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Rory Book Discussions > My Sister's Keeper - Jodi Picoult

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message 1: by Dini, the master of meaning (new)

Dini | 691 comments Mod
Sorry for the delay! The February book is Jodi Picoult's My Sister's Keeper, please discuss it here. I've heard that a lot of people liked this but a lot others hated it, so it'd be interesting to see what you all think.


message 2: by Dini, the master of meaning (new)

Dini | 691 comments Mod
Here are some discussion questions I took off the net. Be careful of possible SPOILERS!




- Reread the prologue to My Sister's Keeper. Who is speaking? Is that who you thought was speaking the first time you read it?

- My Sister's Keeper is told from many different viewpoints. Why do you think Jodi Picoult wrote it this way? How did hearing from each character change your opinions of them and of the situation?

- Do you think Sara is a good mother? Do you sympathize with her? How does her martyrdom affect the rest of the family?

- Discuss the consequences of the trial other than the ruling. In what ways does it force people to deal with issues in their relationships? Sara and Brian? Anna and her parents? Julia and Campbell?

- Why does Jesse burn things? Is Jesse the opposite of his firefighter father or are they similar? In what ways?

- Discuss the ways each family member copes with their situation. How are each of their identities affected by Kate? How does this affect Kate?

- Why did Kate ask Anna to sue for medical emancipation? Was Anna right to listen to her wishes?

- Do you think it is ethical to have a "designer baby" like Anna was?

- The epilogue talks about how the family moved on. How did they grieve? How did they survive? In what ways did Anna give life back to all of them, not just Kate?


message 3: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (Books: A true story) (booksatruestory) | 21 comments SPOILERS

I read this a while ago. I thought Sara was a little crazy and overzealous at first, but when Kate actually lives I feel like she was vindicated a little bit. What if she had given up on Kate? At the same time, I wondered if she went to far in saving one child that she sacrificed the others. I admired and hated Sara at the same time. I admired that she never gave up no matter how hard it got. I hated that she didn't feel sorry for Anna and her pain and that she neglected her son.

It bothered me that they changed the ending of the story in the movie where Kate dies and Anna lives. The twist in the book was so shocking and thought provoking that it was the best part. The movie lost that.


message 4: by Tiffany (last edited Feb 08, 2011 01:04PM) (new)

Tiffany | 59 comments The ending of the movie bothered me as well. Hollywood wanted a "happy" ending, but I felt that it compromised the integrity of the storyline and I just felt that it should have stayed true to the plot of the book. I know a lot of people were upset at the changes made.


message 5: by Casey (new)

Casey Smith (smitherscm333) | 1 comments I was very disappointed in this book. I read a review somewhere that called it a "shameless manipulation of emotions" and I have to agree. I'll add that I thought it was very poorly written. While the book is written from multiple points of view the 13 year-old girl sounds just like both of the older women, and they in turn sound just like the men. They even use the same phrases again and again, and not just within the family.

I also felt that Picoult tried to get her characters to say too many profound things. They would leave them hanging in the air. But they never really seemed particularly insightful to me.

Despite all the emotional turmoil Picoult drags you through, the only thing that I cared about at the end of the book was that the dog was ok.

One last thing, I don't understand Julia at all. She seems like a reasonable woman with a strong sense of self, who for some unknown reason clings to the wreckage of her first relationship. It's been 15 years since she and Campbell dated. I had my heart trampled in college, repeatedly, by the same guy, and 5 years later I can't remember why I hated him so much. It seems completely incongruous for her to not have moved on from Campbell after 15 years.


message 6: by Rebecca, the princess of prose (new)

Rebecca Curtis | 70 comments Mod
I was also not a fan of this book, not only did I feel like I was reading a book with forced emotions (kind of like a Nick Sparks Novel) but I also felt like the author didn't have a real story to tell but just a concept and then the story came after.

some of the story lines never get resolved and then some things the characters mention have nothing to do with the story.

I hated the way they changed the ending in the movie which for me was the most moving part of the novel, it was the defining moment of the story.

I think it is morally wrong to have a child designed as a donor for another, I think it is playing God and will just lead to turmoil and pain for the child, not to mention other family issues. But having never had a child suffer with cancer I feel like I have no right to judge the mother's emotions in that situation.

Not a favorite but I am glad I read it.


message 7: by Laura (new)

Laura Miramontes I was actually surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. I agree that some parts seemed unrealistic (Would a 13-year-old girl really use those metaphors? Did delicuent Jesse really make it through the Police Academy?), but some scenes really resonated for me.


message 8: by Lindsey (new)

Lindsey "Blue" (bbblue) I loved this book. I was seriously disappointed in the changes they made to the ending for the movie and Jesse's storyline (I actually hit the arms of the chair sat forward...). I don't know that I could have ever made the decisions this family had to make. I feel it is unfair to force another child to be the savior for your other child, but I know that it would be tough to not do everything in your power to save your children.

I loved the story being told from each characters' perspective. I think we get to know more about each person, but it makes me question just how much we can trust each character.

I like the emotion, but it is a lot to take in.


message 9: by Erin (new)

Erin | 76 comments Has anyone else read Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go? The two books have similar themes in their looks at biomedical ethics: science creates a supply of organs and medical ethics struggles to keep up with the implications for an individual's rights.

As I read My Sister's Keeper, I felt like it was warning us to consider the moral questions that will flow out of an opened Pandora's Box: Sara and Brian really hadn't thought about the impossibly wrenching questions they'd be faced with once they had the resource of Anna's body available. But then Kate's survival seemed to fly in the face of that warning and justify Sara's choices?


message 10: by Tiffany (new)

Tiffany | 59 comments I have read both of them. I really struggled through Never Let Me Go, but after I got into it, I really enjoyed it.

I agree with you that once they had Anna, there was no stopping the lengths that Sara would go to. I definitely would not want to be the one in that situation, but it was really unfair to me and I felt a deep sympathy towards Anna. I also felt some frustration towards Kate for making Anna her scapegoat in the whole lawsuit ordeal.

It did lead me through a lot of questions and what if types of ponderings.


message 11: by Christopher (new)

Christopher I found myself frustrated every time the book switched to Sara's voice, in part because the flashbacks were patently unnecessary and distracted from the core question. And then, of course, the core question was resolved with a dodge.

I started to write that if I had been writing the story, I would have ended it on an ambiguous note, with Anna pondering aloud whether, now that she's emancipated, to donate a kidney to her sister.

But now that I think on it, that wouldn't have been true to the book. Because--all the issues of medical and legal ethics aside--this book is really about chaos.

Before that dawned on me, I was ambivalent about the book. Some good parts, some bad parts. Easy read. But with the "shit happens" thesis in mind, I cannot help but feel revulsion.


message 12: by Annabel ♥ (new)

Annabel ♥ (cinnamonbliss) | 32 comments I loved My Sister's Keeper and would recommend it to everyone! I think that it was a very interesting idea for a book and that Jodi Picoult nailed the characters. I was really upset about the ending though. It actually made no sense whatsoever which made me really frustrated with the way it wasn't explained. So Kate just magically survived? Makes NO sense.


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