Monday, April 12, 2010

Everthing Under the Sun: My Sister's Keeper, Book Review

"My Sister's Keeper", Book Review

So, you think living out your purpose in life is tough? You're beginning to have headaches from all the sleepless nights of planning. All you can do is sigh from having to deal with all those difficult people. You just want to escape from the piles and piles of work you have to accomplish. Well, that's hard.

But, what if you were born to give out what keeps you alive in order to save another person? What if you were born, ulitmately, die, so that someone else could live?

"My Sister's Keeper" is a 2004 novel by Jodi Picoult. It's also the basis for a movie version starring Cameron Diaz, Abigail Breslin and Alec Baldwin. According to an interview with Ms. Picoult, she was inspired to write the plot from the countless times she had to accompany a constantly sick son to the hospital.

The story revolves around Anna, a thirteen year-old girl who seems normal on the surface. She is an amazing hockey goalie, does well in school and fancies a boy named Kyle. But, she was also genetically-engineered and born as a perfect donor match for his leukemia-ridden sister Kate. Basically, she was born so that Kate could have someone to get donor organs from.

After countless of donations in her thirteen years of life, Anna is, yet again, submitted by her parents to donate her kidneys to replace Kate's failing ones. However, Anna has had enough and decides to sue her parents for medical emancipation. Sara, her mother, and an ex-lawyer, tries to convince Anna to drop charges, but she wouldn't budge.

The book raises a lot of ethical and moral questions.What is more important, the quality of life or the sanctity of life? How would you react if your child is terminally-ill, and the only way to save her is for another child to basically give up her life? What if you had to die in order to save someone? I think raising all these questions is great since it gets us thinking and reflecting about just what life is.

I also like how the details weave into one another. For example, Brian, Anna's father, is a firefighter. He is supposed to be a hero in an uncontrollable situation. At the same time, though, the uncontrollable situation Kate is in (cancer) is something he can not help her with. Every element of the story helps with developing the central plot.

The only thing I could see that needs improvement is character development. Sometimes, some of the people in the story seem too flat. Kate seems to have no personality other than her leukemia. Jesse, Kate and Anna's brother, seems to be too typical a case of teenage rebellion. Maybe, Ms. Picoult could have added other elements to their persona to make them pop out.

Life, because it's here and because it's now, is something we ought to think about, and this book is a great way to start that discussion with ourselves.


charmie said...

I saw a film of Sister keeper.. the story is different but it was also a though life decision. I hope I can have this book.. :)

Pearl said...

I didn't know this movie was based on a novel. I watched the movie, and it was so moving, and yes, it unearthed a lot of ethical issues, and I was wondering what I would do as a mother if it happened to me.

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