My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult

Susanne’s Review:

Life sure can be ugly, messy, and complicated.

A perfect example of that is depicted in Jodi Picoult’s “My Sister’s Keeper.”

The emotions I felt while reading this heart-wrenching novel were mainly anger, frustration, and a whole lot of sadness.

At thirteen, Anna is the little sister, though from everything she’s gone through you wouldn’t know it. From before conception, her parents had a very specific plan for her. They designed her. Their firstborn daughter, Kate was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) at a very young age. The doctors said that her best chance of survival would be to receive a blood transfusion, bone marrow, and potentially organ donations from a matched sibling. Enter Anna. Since the age of five, at her parent’s insistence, she has had to undergo multipe surgeries to save her sister’s life, with nary a care for her own.

When Anna turns thirteen, however, and kidney donation is the next step, all of that changes. For the first time, Anna decides to take a stand.

For Anna, this is a life choice. For Anna’s mother Sara, it is an abomination, as Anna is effectively writing Kate’s death sentence. Sara is a woman who admittedly, I did not understand. Yes, I know, she’s just a fictional character yet, my blood boiled at her actions while reading this novel. I wanted to shake her or slap her or if I’m being completely honest do a whole lot more to make her realize that she had three children to take care of, not just one. Seeing as I am not a mother perhaps my feelings for her would have been less, say aggressive if I had more insight into motherhood. For those of you who are mothers, perhaps your take on her is altogether different than mine.

The standout character here, for me, is, of course, Anna. Strong, forthright, kind, and brave, so very brave.

I first read this novel when it came out many moons ago, however, I have been re-reading some of my old favorites with my book buddy Kaceey. Though this was a difficult read, which garnered a lot of discussion between the two of us, it was an incredible one. Though this was a re-read for me, I admit to shedding a few tears throughout. Thank you for sharing it with me Kaceey. If you’re looking for another novel to read that has a partially similar premise, check out “Never Let Me Go” by Kazuo Ishiguro.  Having read almost every Jodi Picoult novel to date, this is one of my favorites.  I look forward to sharing the rest with you.

Published on Goodreads on 12.16.20.

Kaceey’s Review:

Emotional and profoundly thought-provoking.

If your child were deathly ill, what would you do to save them? Move heaven and earth…right? Would that include sacrificing your other child? Stops you in your tracks, doesn’t it.

Kate was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia. Conventional treatment wasn’t working. Her only hope was a bone marrow transplant. But no one in the family was a close match. And there was no time to sit on the register hoping beyond hope to find a donor. 

Kate’s parents make the call of a lifetime…they decide to have another child through IVF to ensure as close to a perfect match for Kate.

Anna is ushered into this world with an abundance of love but also with the hope she will save Kate’s life. So many gut-wrenching decision follow. Morals and values to be considered. When is it enough? When will it stop? What will the repercussions be when all is said and done?

This book will have you taking a hard look at yourself in the mirror. How far can you go? Is causing harm to one daughter worth easing the pain of your other?

Jodi Picoult did an amazing job of portraying a family in the most unthinkable crisis.

A buddy read with Susanne that kept us discussing as much as reading.

Highly recommend!

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