Book 9: My Sister’s Keeper

Book Title: My Sister’s Keeper
Author: Jodi Picoult
Published: 2004
Pages: 423
Category: fiction: general

Another book in my “must read before I see the movie” series, also known as the strange and depressing general fiction series…

My family has been very fortunate, we’ve never had to go through anything near as painful as what the family in My Sister’s Keeper live with throughout the story. Nevertheless I found the book dealt with the emotional turmoil of each character very well, at least from my perspective. I found Jodi Picoult’s characters to be inspiring and intriguing individuals, and I enjoyed following their story despite the gravity of the subject matter, and the inherent tragedy in the novel.

I loved the way that Picoult differentiated between the different characters’ points of view through using different fonts, and the way she separated every day with a new quotation, setting the tone for what happens within each chapter. Expressive use of text and new ways of telling stories is one of the reasons I love general fiction. But at the same time I don’t tend to read it as often as I do other genres.

My Sister’s Keeper follows the story of a family, with one daughter, who’s been suffering from a rare form of Leukimia since she was 2 years old, and another daughter who, since her birth, has donated blood, bone marrow, and is now faced with the prospect of donating a kidney to her older sister. The story addresses the questions of ethics in continuing treatment, the choices and decisions that the family is faced with, putting one daughter in harm’s way to protect another.

As I said before, my family has never truly faced these sorts of circumstances, but in some ways I was drawing parallels between the Fitzgerald’s story, and my elderly cat. I know it doesn’t compare, but to me, my cat’s failing health is the closest thing I’ve ever experienced to this story. At nearly 16, he’s elderly for a cat. He’s having kidney problems, and I give him daily injections of saline to keep him from becoming dehydrated. His personality is changing as his body fails him, but before we started the injections he was dehydrated to the point that we thought we would have to put him down. Now, as long as I pump him full of 100cc’s of saline once every two days, he’s fine. But at what point do we draw the line with treatment? How long do I continue doing this to him? Putting him through this when he’s begun to fight me when I put the needle into the skin between his shoulder blades. What happens when he needs the injections twice a day? If I go away for a week? Where do we cross the line between medically helping, and harming?

But enough about my cat. Do we have any other thoughts on the book?

Also I’m wondering what people’s thoughts are on disclosing spoilers on this blog. There are a few other things that I would discuss about My Sister’s Keeper if I didn’t mind spoiling the ending for any blog-followers who hadn’t read the book. I know that a lot of my readers are Nerdfighters, and are familiar with John Green’s (Author of Looking for Alaska, Paper Towns, and An Abundance of Katherines) stance on spoilers being non-existent in books, and book discussion being anchored in being able to discuss the entire story as a whole. But I’m not sure I’ve ever fully agreed with that. Part of reading a book for the first time is discovering the way the story unfolds. This is one of the same reasons that I like to read books before I see the movies based upon them. So…Thoughts anyone?

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2 Responses to Book 9: My Sister’s Keeper

  1. James says:

    I really enjoy reading your thoughts on this book! 🙂 I love My Sister’s Keeper, and some of my friends were giving me grief about reading Jodi Picoult. It’s refreshing to read a review by a friend who liked it.

    re: Spoilers. Perhaps you could do a general responce like you just did, and then at the end have a new paragraph simply saying “Spoiler Section…” and after that title you’re licensed to write anything and everything. I figure, as long as there’s fair warning, it’s then the reader’s decision whether or not to proceed and you can’t be blamed.

    • Pippa says:

      Thanks James 😀

      That’s a good idea, although I think I’ll try to only come close to spoilers in my review when it’s really essential to what I want to talk about. This one certainly comes close!

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