Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Book Review: My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult

I never saw it coming. Honestly, I've not been that surprised by the ending of a book for a very long time. And yet it was the only way it could have ended, when I reconsider. The book in question is Jodi Picoult's My Sister's Keeper. Now I'm bound to have lots of people laugh and say it was obvious, but not to me, it wasn't.

It's a moving tale of two sisters - not twins, although they have almost identical DNA because younger sister Anna is a designer baby, conceived to provide stem cell treatment for her seriously ill sibling. Kate has a rare form of leukaemia that only regular transplants of platelets, white blood cells, bone marrow and, eventually, a kidney, all donated by Anna, can control.

The story begins when 13-year-old Anna decides to take her parents to court for the right to make future medical decisions for herself. It is a complex plot about ethics, love, hate, and the devastating effects that a terminal illness has on every member of a family.

Alternating between tears and laughter, in the same way that the family copes, the reader is given a tour of the American family court system as well as learning about hospital politics. We also find out a lot about setting light to buildings, as father Brian deals with an arsonist in his work as a firefighter, on top of the pressures at home.

Anna hires a lawyer, who has a few problems of his own that complicate his motives for taking the case. He agrees to work pro-bono, initially because of the kudos that such a high-profile lawsuit will bring him, but becomes increasingly involved with Anna's dilemma. If she goes ahead with the action her sister will die; if she gives in she would lose even more than 13 years of medical procedures have already cost her.

This is another of the books I've read because it was featured on the World Book Night lists. It truly deserved its place there. If you don't already know it - read it.

Later edit. I've now seen the movie. REALLY - read the book.

1 comment:

snafu said...

Facinating sounding plot line. I recently read Michael Chrichton's Next, which has a related theme of who owns your body and your DNA when organisations can copyright DNA sequences. Sounds like I should add this one to my ever growing list.