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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What Lengths Should a Family Go to Save a Life?
Anna was conceived as a bone marrow donor for her sister Kate. Originally it was just going to be taken from the placenta but when that didn't hold, Anna ended up being a long-term donor for Kate. By the age of 13, Anna had undergone several surgeries and transfusions. Now she is expected to donate a kidney to her sister. Now she will draw a line in the sand. She...
Published on Nov. 12 2008 by Teddy

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Does not Live Up to Its Interesting Premise
"My Sister's Keeper" is the first novel I have read by Jodi Picoult, and it could very well be the last. The premise of the novel is so interesting: a younger sibling is genetically "designed" so that she will be an acceptable donor to her older sister, who is very ill. As the girls age, there are medical, legal and emotional choices and consequences...
Published on June 2 2004


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What Lengths Should a Family Go to Save a Life?, Nov. 12 2008
By 
Teddy (Richmond, BC) - See all my reviews
Anna was conceived as a bone marrow donor for her sister Kate. Originally it was just going to be taken from the placenta but when that didn't hold, Anna ended up being a long-term donor for Kate. By the age of 13, Anna had undergone several surgeries and transfusions. Now she is expected to donate a kidney to her sister. Now she will draw a line in the sand. She will fight this.

What length should parents and siblings' go to save a family member's life? What is ethical, moral, and legal? What is right for the person who has the disease? Picoult does not give us the answers but leads us through the journey of what one family, lawyers, and the courts go through. In the end, we must decide.

I like how the narrative of the story switches from character to character so that we can get inside what each person is thinking and feeling. Picoult also throws in a few twists and turns to keep the story and plot going.

Several people have recommended this book to me. I must admit I hesitated, blowing it off as "chick lit". Boy was I wrong. This story is not superficial fluff; it deals with deep ethical issues and is well written.

This is the first Jodi Picoult book I have read, but it is certainly not the last. I highly recommend My Sister's Keeper!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Does not Live Up to Its Interesting Premise, June 2 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: My Sister's Keeper: A Novel (Hardcover)
"My Sister's Keeper" is the first novel I have read by Jodi Picoult, and it could very well be the last. The premise of the novel is so interesting: a younger sibling is genetically "designed" so that she will be an acceptable donor to her older sister, who is very ill. As the girls age, there are medical, legal and emotional choices and consequences for the whole family. The story is told from the perspective of each character in the story, which is also an interesting and insightful way to deal with the subject matter.
However, in spite of its promise in both subject matter and form, the novel does not deliver a pleasurable read or a satisfactory ending. At several points while I was reading, I thought: "Is this a soap, or this literature?" I felt like the book, which has lofty quotations which run the gamut from D.H. Lawrence to Shakespeare, has too many aspirations. The author does not let it be enough of a straight-up tug at your heartstrings family drama, and tries to endow it with more seriousness than the writing is really capable of pulling off. And the ending was just not appropriate: the reader is anticipating an ending that deals with the ethical consequences of the character's actions, and the author robs the reader of that experience. I couldn't recommend the novel on that basis alone.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good book, too sudden ending!, April 18 2006
By A Customer
I have just finish reading this book and I have to admit that I don't regret my purchase. However, people thinking of getting this book should be aware that the ending spoils the 'greatnest' of the story. It is too abrupt, too sudden and you're left wondering if the author had a deadline and didn't know what to do so lets just say she puts a stop to the debate about the organ donation pretty quickly.
One other minor thing that bugged me : Anna's going back and forth to her mother. (You'll understand!)
Even though some parts of the book were frustrating, if you read most people's comments they couldn't put the book down so in MY book, it means it is worth the time spent reading it.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An important book, Aug. 15 2006
This is a novel pulled right from today's headlines, one filled with ethical conundrums and ambiguities. Medical advances that put us in the position of playing God (but without the infinite wisdom) have no easy right/wrong answers, as Picoult makes abundantly clear in her captivating book. Picoult's characters are as real as your friends and neighbors, good people at heart caught up in troubling issues that are only going to grow more vexing as medical advances continue to outstrip our courts and our ability to come to terms with all the moral implications. Unsettling yet fascinating, My Sister's Keeper is a must-read. It would have received five stars if it weren't for the ending, which could have been much more definitive and less of a convenient, simple way out of a problematic situation. Still, My Sister's Keeper wins a solid recommendation. There's another thoughtful good book, An Audience for Einstein, that explores the ethics of advanced medical science in a somewhat gentler way.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great narrative, but disappointing ending, June 24 2004
By 
mynameiskate (Vancouver, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: My Sister's Keeper: A Novel (Hardcover)
This is the first novel of Picoult's that I have read. When reading the description of the plot (a minor who sues for medical control over her own body after 13 years of being used for blood and marrow donations to her sister who has leukemia), I was immediately taken in. An added bonus, when I got the book, was discovering Picoult's narrative structure -- chapters are written from the point of view from different characters.
Picoult does an excellent job at character development. I found that I was able to understand each character's motivations and was drawn to each of them as individuals. And it is obvious that she does her homework in regards to both the complex legal and medical issues.
I was, however, very disappointed in the ending. After spending some 200-odd pages taking the rollercoaster ride of emotions with each character as well sorting through my own feelings about truth and morality, I reached the culmination of the trial. Her handling of the trial is emotionally rich, even if several of the issues that are raised are only done so cursorily. Regardless, the verdict is given that is fair and appropriate. I was excited to see what would happen *after* the verdict.
Instead, however, of attempting to implement the verdict in a "real-life" setting, Picoult ends the book with a plot device that indicates to me that she had run out of creative energy. It enabled all the characters to have their stories all neatly tied up. Very much a "happily ever after" ending which does a large disservice to the bulk of the book where Picoult spends extensive time laying out the issues.
I have recommended this book to my friends, but with the very large caveat as above. So much more could have been done with this book and the issues it raises -- I was disappointed in the cliche ending.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 70% good, 30% daytime tv, June 21 2004
By 
This review is from: My Sister's Keeper: A Novel (Hardcover)
The story was incredible most of the time, but there were a few parts i mostly skipped over because they read like daytime television. The relationship between the sisters was good, but i felt that the parents were too 2-D. i didnt mind the flashbacks, but i felt that the older brother's little drama could have mostly been left out of the story. Same with the lawyers. I felt that they should have just filled their roles and allowed the sisters to take the center stage the rest of the time because their drama had, really, nothing to do with the important issues of the story.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars well written book that raises some moral issues., June 19 2006
By 
Ms. H. Sinton "dragondrums" (Ingleby Barwick. U.K.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: My Sister's Keeper (Paperback)
Anna, a 13 year old, had been an IVF baby specifically created to be a genetic match for her older sister Kate who was dying from leukaemia. Throughout her short life she has undergone painful procedures in order to donate various parts of her to her sibling. No one ever asked Anna what she felt about this or questioned her willingness to be a donor. When Kate goes into renal failure it is assumed that Anna will donate a kidney to her. It is at this point Anna approaches an attorney and asks him to represent her, in a case against her parents, for the rights to her own body.

The book doesn't merely narrate Anna's story but also gives the views of Kate, Sara and Brian (her parents), Jesse, (her delinquent brother), her lawyer Cameron and Julia, the court appointed guardian. Sara wants to keep Kate alive no matter the cost, Brian wants everyone to be happy, Jesse feels neglected and left out, an `after thought'. What quickly becomes clear is that there is no black or white, just shades of grey, no easy answers and an awful moral and ethical dilemma. Is it right to use a child to save another? Is it morally right to create `designer babies' and who should make those decisions? Is a 13 year old mature enough to decide whether she wants to be a donor? Are parent's rights over their child absolute? Jodi Picoult has handled these issues sensitively and has managed to produce a thoughtful, moving story that will have the reader gripped from start to finish. This is one of those books that you cannot put down, a real page turner and one I would recommend highly.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Worth Your Time, June 27 2005
By 
What is my purpose in life? Often we ask ourselves this sort of question. Who am I? Why am I here? What do I give back? In many ways our answers to these questions shape our identities. These are the type of questions that Jodi Picoult poses in her recent novel My Sister's Keeper.
I am a big fan of Picoult's novels. I just finished reading her newest, My Sister's Keeper, and while it's not my favorite of her works (that honor goes to her last book Second Glance) I thoroughly enjoyed it and highly recommend it. It's not a book that will thrill readers with great action and adventure, steamy love scenes, or epic histories; but it is a quiet, gentle novel that will pose questions, invite introspection, and explore the concepts of identity, responsibility, and love.
Thirteen year old Anna Fitzgerald doesn't ask herself what her purpose is in life. She has always known. Anna Fitzgerald was genetically engineered to be a perfect donor match for her sister Kate who suffers from a rare form of leukemia. After her birth, Anna's stem cells were used to help save Kate, then two years old. The procedure was painless and effective. Kate went into remission, and Brian and Sara Fitzgerald were blessed with three healthy kids; Jesse, Kate and Anna.
Several years later, though, Kate's leukemia returned, and Anna donated blood, plasma and bone marrow to help keep Kate healthy. These procedures were more invasive and painful to Anna, but they did help to ebb the tide of Kate's disease. Now, at age thirteen, Anna is again being asked to again donate for her sister. All of Kate's treatments have damaged her kidneys, and without a transplant, Kate will die of kidney failure. Anna, being the perfect donor match is asked to provide her sister with one of her healthy kidneys. This procedure will be invasive and painful. If successful, both girls will have one healthy kidney, and Kate will have the chance to regain her health, but there are no guarantees.
With the aid of Attorney Campbell Alexander, Anna sues her parents for medical emancipation and for the right to choose for herself what procedures she will undergo. If she does not donate her kidney, Kate will probably die. If she does donate, Anna herself will undergo painful surgery and subject herself to possible future health worries. What thirteen year old child can make such a decision?
Julia Romano is appointed by the court as Anna's guardian ad litem. It is her job to speak with the family members and determine if Anna is able to make these decisions for herself. What ensues is a heart wrenching exploration of one family's struggle to make the "right" decisions in a situation that offers no clear cut answers.
Picoult tells her story in multiple first person narration with each chapter told from the voice of Anna, Sara, Brian, Jesse, Campbell or Julia. As a result, we as readers are able to witness each character's struggle. At times each is sympathetic; at times each seems unlikable and selfish. In the end, we are struck by the deep tragedy that the Fitzgerald family faces, and are left to draw our own conclusions about what is "right" and what is "wrong". Picoult does a wonderful job of highlighting the moral and emotional dilemmas of each character, but stops short of making any judgments each character's actions or any determination about what the "right" course of action should be.
I won't share any more of the events in this novel, or how things end up for the Fitzgerald family. What the reader takes away from the novel is not so much the outcome for the Fitzgerald's, but the thought process that the reader goes through and what he/she learns about him/herself and about our relationship as individuals with our family, friends and society.
Praise to Jodi Picoult for writing such a sensitive novel about such an emotional topic.

She forces us to address difficult questions and has the grace to allow us to formulate our own answers. My Sister's Keeper is a book that should be read and discussed by all. Try it for yourself! Pick up a copy! Another book I need to recommend -- completely unrelated to Picoult, but very much on my mind since I purchased a "used" copy off Amazon is "The Losers' Club: Complete Restored Edition" by Richard Perez, an engaging, highly entertaining little novel I can't stop thinking about.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Worth Your Time, June 19 2005
By 
What is my purpose in life? Often we ask ourselves this sort of question. Who am I? Why am I here? What do I give back? In many ways our answers to these questions shape our identities. These are the type of questions that Jodi Picoult poses in her recent novel My Sister's Keeper.
I am a big fan of Picoult's novels. I just finished reading her newest, My Sister's Keeper, and while it's not my favorite of her works (that honor goes to her last book Second Glance) I thoroughly enjoyed it and highly recommend it. It's not a book that will thrill readers with great action and adventure, steamy love scenes, or epic histories; but it is a quiet, gentle novel that will pose questions, invite introspection, and explore the concepts of identity, responsibility, and love.
Thirteen year old Anna Fitzgerald doesn't ask herself what her purpose is in life. She has always known. Anna Fitzgerald was genetically engineered to be a perfect donor match for her sister Kate who suffers from a rare form of leukemia. After her birth, Anna's stem cells were used to help save Kate, then two years old. The procedure was painless and effective. Kate went into remission, and Brian and Sara Fitzgerald were blessed with three healthy kids; Jesse, Kate and Anna.
Several years later, though, Kate's leukemia returned, and Anna donated blood, plasma and bone marrow to help keep Kate healthy. These procedures were more invasive and painful to Anna, but they did help to ebb the tide of Kate's disease. Now, at age thirteen, Anna is again being asked to again donate for her sister. All of Kate's treatments have damaged her kidneys, and without a transplant, Kate will die of kidney failure. Anna, being the perfect donor match is asked to provide her sister with one of her healthy kidneys. This procedure will be invasive and painful. If successful, both girls will have one healthy kidney, and Kate will have the chance to regain her health, but there are no guarantees.
With the aid of Attorney Campbell Alexander, Anna sues her parents for medical emancipation and for the right to choose for herself what procedures she will undergo. If she does not donate her kidney, Kate will probably die. If she does donate, Anna herself will undergo painful surgery and subject herself to possible future health worries. What thirteen year old child can make such a decision?
Julia Romano is appointed by the court as Anna's guardian ad litem. It is her job to speak with the family members and determine if Anna is able to make these decisions for herself. What ensues is a heart wrenching exploration of one family's struggle to make the "right" decisions in a situation that offers no clear cut answers.
Picoult tells her story in multiple first person narration with each chapter told from the voice of Anna, Sara, Brian, Jesse, Campbell or Julia. As a result, we as readers are able to witness each character's struggle. At times each is sympathetic; at times each seems unlikable and selfish. In the end, we are struck by the deep tragedy that the Fitzgerald family faces, and are left to draw our own conclusions about what is "right" and what is "wrong". Picoult does a wonderful job of highlighting the moral and emotional dilemmas of each character, but stops short of making any judgments each character's actions or any determination about what the "right" course of action should be.
I won't share any more of the events in this novel, or how things end up for the Fitzgerald family. What the reader takes away from the novel is not so much the outcome for the Fitzgerald's, but the thought process that the reader goes through and what he/she learns about him/herself and about our relationship as individuals with our family, friends and society.
Praise to Jodi Picoult for writing such a sensitive novel about such an emotional topic.
She forces us to address difficult questions and has the grace to allow us to formulate our own answers. My Sister's Keeper is a book that should be read and discussed by all. Try it for yourself! Pick up a copy! Another book I need to recommend -- completely unrelated to Picoult, but very much on my mind since I purchased a "used" copy off Amazon is "The Losers' Club: Complete Restored Edition" by Richard Perez, an engaging, highly entertaining little novel I can't stop thinking about.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Worth Your Time, June 14 2005
By 
What is my purpose in life? Often we ask ourselves this sort of question. Who am I? Why am I here? What do I give back? In many ways our answers to these questions shape our identities. These are the type of questions that Jodi Picoult poses in her recent novel My Sister's Keeper.
I am a big fan of Picoult's novels. I just finished reading her newest, My Sister's Keeper, and while it's not my favorite of her works (that honor goes to her last book Second Glance) I thoroughly enjoyed it and highly recommend it. It's not a book that will thrill readers with great action and adventure, steamy love scenes, or epic histories; but it is a quiet, gentle novel that will pose questions, invite introspection, and explore the concepts of identity, responsibility, and love.
Thirteen year old Anna Fitzgerald doesn't ask herself what her purpose is in life. She has always known. Anna Fitzgerald was genetically engineered to be a perfect donor match for her sister Kate who suffers from a rare form of leukemia. After her birth, Anna's stem cells were used to help save Kate, then two years old. The procedure was painless and effective. Kate went into remission, and Brian and Sara Fitzgerald were blessed with three healthy kids; Jesse, Kate and Anna.
Several years later, though, Kate's leukemia returned, and Anna donated blood, plasma and bone marrow to help keep Kate healthy. These procedures were more invasive and painful to Anna, but they did help to ebb the tide of Kate's disease. Now, at age thirteen, Anna is again being asked to again donate for her sister. All of Kate's treatments have damaged her kidneys, and without a transplant, Kate will die of kidney failure. Anna, being the perfect donor match is asked to provide her sister with one of her healthy kidneys. This procedure will be invasive and painful. If successful, both girls will have one healthy kidney, and Kate will have the chance to regain her health, but there are no guarantees.
With the aid of Attorney Campbell Alexander, Anna sues her parents for medical emancipation and for the right to choose for herself what procedures she will undergo. If she does not donate her kidney, Kate will probably die. If she does donate, Anna herself will undergo painful surgery and subject herself to possible future health worries. What thirteen year old child can make such a decision?
Julia Romano is appointed by the court as Anna's guardian ad litem. It is her job to speak with the family members and determine if Anna is able to make these decisions for herself. What ensues is a heart wrenching exploration of one family's struggle to make the "right" decisions in a situation that offers no clear cut answers.
Picoult tells her story in multiple first person narration with each chapter told from the voice of Anna, Sara, Brian, Jesse, Campbell or Julia. As a result, we as readers are able to witness each character's struggle. At times each is sympathetic; at times each seems unlikable and selfish. In the end, we are struck by the deep tragedy that the Fitzgerald family faces, and are left to draw our own conclusions about what is "right" and what is "wrong". Picoult does a wonderful job of highlighting the moral and emotional dilemmas of each character, but stops short of making any judgments each character's actions or any determination about what the "right" course of action should be.
I won't share any more of the events in this novel, or how things end up for the Fitzgerald family. What the reader takes away from the novel is not so much the outcome for the Fitzgerald's, but the thought process that the reader goes through and what he/she learns about him/herself and about our relationship as individuals with our family, friends and society.
Praise to Jodi Picoult for writing such a sensitive novel about such an emotional topic.
She forces us to address difficult questions and has the grace to allow us to formulate our own answers. My Sister's Keeper is a book that should be read and discussed by all. Try it for yourself! Pick up a copy! Another book I need to recommend -- completely unrelated to Picoult, but very much on my mind since I purchased a "used" copy off Amazon is "The Losers' Club: Complete Restored Edition" by Richard Perez, an engaging, highly entertaining little novel I can't stop thinking about.
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My Sister's Keeper: A Novel
My Sister's Keeper: A Novel by Jodi Picoult (Hardcover - April 6 2004)
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