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Does not Live Up to Its Interesting Premise
on June 2, 2004
"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.