My Sister’s Keeper, by Jodi Picoult
At age 2, Kate is diagnosed with Leukemia. When her parents and her older brother are tested, they are not compatible as donors, so her parents genetically engineer a baby to be a perfect donor match. Anna spends the next 13 years donating to her sister, until she is asked for a kidney. The book begins with Anna visiting an attorney and asking to sue her parents for medical emancipation. The story that follows is told from multiple view points – a series of current events, mixed in with flashbacks.
I found the story heartbreaking on so many levels. As a mom myself, I can’t help but identify with Kate’s mom, Sara, who would do anything to save her daughter. And yet she’s not a completely sympathetic character. She truly seems blind to anything but keeping Kate safe – her delinquent son, whether there should be limits on what they expect of Anna, and her distant relationship with her husband. I have to admit that it made me wonder if I would be different, and also feel grateful that I’m not in the position to find out.
There is a side-story, of the attorney and his past that adds a level of mystery, the characters are well-developed, the plot is thought-provoking, and the ending – I can’t hint at it for fear of spoiling it, but I don’t think it will be a surprise that there was crying involved on my part. Really a wonderful story and I highly recommend it – I wouldn’t have read it if a friend hadn’t lent it to me so I’m encouraging all my friends and family to get a copy from the library – you won’t be sorry.
As a side-note: if you have seen the movie – do not assume you know the book. I watched it afterward, and it is really only a shadow of the book, including completely different plot-lines and characters. It’s generally true that the book version will be better than the movie but this one is so much more – trust me.
Next up: All The Pretty Horses, by Cormac McCarthy