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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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5 of 5 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
This review is from: My Sister's Keeper: A Novel (Paperback)
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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5 of 5 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
"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
This review is from: My Sister's Keeper: A Novel (Paperback)
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 review is from: My Sister's Keeper: A Novel (Paperback)
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
2.0 out of 5 stars Great premise, disappointing book, April 6 2010
By 
Cuddlecakes (Paris, Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
This was my book club read for this month which is why I read it. While Jodie Picoult often picks very interesting and controversial topics to explore in her books, her habit of telling her stories from multiple viewpoints has become formulatic and I find them quite cumbersome to read.

That said, once I started the book, I was pleasantly surprised. As a bioethics minor in university, I found the premise underlying the story very interesting...the moral and ethical considerations regarding voluntary and/or involuntary organ donation.

About a 1/4 of the way through the book, however, my attention started to wander for a couple of reasons.
1. With the exception of Anna, the characters were quite unsympathetic.
The mother was downright dislikeable,the father: ineffective, the brother: troubled (to say the least), the lawyer: swarmy and juvenile and the guardian ad liem: juvenile and foolish.
2. The introduction of the romantic storyline was both distracting and silly.No big surprise they turned out to have been "star-crossed lovers" who found each other again. This storyline would have worked great in a Harlequin Romance but, in a novel dealing with serious matters, the preoccupation of two pivotal characters with their failed high school romance was just ridiculous.
3. Storyline about the lawyers "condition"? Ditto
4. Much too long a book...elimination of the romantic storyline would have eliminated alot of "filler" and made the book a better read.

The novel would have still been salvageable if the author had really explored the premise set out at the beginning of the book: Anna's resistance to acting as her sisters organ donor and the moral and ethical considerations involved. Since Anna is apparently acting in only her own best interests, the questions could have been 1.is this acceptable 2. can someone be COMPELLED have invasive procedures to benefit another and 3. who has the right to make those decisions. In fact, thats what most of the book appeared to be leading up to.

Unfortunately, Picoult decides to put in a "twist" that basically changes Anna from being a character making an decision regarding her own automomy despite the negative fallout (interesting and thought-provoking), to being "heroic" for her sister at her own (Anna's) expense (boring and predictable).

The only thing that saves the book is the ending, which I quite liked. It shows how random this whole 'life" thing is. After all the angst suffered by the various characters as they wrestled with issues raised in the book, the resolution was very different than anyone could have predicted.
Haven't seen the movie but I've read the ending of the movie was changed and that Picoult was not happy about that as it changes the point of the whole book.

So, I gave it two stars 1. loved the premise, didn't feel the author followed through and 2. like Picoults writing style, but found the book diluted by too many characters/storylines.

Look forward to hearing my book clubs take on it!
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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 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 brave topic- average writing, Jan. 29 2009
This review is from: My Sister's Keeper: A Novel (Paperback)
This is the first book I have read by Jodi Picoult.It was good enough that I will read another of hers. It is fluff enough to read without much effort, but because of this I found the characters to be a bit shallow and contrived-- especially Jessie. Jodie Picoult tends to go overboard with her depiction of what she believes to be the voice of a delinquent teen. He turns out not to be believable and I feel the story did not need him. The core of the story, however, is believable and fascinating. In this day of -do anything, try anything and buy anything- the concept of a designer baby like Anna is real. I would recommend this book.
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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 
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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4.0 out of 5 stars Good book, recommended, July 18 2010
By 
MZ (Saskatchewan) - See all my reviews
This review is from: My Sister's Keeper: A Novel (Paperback)
I started reading this book not from the perspective of the mother, but from the perspective of a person with leukemia. What caught my attention at first was how the author described the everyday routines of such a patient and how the family operates around her. It is these seemingly ordinary descriptions - the hospital trips, the surgical masks, the nurses' comforting words - that really gives you a glimpse of what it's like to live like a leukemia patient. If I placed myself in Kate's shoes, I would probably have wanted to die, let alone allow Anna to give me her organs.

Being male, the book also gave me a nice portrait of the irrationality of motherhood and motherly love. Men should read it if for that reason alone. The theme around sisterhood is also quite compelling, almost reading like a psychoanalysis of what it means to have a sister.

I did not like how the author constantly stretches her metaphors to fit the plot of the book. To capture the realism of the story I find this sort of symbolism distracting to the plot line and takes away from the tenseness. It also makes it hard to follow the continuity of the story - as one moment the author describes what is going on and the next she goes into some metaphor about stars or fires. Some people might say this is a literary device but I just don't think it belongs in realist literature.

That aside, please read it. It really challenges you to place yourself in the shoes of the characters and think about the moral and legal underpinnings of the scenario it portrays.
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My Sister's Keeper: A Novel
My Sister's Keeper: A Novel by Jodi Picoult (Paperback - Feb. 1 2005)
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