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Saturday, July 11, 2009

Book Review: My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult



ISBN: 978-1439157381
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Paperback: 448 pages
First Line: When I was little, the great mystery to me wasn't how babies were made, but why.
One Word Review: Heartrending

Publisher's Description:

Anna is not sick, but she might as well be. By age thirteen, she has undergone countless surgeries, transfusions, and shots so that her older sister, Kate, can somehow fight the leukemia that has plagued her since childhood. The product of preimplantation genetic diagnosis, Anna was conceived as a bone marrow match for Kate -- a life and a role that she has never challenged...until now. Like most teenagers, Anna is beginning to question who she truly is. But unlike most teenagers, she has always been defined in terms of her sister -- and so Anna makes a decision that for most would be unthinkable, a decision that will tear her family apart and have perhaps fatal consequences for the sister she loves.

I have a friend who's been trying to talk me into reading Jodi Picoult for a long time. I actually did read one of her books, Perfect Match, several years ago. Tabitha (the friend) had been telling me yet again that I just had to pick up a book, any book, by Picoult. It would change my life, she said. The little library in the town where we were living happened to have a copy of Perfect Match sitting on the top of the shelf one day, and I felt perhaps it was book destiny that this would be the one I'd start on my road to life-changing reading. I'll be honest. I didn't care for it. A quick glance at the labels many people have tagged her books with on LibraryThing (words like abuse, pedophilia, death, infanticide, euthanasia, leukemia, suicide, cancer, bullying, and school shootings) should have clued me in to the fact that I was probably not going to find Mrs. Picoult's writing enjoyable. I read the book anyway. And, like I said, I didn't like it. It's not that I couldn't appreciate her talent. I just couldn't really wrap my brain around the subject matter without feeling a deep sense of sadness. So, after that one attempt, I would nod my head and um hm when Tabitha would suggest the latest Picoult offering.

Although I hate to say I was inspired by a movie, I was inspired by a movie. Well, a trailer, really. I saw an extended preview of the film My Sister's Keeper a few weeks back, and I cried. It was heartbreaking, but it was also fascinating. I decided to give Jodi Picoult another go. And...it was wonderful. It was still sad, and awful, and painful at times, but it was lovely, and beautiful, and surprisingly easy to read. The characters were well written, though I'll admit I changed some of their features around in my mind to fit the actors I knew were playing the roles. The story was devastating, but I never really experienced the hopelessness that Perfect Match left me feeling.

So, I'll pick up another of her books, I'm sure. I do think I'll be selective about the titles, though. Some subjects just aren't for me. But, I've definitely become a fan.

Book Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5 stars


13 comments:

Veens said...

Wow! Heart Rending indeed!
I have never tried Picoult, but I know which one NOT to pick this time :)

bermudaonion said...

I enjoyed this book too. I've heard they've changed the ending for the movie. I guess I'll find out when I see it next week.

Mari said...

Have not read this yet. Have it on my shelf to read.

Traci said...

I'd hate to think they changed the ending. Granted, I sobbed for the last 20 pages or so (made it difficult to see the words), but I think it was the right ending.

Mari said...

Hey-I have given you a Kreative Blogger Award! Come and see. :)

Zibilee said...

I have not read any Picoult, but I have some of the same feelings as you had before reading this book. My best friend is reading it right now, and I am relying on her to tell me if she thinks I would like it before I try this one. I am hoping that she says I will love it, because I would love a new author to be enamored of. I'm glad you liked the book and that it changed your opinions of the author's work.

Joanne said...

I enjoyed My Sisters Keeper when I read it, and I appreciated it much more after seeing the movie. I don't think the people who wrote the screenplay stayed true to the feeling of the story, or the importance of certain issues. I won't say more because I would hate to spoil it.

Rebecca :) said...

I am glad to see you've become a fan. This was my first Picoult and I loved the book. I have not read Perfect Match, but saw someone else did not like it as much as this one or Vanishing Acts.

Diane said...

THIS was my favorite Picoult book. I've read them all. Glad you enjoyed it too.

Jena said...

I thought Picoult showed great skill in her rendering of her characters in My Sister's Keeper--and I thought the book was great till the end. That ending just didn't sit well with me. My Sister's Keeper was my first Picoult read. A friend also recommended (and insisted I borrow) The Plain Truth (or something like that), which I'll probably get to before the end of next year.

Samantha said...

"My Sister's Keeper" was the first book I read by Jodi Picoult. I found the book very intriguing and full of excitment. I could never put the book down. I have read many other Picoult books and found them to have the same shocking endings (most of them anyways).

Cindy B said...

I still haven't read anything by Picoult. I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed this one.

TigerGreenEyz said...

I have become a huge fan of Jodi Picoult. I would suggest reading House Rules and Nineteen Minutes. Those were my favorite by her.