My Sister's Keeper, Book Review

In the past 5 days, I have travelled over 935 miles as a passenger in a car or truck. Needless to say, during those miles, I have eaten a ton of junk food, mostly Joe-Joe’s (Trader’s Joe’s version of Oreo’s) and chips. I also read an entire book, which is a big deal for me, seeing as how I am a very slow reader! I read, My Sister’s Keeper: A Novel, written by Jodi Picoult. This novel has also been made into a feature-length film starring Cameron Diaz and Abigail Breslin. I hadn’t heard of this book/movie until a friend of mine lent me the book.

I thought Picoult did an excellent job of telling the story of a couple whose 2 year old daughter, Kate, was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia and their fight to help her live. As neither they, nor their oldest child, Jesse, are matches for Kate, they end up consulting with a geneticist and “designing” a baby that will be the perfect bone marrow match for Kate. The newest baby, Anna, ends up donating parts of herself and organs to help Kate live longer. Each time Anna undergoes donation to her sister, she is not asked if it is what she wants to do. Instead, her parents ask, “don’t you want to help Kate live?” I thought this was a completely unfair question to ask a 5 year old.

When she’s 13 years old, Anna decides she doesn’t want to donate anymore and hires a lawyer. Her parents are served paperwork for a lawsuit regarding Anna’s medical emancipation. The book is the story of the parents, the lawyer, the guardian ad litem (GAL), Jesse, and Anna’s perspectives on the lawsuit and experiences with Kate’s disease. The question of medical ethics and morals are discussed in great length throughout the story.

Although the ending is not how I thought it would turn out, I still think this book was a very interesting read. I enjoyed the way Picoult discussed the preimplantation genetic diagnosis, a controversial medical advancement. It is in the source of debate similarly to stem-cell research. The question I continued to think about as the story unfolded was what would I do in the situation as the parent, the sister, and even the judge? My answer: I do not know!

Have you read this book or anything by Picoult? What were your thoughts?