Friday, April 1, 2011

My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult

Title: My Sister’s Keeper
Author: Jodi Picoult
Publisher: Hachette India
Pages: 407
Genre: Fiction
Rating: 8 out of 10

I saw the movie first. I loved it. And therefore, I decided that I had to read the book because a little surfing informed me that the book is slightly different from the movie, and the fact remains that a book is almost always better than the movie. A book is a written word, open to interpretations by the reader, while a movie is essentially an interpretation.

I had no trouble soaking in this 400-pages book, it was pretty unputdownable. I finished it in 3 days. The chapters have been segregated in the perspective of individual characters. The book is about a family of five – Brian (father), Sara (mother), Jesse (the eldest son), Kate (the daughter) and Anna (the youngest daughter). Brian is a fire-fighter and an amateur astronomer while his wife, Sara is a homemaker and an ex-lawyer. Jesse is the first born of the family but surprisingly the life of this family revolves around Kate, the middle one, who is diagnosed with leukemia when she is two (while Jesse is four). The youngest one, Anna was conceived with the help of a geneticist to be a perfect match as a donor for Kate.

My Sister’s Keeper is a sensitive story about
·         Anna: Who always knew the reason why she was born and every now and then she finds herself wondering about how different her life had been if she had born into a normal family! Anna acts as a donor again and again for Kate, since the time she takes birth, like when Kate needs leukocytes or stem cells or bone marrow, till the time it is required for her to donate one of her kidneys to Kate. Anna finds herself in this neverending loop, which has clawed into her life so much that she does not see herself ever being able to disentangle and move on. Anna sues her parents for medical emancipation with the help of lawyer Campbell Alexander, for the rights to her own body. She does not want to live a half life, wherein she would have to give up hockey, may have pregnancy related complications and may never be able to leave Kate’s sides, in the wake of when the latter might need her for something.
·         Sara: Who, you would almost feel, that along the way forgets being a mother to Anna and Jesse, as much as she is to Kate. You would sometimes find yourself accusing her for compromising the lives of her other 2 children in her quest to keep Kate alive, no matter what. As she explains towards the end of the book, her only motive has been to keep the family intact, because she was not looking at choosing one of her daughters to live but for both of them. Sara is completely convinced that Anna may not be able to appreciate it at present, but she would when she grows older.  
·         Brian: Who is not as assertive as his wife. He does not take sides – he understands where his wife is coming from and also respects Anna’s decision to assert her rights on her body.
·         Jesse: Who is a lost case for the family. The saddest part is that though the parents are aware about him getting into trouble, they have completely given up on him. They don’t even seem to try to get him back. It sometimes feel weird that Sara is so sucked into her zest to save Kate that she completely forgets about her first born. Aren’t the first borns, a little more special, because one experiences the joys of parenthood for the first time? In this case, it does not seem to be the case. Jesse does not seem particularly close to either of his parents.
·         Kate: Who fights for her life from leukemia since the tender age of two. She has never known a normal childhood, joking about her death every once in a while. Now at the age of sixteen, she again finds herself accosted by death, wherein even if Anna donates one kidney to her, it does not mean that she would live.

It is a captivating story. As you move along, you would tend to judge Sara and also Anna, but eventually, for the family who is in the crisis, there are no right answers. They just do what they find the best because nobody is wrong. I did find the ending a little surprising but even I don’t know what other ending I was expecting or would have been justified.

The language is mesmerizing and effortless. There are numerous moments which are truly heart-rendering, and ultimately, it is a fascinating story and very well-written. 

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  1. I too had l loved the book! There are few more books on similar lines

    - Handle with care by same author
    - Memory Keeper's Daughter

    Have u read them? If not then do! Good books!

  2. Hey thanks for the recommendations. I will surely look out for them. Today I just started on my first book on the 'reading challenge'. Let's see how well it goes!