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
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