Review: My Sister's Keeper

My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult
◆ Read July 2014
◆ English Edition
◆ 
❝ Anna is not sick, but she might as well be. By age thirteen, she has undergone countless surgeries, transfusions, and shots so that her older sister, Kate, can somehow fight the leukemia that has plagued her since childhood. The product of preimplantation genetic diagnosis, Anna was conceived as a bone marrow match for Kate -- a life and a role that she has never challenged...until now. Like most teenagers, Anna is beginning to question who she truly is. But unlike most teenagers, she has always been defined in terms of her sister -- and so Anna makes a decision that for most would be unthinkable, a decision that will tear her family apart and have perhaps fatal consequences for the sister she loves.
My Sister's Keeper mainly interested me because of the difficult moral dilemma it portrays. Kate Fitzgerald is a teenage girl who has struggled her entire life with leukemia. Her sister, Anna Fitzgerald, was initially conceived to donate blood from her umbilical cord in order for Kate to live. However, Kate falls into relapse and over the course of the years Anna donates blood and bone marrow, up until the point where she is asked to donate a kidney to her sister. Anna then sues her parents and requests medical emancipation so that she can decide herself whether she wants to donate or not. The moral dilemma in this is whether Anna, who loves her sister dearly, feels like she should donate because it is her 'duty', but doesn't really want to because it could endanger her own live, and because she feels like her family only cares about the wellbeing of her sister. The parents of the Fitzgerald girls are also in a dilemma, because every decision they make is solely for Kate's wellbeing, and much less for their two other children Anna and Jesse. 

What I loved about the entire plot is that it presents the reader with the dilemma I mentioned above. It's something that makes you think because there isn't necessarily a 'right answer' and throughout the novel I was wondering how a problem like that would be settled in court. Furthermore, in an age where technology is so advanced and children are probably born every day to save family members from diseases, this topic is very relevan and realistic. 

Another thing I really liked was that the novel was told from a lot of different perspectives: both of the sisters, the brother, both of the parents, the lawyer and the ad litem guardian. I believe this was a good decision from the author because it presents you the problem in all of its aspects, from different point of views. That way, you as the reader can decide for yourself what you think of the situation and who you agree with. 

However, do not even get me started on Picoult's writing, because honestly, she isn't that good. The quality of the writing was average at best. Furthermore, in one chapter the setting and time jump from one thing to something completely different and back in the cours of two paragraphs. I simply could not keep track of when and where a particular scene took place and I often had to reread paragraphs to make sense of it. Not only that, but the novel is filled with cliché metaphors and similes that had me rolling my eyes. Metaphor's about fires, stars etc were ever present and I could have done without them to be honest. 

Last but not last, what could have been a four star review was ruined by that extremely, horribly, bad ending. It was a really cheap way of getting out of answering the final questions and it made the entire book feel pointless. Because what's the use in making your character sue for medical empancipation, if you're just going to do that with said character in the end? Don't start a novel with a dilemma like that if you're not going to give some sort of answer in the end. 

All in all, I liked the subject and the story in itself, but disliked the writing and loathed the ending. Outweighing the good against the bad, I'm giving this book three stars.. I certainly wouldn't recommend it to anyone because of the ending, but it is definitely a good read to make people a little bit more self-aware about their own lives. 

4 stars because:
✓ Interesting and realistic topic
✓ Emotionally engaging
✓ Different perspectives
✗ Inconsistent flow
✗Too many cliché's in the writing
✗Extremely dissapointing ending
 

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