Book Review: My Sister’s Keeper

Author: Jodi Picoult

On the back cover of My Sister’s Keeper it says the story is about a 13-year-old girl who files for medical emancipation from her parents. To me it isn’t just about that. It is about the troubled Fitzgerald family, and all the problems are caused by a child with cancer.

Brian, a very passionate firefighter and Sara, a housewife and former lawyer have three children: Jesse, Kate and Anna. Jesse, 18, displays destructive behaviour. Kate, 16, is the one fighting for her life. And sharp-mouth Anna, 13, is confused and doesn’t know whether she should give a part of herself to save her sister or to allow her to die.

At the age of two Kate was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, acute promyelocytic leukemia. She needs a bone marrow transplant but neither Brian nor Sara is a match. Jesse is not a match either, and this is possibly the reason for his destructiveness: the fact that he couldn’t save his sister.

Sara talks Brian into having a genetically-engineered baby for the sole purpose of saving Kate. And that baby is Anna. Anna provides her sister with stem cells, bone marrow, blood etc. They are constantly in and out of hospital.

The time comes for Anna to donate a kidney to Kate, even though it may impact on her health in future. This is when she decides to hire a lawyer, Campbell Alexander. However, the decision is not entirely Anna’s. Sara represents herself. The court also assigns a guardian ad litem – Julia Romano – to Anna, and a romance blossoms between Julia and Campbell.

After several court appearances the judge finally makes a decision, and the book ends with the most unexpected twist.

Picoult portrays the characters very well. She writes really intelligently, and does an amazing job of making readers feel like they know exactly what’s happening in the minds of the characters. It’s not like any other book I’ve read before. I highly recommend it.

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