

The narrative is told in the first person voice from multiple characters. This allows for an endless flow of quotable aphorisms as their inner thoughts are verbalized. Some examples follow:

--- Extraordinary things are always hiding in places people never think to look.
--- I had the heart of the relationship, and no body to grow it in... It broke.
--- The human capacity for burden is like bamboo- far more flexible than you'd ever believe at first glance.
--- I thought lightning wasn't supposed to strike in the same place twice....sure it does...but only if you're too dumb to not move.
--- If you focus on sandbagging the beachhead, you can ignore the tsunami that's approaching. Try it any other way and you'll go crazy.
--- You don't love someone because they're perfect, you love them in spite of the fact that they're not perfect.
--- Do all the wonderful things happen when we are not aware of them?
--- Sometimes to get what you want the most, you have to do what you want the least.
--- (24,7)...once you sign on to be a mother, that's the only shift they offer.
--- ... my father would go to heaven, because if he went to hell he would put out all the fires.
--- Maybe if God gives you a handicap, he makes sure you've got a few extra doses of humor to take the edge off.
--- Kids think with their brains cracked wide open; becoming an adult ... is only a slow sewing shut
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LibraryThing member Jennkrisb
My Sister's Keeper is a thought provoking novel. It deals with the relationships between the members of a family struggling to survive the hardships of a child's illness. It shows us that there are ramifications for every decision made and that every story can't have a happy ending. I enjoyed the
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ethical and medical aspects of this book and it made me think of what choices I would make it I were in the same situation. This is my favorite Jodi Picoult book and a definite must read.
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LibraryThing member blondestranger
Touching story, well written, interesting combination of legal and personal perspectives. I liked that the author switched between different characters to tell the entire story.
LibraryThing member 2chances
Hmm. Picoult is a surprisingly good writer. Her prose flows so smoothly that you feel like you're watching a movie instead of reading a book - that's how little effort is involved. She's terrific at presenting the viewpoint of several different people and managing to make all their voices sound
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authentic.

That said? She wrote a nearly brilliant, insightful book with a huge moral dilemma at its heart - how much of your own life should you offer up to save the life of a beloved family member? - and then chose a slick and cheesy ending. Jodi, Jodi - why you do me this way? You could do so much better.

But read it, anyway. It's very good until she gets to that stupid ending.
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LibraryThing member litelady-ajh
The ending was one of the most surprising & original that I have read to-date. Everyone needs to read this book. (I also loved how each character had their own distinct font!)
LibraryThing member deborahk
written like a soap opera or movie of the week. Highly contrived and not engaging, very poor, not recommended unless you're an idiot
LibraryThing member Chase92
Having seen a lot of rave reviews, I had high expectations for this book. To be honest, I was a little disappointed. There are quite a number of flaws in this novel. The constant switch of narration between the characters might seem interesting at first, but then it starts to become confusing. The
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entire novel is also filled with numerous subplots, adding depth to the story, but making it slightly convoluted.

However, I found the ending to be smart, albeit very heart-wrenching. The characters are also very rich and well-developed. The whole dysfunctional background of the family only served to make the whole situation more captivating. Throughout the novel, Picoult employs a sad-but-optimistic style of writing, making the story thought-provoking. Though excessive, the subplots also blend together well, creating a story that is emotionally resonating.

Overall, My Sister’s Keeper is a thoughtful and exciting read, and will definitely satisfy fans of dramas.
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LibraryThing member MichelleHudon
My Sister’s Keeper written by Jodi Picoult, is the recipient of the Margaret Alexander Edwards Award given by the American Library Association. The story centers around a young girl named Anna who is conceived to provide bone marrow for her older sister Kate, who is dying of leukemia. After
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countless years of undergoing painful surgeries and transfusions, Anna hires a lawyer to win medical emancipation from her parents. Gaining medical emancipation gives Anna control over what happens to her body and may ultimately lead to the death of her sister.

This is a fantastic novel that is full of surprises until the end. Have a box of tissues ready when you read this book because it sad the whole way through. Because the book is written in a way that shows every family members point of view, the reader can empathize with all of the characters. Jodi Picoult did an amazing job building the characters and making them vividly real. The story has a really shocking ending that was totally unexpected. My Sister’s Keeper would be great for a book club because so much conversation can be generated from the story. I would definitely recommend this book for young adult and adult readers.
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LibraryThing member booksbooks11
A good and engaging read, but not a masterpiece. To me the characters appeared to have far too much insight into their own thoughts and feelings, especially the teenagers. Jodi did manage to hold back to some extent with Anna, but too often through the story she saw with amazing clarity her own
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situation and circumstances and those of the other characters.
Still, it was a very interesting premise for a novel. Just don't expect anything other than a totally contrived ending.
Despite the flaws, the characters really do touch you and the style of writing, with each chapter told by a different character suits the story which explores a difficult moral issue from every different angle.
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LibraryThing member shanjan
Would you compromise one of your children's health in an attempt to save her sibling from a terminal illness? This is essentially the moral dilemma that Jodi Picoult examines in My Sister's Keeper.

This is a story of the complexities of parenting and family in a situation that most of us can not
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even begin to imagine ourselves in. From the perspective of each of the characters involved in this story Picoult examines the far reaching ramifications of decisions that are made by parents to keep a child with terminal leukemia alive.

This is a quick and wrenching read. The characters are interesting and the story reveals a multi-faceted view of a very complicated family situation.

The language lacks the lyrical quality of more sophisticated novels, but overall it's worth reading.
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LibraryThing member Lisa2013
recommended for: those interested in medical ethics & kids w/cancer

I loved this book. I don't think it was a GREAT NOVEL but I really enjoyed reading it. Told chapter by chapter first person from several peoples points of views made it particularly interesting. About 2 sisters, the older with
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cancer, the younger conceived for her newborn cord blood in the hopes it will cure her sister, and how, after many donations as a child, the younger sister decides she no longer wants to have to help her sister in her battle with cancer. The story talks about the effects this has on all the family members and some of the people who get involved in their lives. I guess the story was kind of manipulative, but I found the book satisfying.
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LibraryThing member ldavis
My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult is one of the most fascinating and heartbreaking books I have ever read. Jodi explores the different points of view of the characters so well that it is impossible to pick one specific “side”. It’s very emotionally draining and heart wrenching to be so
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torn in between two different people’s perspectives, but it also makes you think quite a bit, which I can imagine was the purpose of this book.
I think that the part when there is really a resolution and the reader no longer feels torn is when we find out that Kate was behind the whole lawsuit, because then the reader really gets a clear idea of who is right and who is wrong. (Sorry if I just spoiled the book for you.) It is also a big turning point in the book because all throughout the novel the reader is never really thinking about Kate’s true emotions; they’re just pitying her because she’s about to die, so they assume that she is on the “donate more organs, Anna!” side. But in the end, she wanted to stop feeling so fragile. It was really interesting to me to get that kind of perspective on it, and it really opened my eyes to how handicapped/sick people really do feel.
Reading this book was an excellent learning experience for me. It not only introduced me to an enticing story but it also made me come out of it feeling like I truly learned something valuable.
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LibraryThing member ASKelmore
In one version of my future, I attend graduate school so I can get a PhD in Philosophy, focusing on biomedical ethics. I find the topic endlessly fascinating, and full of such interesting and open-ended questions. So I can’t believe that I waited this long to read this book. I’d really like to
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dive into the subject matter of the book, so if you’re planning on reading it and want to avoid all manner of spoilers, here’s my one sentence review: it’s good, it grapples with interesting issues, and the version on Audible is probably the first time I’ve really enjoyed a novel as an audiobook. Also – don’t watch the movie version (which I’ve been doing while writing this review). It’s just so different, and the choices they make really take away from the story the book is trying to tell.

The basic premise of the book is that Anna is seeking medical emancipation from her parents, who want her to give a kidney to her dying sister Kate. Anna is 13, Kate is 16, and their older brother Jesse is 18. Anna was conceived as a genetic match for Kate after Kate was diagnosed with leukemia at age 2. The book is told in alternating chapters from many characters perspectives: Sara, the mother; Brian, the father; Anna; Jesse; Campbell, the attorney hired by Anna (pro-bono) to take on the case; and Julia, the guardian ad litem who is tasked with reporting to the court on what is best for Anna. The audio book really excels here because each character’s chapter is voiced by a different voice actor, which brings a real richness to the storytelling.

One thing the book does extremely well is telling us Kate’s story without ever giving us Kate’s perspective on things. It’s a bold choice, considering she’s the reason for the situation. But Ms. Picoult knows what she’s doing – she wants us to all to consider what the rest of the family goes through, because they all revolve around Kate and her constant illness. Jesse’s chapters focus on the fact that he hasn’t had really any attention, and that he’s dealt with by becoming an arsonist (perfect choice, since Brian, the father, is a fire fighter). Campbell and Julia have a side story, a history, that both seems a bit unnecessary but also serves to remind us that people have lives that go on outside of this family. The parents’ chapters are heartbreaking and brutal, especially Sara’s chapter where she describes giving birth to Anna. She’s so focused on saving the umbilical cord blood that at no point does she express any interest in her newborn. I don’t doubt that Sara loves all of her children, but I don’t know how she can love them all with the same passion she carries for saving Kate.

Anna’s chapters are challenging because she’s only 13, and she is so torn between loving her sister desperately and wanting a life of her own. Anna’s been called on to save her sister repeatedly, through stem cell donation, bone marrow transplants, and other donations. It’s affected her ability to do things, like go away to summer hockey camp (because her sister might need something from her). Anna and Kate are really close, though, so you know Anna is internally conflicted about wanting to save her sister and wanting a life for herself.

The issues that Ms. Picoult is grappling with in this book are so numerous. Is there something wrong with genetically engineering a child with the express purpose of saving another child’s life? Can the parent love the engineered child in the same way – can he or she ever see the child as an independent being, as opposed to being the one who is responsible for saving the other child’s life? What about other siblings in a sick child’s family? Even outside of all the issues of the sister being asked to contribute to and save the other sister’s life, what happens inside a family where one child is chronically, likely terminally, ill? Is it wrong of the other children to want to have lives, even if their ill sibling can’t? And how can a parent be asked to provide opportunities to the healthy children when they are so focused on saving the sick one? I can’t imagine being in that situation – it seems so horribly challenging, and exhausting, and unfair. And finally, what about the child who wants to make decisions for herself and stop being tied to her sister? It seems so easy to say ‘it’s just a ______’ (blood donation, bone marrow donation, etc.), but really, there’s got to be a limit. And can we expect a child, or a teenager, to pass those limits?

Having read the book, I’m still not sure how I feel about any of these questions. But they’re interesting, and as science progresses, we’re going to have to explore more of them.
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LibraryThing member chocmuse
My sister made me read this book, and dragged me into it kicking and screaming. I hated the whole 'what would you do if...' ethical unanswerable makes-you-think hype about this book. The very thought of it made me tired.

And then I sat down and read it. And I loved it. I read it in two gulps. I was
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made to like it against my will, which I don't think has ever happened to me before. (I usually want to read the books I sit down to read, or, when I read bad books for school, I continued to hate them even when I'd read them.) So... I was impressed. I liked the juggling of different narratives from different characters - though their voice didn't differ much one from the other, except for Jesse's; but their stories all mixed in together made me keep turning those pages.

Plot: As a toddler, Kate develops a rare type of leukemia. Her parents create a test-tube baby as a genetic match for Kate so that the baby can donate her blood and bone marrow to keep her sister alive. Now that sister is thirteen, and is trying to deal with all the issues related to being a kind of spare-parts factory, where all the family revolves around Kate and no one else seems to really count. All the family seems to be falling apart, and Kate herself is finally dying.

As for the ending, I'm still trying to work out whether I liked it or not. I think it works. I think it's satisfying. I think.
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LibraryThing member carmendawn
While I think the premise of this book is interesting and the story had real potential, I feel that the book fell way short of what it could have accomplished. I don't regret reading it, but I hated it. The characters were one-dimensional stereotypes, and everything was just a little too easy.

Like
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others, the thing I hated most was the ending. Picoult had constructed a real issue in her story and instead of taking a stance and finishing what she started, she took the easy way out. She didn't give the reader a conclusion. I suspect this was intended to point to the unfairness of life, the importance of appreciating your children, or the fact that this problem has no clear answer, but it feels like a cop-out. When an author poses a question like this, I want them to tell me their opinion.

Reading this book took me back to Jr. High, when it felt like everyone was reading Lurlene McDaniel books. I hated them, and this book felt like McDaniel for adults.
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LibraryThing member HHS-Students
Reviewed by: La'Dae (Class of 2013)

Imagine having being alive just to save someone else’s; always donating blood or marrow. Would it be different if it were a sibling receiving these donations? Anna, the main character of Jodi Picoult’s “ My Sister’s Keeper”, not only experiences this but
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is fed up with her parents for allowing this and decides to do something about it.

Anna was conceived for one reason and that was to keep her sister Kate alive. Kate was diagnosed with leukemia at a young age which meant that she needed blood and marrow donations or she’d die. Since no one had the match Kate needed her parents conceived Anna for the donations. At age thirteen Anna is informed that Kate needs a kidney and she is the person that has to give one up. Anna becomes fed up with the decisions her parents are making for her. She searches for a lawyer to sue her parents for the right to her own body. At first the news stared to tear the family apart, but slowly brings them together.

This book is a great independent reading book. This book made me feel a mix of emotions. I found myself happy for the independence of the main character but sad at the situation that was accruing.
When Anna announces she’s suing her parents to make her own medical decisions I thought that was really brave. I felt like she and anyone else has the right to say what they want to happen to their body. The fact that her sisters life was on the line probably wasn’t the best time to make that decision though.
Overall this book was great. I recommend this to anyone who loves drama because this book brings it. The ending will shock you. I give this book five stars. It is a must read.
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LibraryThing member mgomoo55
It’s a true fact that, after first hear of the title, most people will pass on the idea of reading this book as they know that a box a tissues will be needed on hand (I remember myself as being one of “those people”). Most would rather go and read some exciting adventure story involving
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vampires or wizards or anything else of such nature. Yet if it were not for my friends at the time, with their strong persuasion skills, and if I myself had not read the first chapter, I would never have been able to venture into this book’s heart-wrenching world. This book, unlike other books I have read during past summers, has even gone as far as to motivate me to complete my summer work! Now, in my opinion, a book as great as this hasn’t come along since the first Twilight book; so what piece of work could this possibly be? This book, which has made me both laugh and cry, is none other than Jodi Picoult’s My Sister’s Keeper.
The novel focuses on thirteen-year-old Anna Fitzgerald who is the younger sister to sixteen-year-old Kate Fitzgerald. The two are as close as sisters can be: sharing secrets, helping each other, fighting over clothes, and so on. Yet the two are even closer than that of other sisters as Anna was genetically engineered to help Kate with her life-long struggle with acute promyelocytic leukemia. Anna’s purpose, from the moment she was born, has been to help save her sister’s life by being the perfect donor. Anna’s job by being the “perfect donor” basically involves donating Kate such things as bone marrow, stem cells, and leukocytes – Anna has literally become one with Kate. However, when Anna is required to donate a kidney to her sister, she does not treat the matter as obediently as she has the many times before. Now, after sixteen years of playing the role which she was born to fulfill, Anna decides to make her own choice: by suing her parents for rights to her own medical decisions. The story follows Anna in her journey of finding herself, understanding her own purpose, and discovering how to find the right choices in life.
To start off, this has been my first time reading a book with such heavy, psychological topics: how a kid my age lives with cancer; how a family lives with a child diagnosed with cancer; the decisions a parent makes concerning their cancer-inflicted child; how the children live and grow with a sibling with cancer - there is so much to take in at once! So to help with sorting through these many dilemmas, Picoult has written the book in order to help you understand all of these many problems. Her method is by writing the story through “First-person” POV of each of the six characters: Anna, Kate, Jesse (brother), Brian (father), Sara (mother), Campbell (lawyer), and Julia (Guardian ad Litem). With Anna’s first words and thoughts as the “first chapter”, the author proceeds to alternate between each of the characters in a random order to show each of their personal dilemmas. This is the absolute element of what made me love this book; each person’s narration helped me to think, feel, see, and experience the people, the places, and the emotions which shined through the book’s many pages. If the book was written in any other way - perhaps in “Third-person” POV - I feel the book would have not been as impacting as it was. Even Picoult’s decision to write an epilogue (which I absolutely loved!), also written in the same style, greatly helped to conclude the story overall, leaving the readers without any lingering questions.
Another important element which I enjoyed is the overall themes and topics which Picoult has chosen to write about. These particular topics concern scientific, psychological, and parental matters for which she has written to show the good and bad for each. For example, some topics which Picoult focuses on include stem cell research, “designer children”, or even how a family raises a cancer-inflicted child. These many controversial subjects which Picoult chooses to boldly write about are unique - something that many authors rarely write about. This, needless to say, instantly piqued my interest, and how the author chose to incorporate these realistic problems with fictional characters (who themselves are written in a way to seem as if they are living, breathing people) only added more to my growing respect for this author. As well, I completely enjoyed the individual voices which Picoult gives to her characters that help to further understand the overall themes, allowing us to see different sides to the matter.
In short, My Sister’s Keeper is a wonderful novel which I thoroughly enjoyed from beginning to end. From Anna’s first opening chapter to the closing epilogue, author Jodi Picoult shows her great artistic skill and talent through many, many notable aspects: the characters, their voices, the topics, the vivid dialogue, the ending - all amazing! With such an intricate writing style, the Fitzgerald family has seemed to become real people whom I have actually met and talked with; and by the end of this novel, I feel that I will never forget this small, fictional suburban family.
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LibraryThing member nefernika
Reading this book was like watching a Lifetime network movie - I knew I was being emotionally manipulated in a rather clumsy and bruising way, but I couldn't stop it from happening. (NOTE: this contains what may be perceived as spoilers) The premise - that the parents conceive a second daughter to
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be a genetic match & tissue donor for their first daughter - is extremely compelling, as is the central plot: the younger daughter retains an attorney and sues her parents for medical emancipation. This plot alone would have sufficed. The inclusion of an older brother who is a serious arsonist (in direct conflict with the father, a fire fighter) felt contrived, but was nothing to the conclusion of the book. The level of coincidence, melodrama, and stupidity pretty much canceled out any remaining interest I had in the complex relationship Picoult drew between the sisters, between each sister and their mother, and between the parents. It's a shame - with some aggressive editing, this could have been an incredible book. I suspect that Picoult's selling power gave her more leverage than was in her best interest - I certainly won't read any more of her books.
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LibraryThing member Court09
I didn't like it. I don't usually read this genre, it's labelled chick-lit, but I wanted to read it for two reasons: it was banned and the premise of being a donor baby sounded interesting.

However, there was a lot of angst. Now, I understand that this is from the point of view of a 13 year old,
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and when the pov switches, from someone that is close to a 16 year old with cancer, so I tried to let my annoyance of it go.

I didn't care about Campbell and Julia's romance. I didn't care. I picked up the book to read about the dynamic between a donor baby and her family after they hear that she wants to make her own choices.

I loved the character of the father Brian -- he's wonderful, and I understood him, a little bit of a trope at times, but still likeable.

I disliked the character of the mother, I found her to have tunnel vision, and as a mom you can't have tunnel vision. You can have focus on one thing, but you can't let it blind you.

The ending was a bit predictable, and I disliked it immensely. But I guess that's the ending that fits the best for things that involve donating an organ.

And when we finally hear from Kate, she seems to be in perfect health, which is a little to 'happily ever after' for me, but it's chick lit, so how can there not be a campy ending where everyone's pain is turned inside out such as Jesse getting to be a police officer that is recognized by the mayor, despite his streak as a fire bug, and so on.
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LibraryThing member faithmonsoon
It took me a while to get around to reading this book. After it was on one of Richard and Judy's book lists this book has been constantly checked out of my local library. I managed to borrow a copy from the library recently and it was definitely worth the wait.

I have read a few other books by
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Picoult and this certainly met my expectations. Throughout the book the author makes you toss this moral dilemma around in your head - should Anna donate a kidney to her sister in order to prolong her life but not guaranteeing a long life.

I was slightly disappointed with the ending as some other reviewers have also pointed out but would still recommend this to other readers.
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Pages

423

ISBN

0743454529 / 9780743454520
Page: 3.086 seconds