Leila's Reviews > My Sister's Keeper

My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult
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's review
Jan 04, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: book-club

It’s impossible to talk about this book without discussing the ending but I promise to give warning before I do so it won't be spoiled for those who haven't read the book yet.

I had two main concerns going into this book. The first was that it would be nothing more than a political commentary on stem cell and embryo research. While it does touch on these issues, the book does not take a stand or attempt to pontificate a political stance to the reader. While I am sure the author has her own beliefs, she does an excellent job of not pushing them through the story of this family. Ultimately, that there is no “winning” scenario.

The second concern that I had was that the story would not be believable. I couldn’t help but ask myself how a mother could possibly love one daughter so much that she would give up any semblance of a life to be by her side at all times, yet completely disregard the life of her other daughter; born specifically to save the first daughter. This seemed beyond belief to me, and this disbelief would surly make it difficult to develop a connection to the characters. The first few chapters were a little difficult due to this initial impression of the situation. Then the author uses a prior time line, starting with the discovery of leukemia in her 2-year-old daughter that intermingles with the current time line to help with the character and plot development. This alternate time line, combined with memories described by the characters in the current time line lead to a very compelling and believable train of events that lead up to the decision.

The story is also told from the view point of the 6 people who are closely involved in the court case; Anna, Kate, their mother, their father, their brother, the attorney, the court appointed guardian ad-litum. The different view points also help the ready understand the complexities in the situation as all of the characters struggle internally with what the right decision is. This also helps to understand the mothers motives, which on the surface can seem selfish and even cruel.

The only complaint I have about the characters is that there are certain characteristics that are the same for all of the characters. It smacks you in the face at times and reminds you that this is just a story and that is unfortunate. The main instance of this is the dry, cynical, sarcastic sense of humor that is shared, not only by every main character, but even by the extras. The sister relationships (there are 3 of them) also show too many similarities.


The biggest complaint I have about this book is the ending. After such a believable start and such great plot development, the ending comes completely out of left field. It serves as nothing more than a way for the author to avoid having to make a decision regarding the girl’s life. I sincerely hope that the ending was not the original but was forced on the author by the publisher. There are more than 3 endings that could have made this a 5 star book; the one published was not one of them.

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Reading Progress

Started Reading
December 1, 2007 – Finished Reading
January 4, 2008 – Shelved
September 3, 2012 – Shelved as: book-club

Comments (showing 1-8 of 8) (8 new)

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Sara Diane Actually- Jodi knew the ending before she began writing this story (she has mentioned so many times). As a writer, it is exactly the sort of ending that I would have gone with and I think it is the only ending that really ties up the book well. Sure, it could have ended differently, but it wouldn't have been the right ending. Too often, we want a happy ending but life doesn't work that way. The ending Jodi picked is the way this story worked out. And I know that stories must be allowed to work out their own resolution or it wouldn't ring true. I know this isn't the ending most people want, but it throws teh entire story into a new light and makes you ask- was it worth it?

Mara I personally loved the religious plot line running through this book. She is able to tie so many thought processes into one main problem/topic. Haven't read a Jodi Piccoult that I didn't love and that didn't leave my mind in a state of deep thought.

Beth Anne i would like to know how you would have wanted the book to end?

i actually thought that this ended perfectly. tragically, but perfectly.

Jodi Totally agree with your review! And the ending was definately dissapointing with Picoult killing Anna... here the entire plot is so complex and then bam.. she's dead! So easy!! Just take the kidney now!
It could've continued into the families' acceptance of Kate & Anna's wishes... it could've allowed Anna to offer the kidney and both girls grow up together... or it could've gone through the pain of losing Kate, but bandaging up the family...
Just having Anna die, and Kate living long and healthy was too easy...

Kelly Great review. I HATED the ending. Have you seen the movie? I was reluctant to see it because I was afraid it was going to stick too closely to the book. Instead, the movie was almost a PERFECT rewrite of EXACTLY what was wrong with the book - it scrapped the lawyer love story and left a realistic ending. Bravo for being the only movie I actually liked more than the book!

Jennifer Very curious how you would have ended it. I hated the ending too but I can't think of a way I would have ended it. Your thoughts?

Jacque My ending: Put a twist at the end: Anna brain dead in the hospital after an accident, but wait, it's turns out it's 8 years later and a tearful, healthy Kate walks in and thanks (dead) Anna for disregarding Kate's own wishes and giving her the kydney and giving them 8 healthy years together.

message 8: by Amanda (new)

Amanda The book takes hold of the ethical issue of a couple that decides to have a child BECAUSE another child is sick all the time. The issue that comes into question is that how long should the savior child be forced to give up his or her body for his other sibling and what is the motivation in doing so. Should the savior child be forced to give his or her body to their sick sibling no matter how painful until they are 18 and then legally able to say no?

I am actually doing a research project on this topic. The children that are essentially made to be the perfect match for the sick child is called a savior sibling.

The child is made with the couples sperm and eggs BUT the child is conceived using IVF (in vitro insemination). Before the embryo is implanted into the woman, it is screened for the exact biological item that the sick child is in need of.

That is just a synopsis. Read this for a better understanding:

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