"My Sister's Keeper" shows how far people will go just to keep a sick family member alive.The book was written by Jodi Picoult and published by Washington Square Press.
The beginning of the novel introduces readers to Anna Fitzgerald, a 13-year-old who was conceived in order to save her sister, Kate who has acute promyelocytic leukemia, through "preimplantation genetic diagnosis." The whole point of having another child was so that he or she could be a donor for Kate.
The girls' parents, Brian and Sara Fitzgerald, have relied on Anna to come through for her sister with all kinds of health crisises, and even use Anna's umbilical cord to help Kate.
When Anna was a young girl, she donated bone marrow for her sister.
The first chapter plunges into drama when Anna approaches a lawyer to gain her own medical rights after she finds out that Kate needs a kidney transplant; if the judge would rule in favor of Anna, her parents could no longer make medical decisions for her.
"My Sister's Keeper" has various voices throughout the book. The chapters rotate and are written in first person, with Anna, Brian, Sara, Jesse (the girls' brother) and other characters talking about their feelings, memories and lives.
Usually I don't like it when novelists write this way because it's hard to remember what happens, but I think that having numerous voices in this book, really added excitement to the story. It was interesting to see what kind of emotions and thought processes each character had, especially the mother.
I think the numerous characters also made you feel sympathy for each one. I felt sorry for
Anna, having to go to the hospital so much and be poked with needles. I felt sorry for Jesse because he was kind of the outcast and forgotten about. I felt bad for 16-year-old Kate because she was always sick and never seemed to enjoy herself. I sympathized with the parents, who only wanted the best and longest lives for their children.
What I didn't like about the book, is the way the way the novelist made Anna talk. It made it seem like she was older than 13. I imagine maybe this was on purpose because Picoult wanted to make it seem like Anna was very mature for her age, but the language she used like "aversion," I don't think I even knew what that word meant at 13.
At the beginning of the book, I was thinking what kind of parents would put a child through all of medical turmoil just to save another? Near the end, I kind of felt the same way, but I felt that the parents really did love both children and that it must have been hard thinking that their daughter wouldn't live to see her high school graduation.
All throughout the book, Anna is faced with indecision and inner turmoil. She doesn't want her sister to die, but she doesn't want to have to go through another surgery. She knows that no matter what the judge decides it's not going to be a winning situation for anyone.
Just as the beginning of the book brings on the drama, so does the end and this time, even with more emotion so don't leave your tissues behind.
Editor's note: According to WebMD, "Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD)" is a technique used to identify genetic defects in embryos created through in vitro fertilization (IVF) before transferring them into the uterus. Because only unaffected embryos are transferred to the uterus for implantation, PGD provides an alternative to current post conception diagnostic procedures, i.e., amniocentesis or chorionic villas sampling, which are frequently followed by pregnancy termination if results are unfavorable. PGD is performed in conjunction with IVF and is offered to fertile and infertile couples.