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Jodi Picoult: My Sister's Keeper

Ell

Well-Known Member
May's book of the month.

Book Description from Amazon.ca

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.

Sorry this is starting so late. I got waylaid. :eek:
 

Geenh

New Member
I've already read this book for my book club. I cannot wait until a discussion starts about it! I have my 2 cents worth.
 

Ell

Well-Known Member
Geenh,

You can start the discussion anytime. What were your impressions? Did you like it overall? Please give us your 2 cents worth.
 

cholla

New Member
I thought the book initially raised a great number of really good questions about families, and the roles assigned to individuals within families, and the consequences of those roles...

but the last quarter of the book was sooooo cheesy (to my eye, at least) that it simply expunged all the good things I'd been thinking about the work.

It left me feeling much the same way the movie E.T. did at its premiere (way back when)--used, not enlightened :mad:

I won't read anything else by Jodi Picoult.

But maybe I missed something?
 

Geenh

New Member
I thought the mother was a world-class bitch. I never would have treated my son the way she treated hers. We enjoyed argueing the points in book club.

The reaction of the father to his son's predilection for arson was unrealistic. Also, the book takes place where I am from and there's NO WAY the fire department would be as small.

The ending was really a cop-out. In the end J P gave absolutely no opinion about the issue. I won't be reading any more of her books as the women at our bookclub said their all the same with her presenting the issues but eventually copping out.

That's my 2 cents worth.
 

mehastings

Active Member
I apologize in advance if this is wordy. It’s 330AM and I’m bored at work. Sadly, I have all the time in the world for review writing…

I wasn't really interested in reading this book, but I got it for $5 in hardcover, so I figured I'd give it a shot. I read the thing in two sittings over the course of two or three hours. That, in itself isn't a good sign. I prefer books that have more complex language and take a bit longer to read. Why pay $25 (list price) for something that I’m going to be done with in three hours? Two movie tickets and popcorn is cheaper.

The story itself was reminiscent of Lurleen McDaniels, a young adult author writing formulaic romances about terminally ill teenagers. The only major difference between this book and the McDaniels books was the idea of having a “designer baby” created specifically to save their sick sibling. This really isn’t as original an idea as it may seem. Dating back into the 1980’s parents have conceived children in hopes that the cord blood will save sick siblings. A situation involving genetic selection of embryo’s occurred in 2000. Whether the procedures have continued, I don’t know.

I found the characters in this book to be completely unlikable. I couldn’t sympathize with poor sick Kate, wishy-washy Anna or their single-minded mother. Even the attention seeking pyromaniac oldest child, Jesse drove me nuts. The lawyer and social worker’s relationships with Anna and her family were blatantly inappropriate and in my opinion, unrealistic. I thought the issue itself was interesting, but the author just doesn’t have the writing skill to keep me entertained. To add insult to injury, the book’s ending was a blatant cop out. I saw it coming from the very first page of the book. The only surprise about the ending was the way Anna died. I thought for sure she was going to harm herself, but perhaps, even that would have been too controversial of an ending for Picoult. On a personal note, as a Firefighter/EMT who grew up outside Providence, the character of Brian and the author’s treatment of the Providence Fire Department were honestly insulting.

Conclusively, I thought this book was lousy. The writing was poor, characters weak and the plot was lukewarm up till the dreary last few pages. I always try to think of someone I will recommend a book to, but this time I just can’t. It has been resigned to the “eh, I’m done with it pile” that I hope to someday rid myself of on Ebay. I, like Cholla and Geenh, will not be reading another book by this author.
 

Genie

New Member
mehastings said:
Conclusively, I thought this book was lousy.

Actually I really enjoyed this book and even cried at the end which is very unlike me. I felt really lost when I had finished it, but hey- everyone is entitled to their own opinion and I'm sorry you didn't like it. I however love cheesy books so maybe that is why I liked it so much. :eek:

mehastings said:
I saw it coming from the very first page of the book. The only surprise about the ending was the way Kate died. I thought for sure she was going to harm herself

I must have missed something at the end though because I'm sure it turned out that it was Anna who died in the end and not actually Kate? :confused:
 

mehastings

Active Member
Genie said:
I must have missed something at the end though because I'm sure it turned out that it was Anna who died in the end and not actually Kate? :confused:

Nope. You're right. I wrote that late last night and misstyped it. I fixed it.
 

StillILearn

New Member
Read it, have only the haziest memories of it, bought Vanishing Acts; put that one on my TBR pile. I am hopelessly irresponsible when it comes to book collecting. I went to our local library book sale today and bought -- oops -- wrong thread for rambling on.

:rolleyes:
 

hanspam

New Member
I actually really liked it - although I agree that the ending was a slight copout due to nothing being resolved as to the transplant, it ended in such a way that left me crying, and the last book to make me do that was Anne of Green Gables about 10 years ago. I read it quickly, but that to me is the sign of a good book as I couldn't put it down. (I read it whilst at work, which didn't go down too well.)

I like books that are told through several viewpoints as it makes the picture more wide, and gives insights into all the characters instead of just one. I thought it was poignant that Kate didn't get her chance to tell a part of the story until the very end.
 

StillILearn

New Member
I'm trying to read "The Mermaid's Chair", but I may not be able to continue. I thought Kidd was a more skilled writer than this.

Is it just me?

:confused:
 

westylass

New Member
I enjoyed it but found the ending dissapointing. The likelihood of that happening and with the timining was, well pretty unlikely! However what I liked was the interesting moral dilemmas it kicked up and the dynamics of family life in that situation which I felt to be pretty accurate probably. I also loved the reasons the lawyer gave for the dog. Just a light bit of humour in a heavy storyline.
 

london

New Member
I liked the book though didn't really satisfy my expectations (read beginning very different from end)

I agree JD should have given her point of view in the end but, in a way, I guess she kind of suggested that - see way outsiders see the family - Anna's lawyer etc - and in the way Anna's mother is described...
I really didn't like her selfish and self centered attitude...everything should work the way she wants it to...makes me say...I'm happy this was just a book I read, not something I experienced in Real Life!


 

readandteach

New Member
I just wanted to add that while I didn't really care for the story that much (someone here said it best: they said they couldn't sympathize with sick Kate, wishy-washy Anna, or single-minded mother...and the son drove them nuts.) I still gave the author another chance with a book called THE PACT. It was much better. (I won't spoil it, but the characters are a little better.)

There is something about her writing that is easy to read and makes me want to read more.
 

steffee

Active Member
I read this after seeing millions of reviews saying how great it was.

I thought it was very good, apart from the ending, which I think I recall an interview with Jodi Picoult stating she didn't like either. I liked all the characters except the mother, even the arsonist son/brother Jesse who showed he did care deep down. I really felt for Anna and her dad, Brian, but having no idea about the role of a fireman/paramedic, maybe can't appreciate that it was portrayed incorrectly.

I thought the brief love affair between Kate and the boy who died (whose name escapes me) was very sweet, and gave us a little insight into Kate's character despite not having much input from her throughout.

And I loved the astrology stuff - how Anna was named after Andromeda, situated between the mother and father.

Admittedly, it could have been written a little better, and could have had a 'real' ending, but I think it did well enough...

I too, have read The Pact, which is much, much better than My Sister's Keeper, and probably will be buying more of Jodi Picoult's stuff.
 

actonbell

New Member
re: My Sister's Keeper

It hasn't been that long since I read this. I agree that the characters and their relationships to each other were not all realistic, but overall, I admired the book for posing a very interesting moral dilemma, and managing to surprise me at the end. While reading it, I felt anger towards the mother, and also disbelief--surely, a normal mother would have felt Anna's pain, would have wanted to have one daughter with a happy, normal childhood. I thought that the neglect of the son was the only realistic part of this whole novel; unfortunately, that happens to healthy children when their parents must constantly worry about a very sick child. I expected Anna to win the right to refuse any further operations, and then decide, for herself, to donate a kidney to her sister.
 

MonkeyCatcher

New Member
I finished this today, and overall I found it to be better than I had first expected. After the luke-warm reviews that I read at the start of this thread (which also gave the ending away - spoiler tags people!! :mad: :mad: ), I wasn't anticipating a great read, something which boosted my overall enjoyment of the book. I agree that the end was a cop out, but I found the rest of the book compelling and a pleasure to read. Perhaps it's because I had a personal attachment to the concept (my sister was diagnosed with lukhemia a few years ago), but I found the book extremely hard to put down and the characters to be entirely life-like.

Overall, contrary to what seems to be the popular feeling, I really like this book. I have a strong liking for books which are told from different viewpoints, and the story itself was powerful and entertaining (if a bit cheesy), so it was a winner for me. A recommended read :)
 

isharma

New Member
I really really liked this book. The ending was kind of a huge shock but still, I liked it :)

My favorite character in the book was Julia. She was just really well written, i guess? [:
 

veniqe

New Member
If you've read one Picoult, you've read them all. This might be the only one of her books that's worth reading.

It was extremely interesting but I agree with one of the other posters in saying it's only interesting up till the last bit. The last bit was too predictable. That was disappointing.

I like that it shows you both sides of the story in an (almost) unbiased way. I also found the medical aspect engrossing. She writes quite well and I was able to understand most of what is going on medically.

If only the little teenage girl didn't die.. that would've made for an interesting twist...
 

h_carnahan

New Member
I loved the book, I was unable to put it down and unable to stop crying. I had a friend who had cancer and recieved a transplant from her sister. The charcters in the story seemed very realistic to me, having seen first handedly how a family teetering on the edge of breakdown manage to function. I loved the plot and story overall. I thought it was presented in a very unbiased way.

While the ending was the easy way out of the issue at hand, I can't think of a more fitting way to end the book.
 
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