Have you ever wondered how far a mother will go to save her leukemic daughter? Would you consider a designer baby as a last resort? Is it the right thing to do? Or if it is normal to stop monitoring your other children because you have to tend the dying one? Would you choose to save your daughter while putting the other one’s life at risk? Here, in the book, the situation presents itself.
My Sister’s Keeper is a story about the Fitzgerald family suffering the after effects of considering genetic implantation to conceive a child. The family had two children Jesse and Kate. The latter, at the age of two, is diagnosed of APL, a rare type of leukemia, barely curable. With a perfect donor match, Kate can live longer. The mother, Sarah, decided to conceived a child through test-tube. The embryo’s genes is perfectly altered to match those of Kate’s. Thus, Anna is born.
At childbirth, Anna had already donated a cord blood. Since then until thirteen, she have been giving blood, tissues and bone marrows to her sister Kate. Luckily, Kate had survived these past years and had the pleasure of kissing a boy. However, as time pass, Kate’s body begins to deteriorate and is need not just a refillable source but an organ – a kidney or else she’ll die. At best, Anna has to stop playing hockey and will not be able to drink alcohol. At worst, she might die or experience paralysis. The risks prompt Anna to think twice. In the end, she seeks for medical emancipation. She sues her parents for the rights of her own body.
Jodi Picoult is known as an author who writes complex topics about not common but possible dilemmas. She have written about teenage suicide (The Pact), euthanasia (Mercy), to name a few. In My Sister’s Keeper, she lets the reader choose sides: one is dying; the other is breaking free. Told by different views, the novel presents itself as a case with various evidences. At the looming ending, you find yourself as a judge, holding a gavel in the mid-air. The book waits for the answer.
Since every chapter is told by different persons, I find it amazing that Jodi Picoult can speak well the mind of a teen rebel, a heart-broken lawyer, a torn father. Regardless of gender, she does this effortlessly.
I am still at war with myself if the book’s pace is an asset or a liability. For one thing, the story happens only for two weeks. In these days, Picoult fills the book with many abrupt backstories. Also, there are some subplots. One of which is a love story of the lawyer and the appointed guardian for Anna, which I find another excuse to make the novel longer and it somehow didn’t prove significant to the whole story.
I don’t know if its me but I see a lot of metaphors in the book. Most of them useful but some are useless. I think she over did it like this sentence: “Anna glances out into the reception area, where Kerri, naturally, is hanging on our words like a cat on a rope”. I couldn’t get the idea on how the cat in the rope intensifies the nurse’s attention. Besides, cats can’t hold on a rope.
Don’t get me wrong, I like the book but there are some things that either invigorates or infuriates me like the book’s ending, the saddest and most disappointing ending I have ever read. I have heard many rants about this book saying they have reached long for the characters but in the end the ending gave it all away. So think twice before reading this book.
However, I still recommend reading this book (ha ha). Why? It’s because it tackles parenting ethics and a person’s individuality. As Jodi herself said, “I believe that we’re all going to be forced to think about these issues within a few years… so why not first in fiction?”