Friday, January 12, 2007

Book Review: My Sister’s Keeper – By Jodi Picoult




This may just be the best book I’ve ever read. If not the best, then certainly one of the top five. I read it last fall and haven’t stopped talking about it. I got my wife, and both daughters to read it. My little one (she’s 11) is still mad at me because it made her cry so hard. I gave it to both my mom and my sister-in-law for Christmas. Can you say “gut wrenching?” “Compelling?” Did I mention gut wrenching? This is actually one of those books that stays with you. Long after you’ve put it on back on the shelf, you find that it follows you in the car to work. It accompanies you in the shower. And everything you see reminds you. I timed it. I was heavy with this book for three full days after I read it. How many books have you ever read that stayed with you like that?

13-year-old Anna was conceived by her parents as a source of spare parts for her dying older sister, Kate. By 13, Anna has had enough and sues for medical emancipation. However, Kate needs Anna’s kidney or she’ll die. We watch her family and her life spin out of control as we continue to watch Kate fighting the cancer that is killing her and her family. The story is written in the first person, but from the perspective of each of its characters. Picoult allows each character to take turns telling this amazing tale. Beautifully written. Don’t forget the Kleenex. Here’s a little sample.

Just then, Anna enters the kitchen. She throws herself into her chair and ducks her head. "Where have you been?" Kate says.
"Around." Anna looks down at her plate, but makes no effort to serve herself."
This is not Anna. I am used to struggling with Jesse, to lightening Kate's load; but Anna is our family's constant. Anna comes in with a smile. Anna tells us about the robin she found with a broken wing and a blush on its cheek; or about the mother she saw at Wal-Mart with not one but two sets of twins. Anna gives us a backbeat, and seeing her sitting there unresponsive makes me realize that silence has a sound.

Here’s what Publishers Weekly had to say about this New York Times best seller. I can’t recommend this book highly enough.

From Publishers Weekly 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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

11 comments:

Novel Nymph said...

I had no idea you were such a reader after my own heart--you should visit me at chainreading.com where I am still Novel Nymph! Give me suggestions!

Did you ever read on Second Glance? I have that in my pile to read...

Norma said...

I've read one of her books and she is a fantastic writer.

Dennis said...

Novel - I'll have to check you out there. I'm a huge comsumer of literature - all kinds. I haven't read Second Glance. I'll have to check that out on Amazon and see what its about!

jillypoet said...

I have just discovered Jodi Picoult and I love her writing! Keeping Faith is my favorite, so far. I got My Sister's Keeper for Christmas, so it's on my list. I just finished Water for Elephants (Sara Gruen). Easily one of the best books I have ever read. I also really liked History of Love. What else is on your list?

Dennis said...

Jillypoet – Thanks for writing! I agree, Picoult’s writing is unmatched. She’s one heck of a story teller. Keeping Faith is on my list! My wife is reading Second Glance, but I won’t read that because it has ghosts in it (What can I say? Stories about ghosts ruin my sleep). I heard a lot of good things about Water for Elephants and I have to pick that up soon. I almost forgot about that one until you mentioned it. As soon as I’m done this post I’m going to put it on my Amazon wish list. As far as other books on my list, I just finished American Pastoral by Phillip Roth. It’s a hard book to describe, but I recommend it highly. It won the Pulitzer Prize if that makes a difference to you. More than anything else, the writing is just outstanding. It almost doesn’t matter what the story is about because the writing is so amazing. It’s like reading a story written in free verse poetry. And a darn good story. I don’t know if you like books about terrorist plots and spies, but I read an amazing book called The Lion’s Game by Nelson DeMille. I got my wife to read it and she loved it. All I saw was the top of her head sticking up from behind the book for a week, while she read it. It’s riveting and fast paced. OH! I have two great titles for you. If you want to read a beautiful story about love, friendship and redemption, read The Kite Runner. Fabulous book. Also, one of my favorites of all time is The Life of Pi by Yann Martel. It starts a little slow, but it is sooooo worth it.

R's Musings said...

Hi Dennis,
I just saw this book at the bookstore, but didn't get it. Now that I've read your post, I think I'll have to go back... Thanks for the review. (And for adding me to your links list).
--Robin

Dennis said...

Robin, It's a great book. Both my mother, and mother-in-law are reading it at this very moment and are raving about it. You'll enjoy it, I promise. (I was happy to add you to my list. I should have done it ages ago. I've also noticed that I get a lot of traffic through your web page. You must have an awful lot of readers!!)

Alex aka Gypsy Girl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ecm said...

I read this last year and really liked it...very compelling story.

Alex aka Gypsy Girl said...

I better finish up History of Love! This sounds good... I'm game for all the ones that require Kleenex!

Dennis said...

Alex - You'll love this. Money back guarantee!