50 books to read before you die discussion

My Sister's Keeper
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Buck (spectru) My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult was voted to be our group read for May 2018 from our list of 100 Books They Didn't Tell Us About.


message 2: by Buck (last edited May 22, 2018 11:00AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Buck (spectru) I thought I had this one on hold at the library. Turns out I didn't. Oops. Now it is on hold, but I may not get it before the monthly read is over. I wonder if anybody else is reading this one?

I've never read Jodi Picoult before, but I know she's a popular author.


Lisa (lisadannatt) | 743 comments I’ve read it several times. Recently in April. One of my all time faves.

Happy to discuss when you’ve read it Buck


Buck (spectru) I started the audio version this morning - only a couple of month's late. Nearly a third of the way along.

The story is told by different narrators: Anna, whom I presume is the protagonist; Sara, her mother; Brian, her father; Jesse, her older brother; Campbell, her attorney; and Julia, her guardian ad litem. I expect there may be others as well. We haven't heard yet from Kate, Anna's older sister. Perhaps we will not. Kate is the crux of the story. So far, I'm fully engrossed and wondering where we are going.

My Sister's Keeper is older than I had thought. It was published in 2004. I think I remember it being on the best sellers list. I'm pretty sure Jodi Picoult is a regular on the best seller list. Hearing an audio book has some advantages. Now I know that her name is pronounced "Peeko".


Lisa (lisadannatt) | 743 comments I’m glad you’re engrossed. It’s brilliant.

This was my first Picoult. I read it in 2005. In one day.

Picoult often uses multiple view points to tell her stories. She’s a best seller lists regular and usually chooses topical themes. This year’s theme is reproductive rights in A Spark if Light which releases in October.

In 2015 Picoult visited SA to promote Leaving Time, a book that features elephants. I got to meet her at a book signing. It was amazing.

What do you think of the absence of Kate’s narrative?

There was a movie a few years ago. It wasn’t very good. Picture Cameron Dias as Sarah...

Enjoy the book.


Buck (spectru) Hi Lisa.

I think of Cameron Dias as a comedic actress. I'm not expecting My Sister's Keeper to become a comedy.

Without Kate, there would be no book, but, so far at least, Kate is the character we know the least. So, we don't hear from Kate? I'm not surprised by that; kind of expected we might not.

As I said, I'm not quite one-third of the way into this book. I won't finish it in one day. It might take a week. There is one thing I find fascinating and I expect that surely it will develop into a subplot: (view spoiler)


Lisa (lisadannatt) | 743 comments Cameron Dias didn’t work. And there were other changes.

Enjoy the book. Let’s chat when you’re done.


Buck (spectru) OK. I'm about 3/4 along. The hearing.

Aside from Jesse, there is a running subplot. I wonder if it really matters.

I sometimes lose track of who is telling. I think I would have preferred a conventional third person narration.


Lisa (lisadannatt) | 743 comments Wow! You must be engrossed.

The hearing is fantastic. There’s a couple of sub plot’s.

I love the multiple view points. Are they read by different narrators?


message 10: by Buck (new) - rated it 4 stars

Buck (spectru) Yes. Each character has a different reader. There are seven narrators listed, but now I can only think of six narrating characters. Who am I leaving out? Maybe Kate does get a chance to have her say after all.


message 11: by Buck (new) - rated it 4 stars

Buck (spectru) SPOILER ALERT

I finished My Sister's Keeper this morning.

This thread is not about book the group is currently reading and although it was voted in as our monthly read for May, none of our members chose to read the book, or if they had read it, they chose not to participate in this discussion, so from this point on I'm not going to hide SPOILERS.

There are liable to be SPOILERS in the topics that follow


message 12: by Buck (last edited Jul 04, 2018 08:04AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Buck (spectru) Buck wrote: "Yes. Each character has a different reader. There are seven narrators listed, but now I can only think of six narrating characters. Who am I leaving out? Maybe Kate does get a chance to have her say after all..."

Kate does finally make her narration debut, in the epilogue.

Hey, group members: Read the book to find out if Kate survived or had her say on her deathbed.


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

Buck (spectru) My spouse found a 1991 article in the Chicago Tribune about the family on whom she believes My Sister's Keeper is based. The name of the article is Is It Right to Give Birth to One Child to Save Another?
http://articles.chicagotribune.com/19...


message 14: by Buck (last edited Jul 04, 2018 11:58AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Buck (spectru) Whenever Campbell and his dog, Judge, tried to go into a place they were challenged. “Hey, you can't bring that dog in here.” “He's a service dog.” “You're not blind.” And then Campbell would give some improbable explanation for the service that Judge provided. “I'm color blind and he lets me know when the traffic light says it's safe to cross the street.” It was always different and it always worked.

I knew that there had to be a connection between whatever Campbell's need for a service dog was, and his 15-years-ago separation from Julia. And so finally, at the climax of the book, Campbell ignores Judge's warnings and has a grand mal epileptic seizure in the courtroom. And so his malady is revealed and his and Julia's love is reaffirmed. In real life, I don't think the judge, (the man, not the dog) would have let Judge (the dog) into the courtroom in the first place without a bona fide explanation about Campbell's need for a service dog.

So, obviously, it was done for dramatic effect in a work of fiction. And it was the crux of the subplot about Campbell and Julia. But still, for me, it hurt the book because I just don't think it could happen in real life.


message 15: by Buck (new) - rated it 4 stars

Buck (spectru) One of the subplots in this book was about Jesse, Kate's and Anna's older brother. He suffered from Anna being the center of attention. He felt left out, ignored, so he did things; things that bad teens do, but perhaps taken to the next level. When Brian, Jesse's father and captain of the fire department, found a cigarette butt at the scene of an arson, he realized it was his son's doing. He hid the evidence and confronted Jesse about it.

In the epilogue we learn that Jesse joined the police academy and won awards.

At the end of the hearing, the judge said, “Morals are more important than ethics.”

Brian hid evidence that might have incriminated his son. He saved his son from being charged with a crime. Jesse turned out okay. But this is fiction and that certainly was not a forgone conclusion. It certainly was unethical for the fire captain to conceal evidence at a crime scene. Was it moral? From a father's point of view, how could he have left it and risk his son ending up in jail? He probably committed a crime to save his son. But what if his son did not reform and later started a fire that killed somebody? Would Brian's moral decision have been the right one? Should he conceal the evidence if there had been a death.

I don't necessarily agree with the judge that morals are more important than ethics. But it's not an easy question.


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