My Sister’s Keeper

Posted on: 28 May, 08

One of the best books I have read in a long time. 

Three year old Kate is diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of leukemia.  Neither the parents nor her older brother are matches for a bone marrow transplant.  A doctor suggests that a future sibling might be a match.  Embryos are created then screened to find a perfect match. 

Enter Anna.  Stem cells are harvested, painlessly, from Anna’s umbilical cord.  The parents are thrilled to have another child and a successful treatment for Kate.  Life is good until the cancer resurfaces.  To save Kate’s life this time, Anna must have a blood draw from her arm.  Just a little stick, right?  Not to a preschooler.  The parents are sympathetic to Anna’s anxiety, but it pales in comparison to what Kate is facing.  The blood draws become more frequent.  At one point, Anna must receive injections to prepare her body for additional blood donations. 

For their whole childhood, the family rhythm is dominated by Kate’s illness.  Anna cannot go to camp because Kate will need her blood cells over the summer.  The older brother falls into a self destructive pattern.  He is a failure because he was not “good enough” to save his sister all those years ago.  Anna alternates between resenting her sister’s illness and fearing the loss of her sister. 

Kate’s cancer ravages her body.  She needs a kidney transplant.  Everyone assumes Anna will donate a kidney, until Anna sues her parents.  She appeals to the courts for “medical emancipation.”   She wants the right to decide what medical procedures she must endure, even though she is minor.  Do her parents have the right to take her kidney and give it to Kate? 

The story gets very complicated because the issues are so complicated.  Picoult does an amazing job of presenting all sides of the issue.  No one is a hero or a villain.  Do you risk one child’s life to save another’s?  How do you choose?  How much should one child give up for another?  Is Anna selfish for not wanting to donate a kidney?  Picoult’s characters are wonderfully complex.  Just when you think you know them, a new layer is revealed.  Just when you think you know how the story will end, the plot takes an unexpected turn.  Grab a box of tissues. You will need them. 


5 Responses to "My Sister’s Keeper"

I agree this one was really a page turner. I couldn’t put it down I just had to know what was going to happen with Anna.

Nique @ Sneak Review

I read this book recently also, in fact read all the softcovers this author has out at the moment. This (My Sister’s Keeper) book though had the biggest surprise ending I have read in a long time. Totally unexpected – at least for me.
The highschool (something Minutes) one was good as well as was the Salem one. Sorry, but I’m bad with titles.
I have been doing so much reading this past year, and I have worn out my card for the used book store. The trouble is that I like to own my books, but I have to purge again before acquiring more. I’ve tried the library, but I feel strange not owning a book and reading it. Weird I know, but it’s something I know a lot of people feel the same about.

I balled my eyes out over this book. It’s fantastic.

I keep seeing this title and not knowing what it is about. Now that I know, I want to go to the library and check it out! Thanks!

As a kidney transplant recipient, I am always looking for books dealing with this topic. It sounds like a truly emotional and thought provoking book. Thank you for sharing!

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