Penny's Reviews > My Sister's Keeper

My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult
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's review
Jun 05, 2009

it was ok
bookshelves: chick-lit, disappointing, reviewed-books, wish-i-could-unread

Anyone who has a kid has probably, at one point or another, battled with them at bedtime. That's what I do, every night. There is much yelling, crying, begging and pleading. It's horrible.

Kid #3 is out like a light, so she's not part of the problem. Kid #2 puts up a good fight, whining and tantrum throwing, but eventually she succumbs to her sleepiness. Kid #1, however... well, she's another story altogether.

At night, she's afraid of everything and feels that if she sleeps something will get her. But she's not invincible, she has to sleep sometime. So after being assured that she's safe, she'll lay down and relax--this can only happen in the master bedroom, because in her mind the master bedroom is safe from everything.

Once she's been lulled into blissful unconsciousness either me or my husband will move her to her room. Typically this goes off without a hitch. But every once in a great while she wakes up and totally freaks out, because she realizes she was tricked. By her own parents, no less. She feels betrayed. She doesn't believe us when we swear that we won't move her again (because we will and she knows it). And so, because of her her general mistrust, her fear of everything, not to mention all the sobbing, she is awake for another couple of hours, at least. The whole situation is very dramatic and it totally sucks.

How does this relate to My Sister's Keeper? It doesn't--not exactly but I do have a point. Let me explain. I spent years avoiding Jody Picoult's books like the plague. They frightened me. I don't know why. Perhaps it's the fact that every woman over thirty can't stop raving about Jody Picoult books, which means they're probably not my 'cuppa tea'. It may even have something to do with the fact that the woman has the ability to crank these insanely thick books out like she's some sort of writing machine from hell. I don't know, it just doesn't seem natural. Besides, no author is capable of writing so fast. At least, no good author can do such a thing, amirite?

But finally, after being assured that Jody is actually quite talented, that her books are intriguing and worthwhile, I relented and picked up Nineteen Minutes. And you know what? It wasn't horrible. Actually, I kind of liked it. Alright, I admit it--I liked it a lot. It wasn't the best book ever, but it was the sort of book that makes you think, stays with you after you're finished reading it. *shrugs* I happen to like that sort of thing.

So I immediately picked up My Sister's Keeper. And I liked it too. In fact, I was only half way through the book when I was positive I'd be giving it four stars. Sure the sub-plot about the lawyer and the child advocate falling in love was incredibly stupid, but could I blame Jody for throwing it in? No. I'm sure her target audience expects that sort of thing to be in every book they ever read. So I was willing to forgive it. I even forgave all the cheesy cliches.

Because sometimes I'm able to ignore stupid subplots, ridiculous cliches, irritating characters (and by irritating I mean 'so monstrous they deserve to die a horribly drawn-out and painful death'. Yes, I'm talking about the mother in this book), formulaic--that's a word, right?--writing and even the lack of good editing when a story has peaked my interest. It happened when I was reading Twilight and it happened while I was reading this book.

Besides, I'd already come to the conclusion that I'd like this book because I liked Nineteen Minutes. I even had visions of myself adding Jodi Picoult to my list of favorite authors, adding the whole of Jodi Picoult's published works to my TBR list, happily reading said books on the beach over summer break--it was going to be so awesome!

But then, when I was nearly finished with this book, Jodi Picoult went and ruined everything. EVERYTHING! I don't even have the desire to finish this book. I feel manipulated, betrayed, lied to, cheated, and totally violated! I also feel incredibly stupid for thinking that Jodi Picoult was a good writer. Because she's not. She totally sucks and I hate her.

So. Even though I've wasted hours of my life reading, and thinking about, Jodi Picoult novels, it hasn't been all bad. I've learned two things from this whole experience. First, I should trust my initial instincts when it comes to books. Second, I'm an a-hole for lying to my kid. It's no wonder she doesn't trust me, and she'll probably need years of therapy because of it. I wouldn't blame her if she threw me in a really bad nursing home someday.

I gave this book two stars because it isn't horrible until the end. That's when Picoult whips out the most manipulative, unnecessary twist, and thus ruins the whole experience.

Now let us never speak of this again.
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Reading Progress

June 5, 2009 – Shelved
June 1, 2010 – Started Reading
Finished Reading
June 3, 2010 – Shelved as: disappointing
June 3, 2010 – Shelved as: chick-lit
June 3, 2010 – Shelved as: reviewed-books
September 16, 2010 – Shelved as: wish-i-could-unread

Comments (showing 1-16 of 16) (16 new)

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message 1: by Annalisa (last edited Jun 03, 2010 12:08PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Annalisa As always, a very entertaining review. I read Nineteen Minutes first too and liked it, so I thought I could handle another Jodi Picoult, but no. You've read one, you've read them all. You can't write a book in five weeks and be a good writer. Your books come out as formulaic (a word that describes her precisely) and carbon copies of your research instead of living, breathing stories. I won't read any of her books again.

Wicked Incognito Now Love your review. I hate to be manipulated as well.

message 3: by Kat Kennedy (new)

Kat Kennedy Penny, this review was gold! I LOVE IT! You're such an amusing reviewer, seriously! Have never read a JP book but now I doubt I ever will.

message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

great review. i totally agree with your general comments regarding JP's books, AND with your outrage on the ending of this one, even though i only know about it from reading the wikipedia article.

Moira Russell I am another one of those people who read Nineteen Minutes and thought it was passably okay, altho I think I'd also read The Pact before that, which I think is better. I read this book standing in a drugstore waiting for precriptions (in installments) and OMGUGH, what a travesty.

Lisa Vegan I loathed the end for a very long time, then I changed my mind. I'm okay with it now, and I loved the book. I'm embarrassed to admit I loved a Jodi Picoult book, but I did.

FYI: The movie changed the end, most will think for the better; it's certainly more realistic.

Moira Russell Ryan wrote: "so many reviewers say that JP uses the same formula in all of them - socially unacceptable act followed by courtroom scenes"


It's kind of like really soft-focus Law & Order episodes.

message 8: by Tatiana (new)

Tatiana I am totally discouraged from picking up JP books, as well as Nicholas Sparks' and Nora Roberts'. I just don't think emotionally manipulative melodrama is my cup of tea.

Great review.

Annalisa Moira,
Do you think you liked The Pact better because you read it first? I wonder if the formula works okay for your first Picoult book, but thereafter you get annoyed that she's playing with the same formula.

Don't do it! Don't give in to the pressure. Stay away from JP, NS, and NR (having said that, I've only read JP and one of those for book club).

message 10: by Moira (new) - rated it 1 star

Moira Russell Annalisa wrote: "Do you think you liked The Pact better because you read it first?"

That is QUITE possible.

Stephanie Thank you.

Caroline Two thumbs up for your review!

message 13: by Sara (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sara I agree. Though I enjoyed My Sister's Keeper, the ending (figuratively) ripped out my soul and stomped on it. My heart sank down to my toes. And I was quite frankly extremely ticked off.

message 14: by Becky (new) - rated it 1 star

Becky Bullock I made a big mistake (or possibly a lucky escape) because this was my first Piccoult and believe you me it will be the last. That ending is pure shock tactics and wholly unnecessary, I cried for about half an hour. Just awful.

message 15: by Bibi (new)

Bibi OMG. Your review is priceless. And hilarious. Never read a JP book and now I’m certain I never will.

Erica Love this! I hate JP now, and this is the first of the five books of hers that I have bought thinking I'd like her (saw this movie before the book). I wanted to burn this book, I don't even want to donate it and have some poor soul feel the emotional manipulation I felt.

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