I have a lot of mixed feelings about this book. At times, I absolutely love it and other times I would just shake my head in disgust. I think the majority of the time I did like the book though.
Anna has always known why she was born, to save her sister. Her sister has a rare type of cancer and Anna was genetically designed to be a perfect donor match. What started as only needing stem cells though has turned into marrow transplants and other donations from Anna, with a big one looming in the future; a kidney. But instead, Anna goes to a lawyer, who against his better judgment, takes up the case to get Anna medical emancipation so her parents can’t force her to be a donor anymore. In an already dysfunctional family this takes it toll though with no one knowing what the right steps are to take.
Anna was an ok character. For being the main character I think more of her personally could have been included. But maybe it was written for her to be an extension of her sister. Her sister Kate was even less of a force in the book, often taking a background despite the fact that everything centered on her. Her brother Jesse just provided some more conflict but was actually quite likable despite his troublesome ways. I did think that the side story between Anna’s lawyer and Guardian ad litem was somewhat distracting and didn’t add to the story at all, which detracted from their characters. I have to say I couldn’t find any redeemable qualities in Anna’s mother Sara. Sara was too obsessed with one child and while I think she was meant to show how a parent has trouble with all the decisions in life, she just was so far to horrible that it probably wasn’t a realistic portrayal of a person in that situation.
The concept of the novel is a pretty good one. And it explored the emotions behind such volatile decisions as well. The writing was clear and easy to read, even if it tended to the dramatic at times. The whole book is from a bunch of the different character’s views so the perspectives of what’s happening are always changing. I think the main part of this book is that it is so controversial and the author has a hard time hiding her bias as to what side she is on. It is a good book for discussion though and I can see why its a favorite of book clubs. I think the biggest flaw of the book, which many others have also said, is the ending. It just leaves you shaking your head wondering what Picoult was thinking when she wrote it.
Not a book that I’m always content with, but it does make you think. Perhaps just skip the ending and the side story about the lawyer and it would be great.
My Sister’s Keeper
Review by M. Reynard 2011