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I first read My Sister’s Keeper when I was about thirteen or fourteen. I remember sitting on my bedroom floor, engrossed in its world and characters. I didn’t get up until I had finished reading it, several hours later, with tears flowing down my cheeks. I love books like this that can capture my attention from the beginning and make me feel so many things.
Ultimately, this is a book about sisterhood and family. It’s about loyalty and trust. It’s about love and going to the end of the earth for them. But what happens when that loyalty and trust is destroyed? What happens if one of them just doesn’t want to do it anymore? This book explores that dilemma.
My Sister’s Keeper is told from multiple points of views — the sister (Anna), the parents, the brother, the lawyer, and the lawyer’s old childhood love interest. It tells story in the present and the past, alternating. I think this is an effective technique, allowing the reader to know what’s going on and then learn what happened in the past that led up that point.
The book is basically about a girl, Anna, who was conceived in order to save her sister’s life. From the moment she was born, she had to donate stem cells and cord blood in an attempt to save her older sister from leukemia. Years have went by and her sister Kate’s kidney is failing. Anna has to donate a kidney to her sister or else her sister will die.
The book opens up with Anna seeking out an attorney so that she can sue her parents for the rights to her own body. She says that she wants to be able to have a say in any medical decisions made. Her parents aren’t too happy, and try to fight it every step of the way.
They end up going to court, where the truth comes out, plus a lot more. There is a twist at the end, in which we discover Anna’s real motivation for suing her parents. And then there’s another twist, which is the most heartbreaking moment of all. I still cry when I read that last chapter, as it reminds me of how things can change in an instant that can alter the entire course of your life.
The clashing differences between mom and dad as they both try to support and understand the situation was well done. They both want the best for their two daughters, but at the same time, are stuck between a rock and hard place. They don’t know what’s the best or the right thing to do, but they are trying as best as they can.
The brother is a pyromaniac, and ironically, his dad is a firefighter. His dad helps to protect the town from fires, while his very son doesn’t.
The lawyer has his own demons that he has to face when he comes face-to-face with his childhood love. He tries to escape it, but ultimately can’t, like Anna.
Anna is at the center of all of these characters. She wants to do the right thing for her sister, but doesn’t know what the right thing is. All she knows is that she always wants to be her sister’s sister.
I actually own a copy of this book and I still read this every once in awhile. Like most books by Jodi Picoult, it is so well written. The words and plot scenes flow seamlessly and it’s nearly impossible to put the book down.
I definitely recommend that you add this book to your summer reading list. It is a must for anyone who likes book about family, loyalty, trust, and love.