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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 24, 2004
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
on January 29, 2009
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
on June 21, 2004
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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on June 22, 2009
I was excited to read this book as Jodi Picoult is one of my mom's favorite authors and MY SISTER'S KEEPER is one of her favorites.

The storyline was really interesting and this book was very hard to put down. I loved all the different fonts for each characters perspective (this book was told from about six charaters first person POV).

I really liked Kate because I could relate to her. This book keeps you interested till the end when you find out why Anna filed for emancipation.

This book is another book like BECAUSE I AM FURNITURE and JANE IN BLOOM in a way because it is focused on how people close to the sufferer feel.

I didn't find that this book was too long, although it was a little slow and not alot of stuff happened. What I mean about that is that it's more about the characters feeling for the better part of the book.

The only thing I did not like was that this book, as I mentioned, it was a little slow and the ending just seemed like Picoult wanted to end with a 'bang' and also the mother. Although I had to understand where she was coming from to be fair, I did find her apathetic and selfish.

That aside, this book is still extremely interesting, making you think; and it raises some ethical questions to be discussed.

Reviewed by Callie at Handle Like Hendrix
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on July 18, 2004
Jodi Picoult has been my favorite author since I read "Plain Truth," shortly after it was first published. I've read everything she's written; she just has such a knack for gripping me around the heart and wringing it dry. Usually, however, I love the book, despite (or possibly because of) the emotional trip.
I have a way of reading her books, though--I read the first 50 pages or so to establish the plotline and the characters, and then I read the end. I do this to determine if I can read the middle. It's as though if I read the whole book, the characters become truly real. Sometimes, their pain is just too much, even though it's not happening to me and the characters are not, in fact, real. (This is a sign of a tremendous author). I couldn't read "The Pact" the whole way through for this reason.
I spent hours with "My Sister's Keeper" last night and I can't read this one either. There is just too much anguish. A rating of "3" for Jodi Picoult is light years ahead of a "3" most other authors. This book is amazing, without question. But it doesn't rate a "4" or a "5" unless I can read the whole book.
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on June 8, 2004
Jodi Picoult bravely writes a touching story about a very controversial subject matter with her new book "My Sister's Keeper". 13-year-old Anna comes to the realization that she was born with specific genetic characteristics, and has been used for them her whole life, for the sole purpose of saving her older sister's life. Now...she wants control of her own life.
I saw tremendous potential in this book, and even felt like it could have been a great story, but the problem I had was that it just never lived up to what I thought it could be. I really felt like the ending was a terrible cop-out so that the author would not have to make a decision that some of her readers wouldn't have liked. Show us the consequences of the girls having to live with their final decision! Also, did every single chapter have to end with an emotional one-liner? "Daddy can't go to hell, he'd put out all the fires there." "I'm straightening my room now in case I don't come back from the hospital." It would have been really effective if she had done it only 2 or 3 times over the course of the book. Anna is an amazing lead character, but is any 13 year old that smart and that deep as a person (quoting court cases to a lawyer to establish precedence, for example)? Further, I did not need the lawyer/child advocate love story either - rather than add depth to the story, it merely took away from the book's main theme.
I did, however, really enjoy the lawyer explaining his service dog ("Judge") in so many different ways every time he was asked about it. It provided nice and effective comic relief.
I wanted to like the novel more and really felt it could have been incredible. I was even pulling for the author to hit me with an amazing ending to put the icing on the cake. I would actually bump this book up to 3.5 stars if I could, but it just never quite made it to greatness level.
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on May 6, 2004
I liked this book a lot--I read it in 24 hours, and my mind was enraptured in Kate and Anna's story. However, there were too many characters I didn't care at all about, and some of the plot devices and skills Ms. Picoult used made me cringe.
I thought the character narratives of Campbell and Julia ridiculous--I didn't give a crap if they got together, slept together, broke up, she sobbed, they get back together...what? Who cares??
I was more interested in *why* Anna wanted to file this lawsuit. I find that a sister rejecting to help her sister out as a doner intriguing--mainly because if my sister needed anything, I would give it to her in a heartbeat.
Anna's intent is explained at the end, but even then the readers aren't given enough to chew on. The pacing is good, the suspense is good, the emotion is realistic and the ending blew me away, but I felt this novel could have been fine tuned, polished and given a bit more guts. I read somewhere Jodi Picoult writes two novels a year, maybe this is why at times it felt rushed and contrived.
Good--but definately not, as Jodi Picoult so 'modestly' titled this book, 'this year's Sophie's Choice" (As written on her website)
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on April 25, 2004
"My Sister's Keeper" does raise questions in my mind, just like the it promises. They may not be the questions the author wanted you to ask.
Anna is a thirteen year old girl who has healthy but has to donate her body to Kate, her sister, who has a rare form of leukemia. Anna was conceived only to help her older sister survive. When she is pushed to far, Anna fights back for the right to make her own choices abour her body.
Her brother, Jesse has also had enough with his parents choices. He chooses to act out by setting fires, which ironically, his father (Brian) has to put out.
Their father, Brian, is pushed into a hard position. He loves his children and his wife, but sometimes his wife seems only to care about one person in the family, Kate. When Anna decides to sue them, he moves out with her and the family unravels more.
Sara, who in my opinion was a selfish women who only cared about Kate, no matter the consequences to her other children, was supposed to be a moving character. I thought she was unbearably horrible. The true question of the book was who would ever allow a women like that to become a parent?
The "twist" int the end felt like the author's attempt to neatly rap up the book and show that Sara really did love Anna. However it fell flat and I was left with a disappointed feeling. The one you get when a book doesn't live up to your expectations.
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on July 9, 2013
This story has a very interesting premise; a 'designer' baby created to save an older child's life. I think the most interesting thing are the various chapters with the voices of the different characters...A lot of the 'wit' and wise-cracking comments go between a lot of the characters, so I am not sure each voice was carried off well, still an interesting idea.
It was hard to put down but it was somewhat 'soap-operaish'....the ending was not very satisfying, and the mother's character not reflective at all of her relationship with her husband and youngest daughter...Perhaps it was meant to show how wrapped up a mother can get in caring for one sick child. I gave it 3 stars because of the attempt at the various voices, and it did pull at my heart strings. Still, it would have been nice to see the mother more reflective of what a sick child does to a relationship between husband and wife, and her other children.
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on June 4, 2004
I had never heard of Jodi Picoult before reading this book. The reason I picked it up was becuase I was intrigued with the premise of the story and I got into it within the first chapter. The characters were engaging and found myself wanting to know what would happen next.
Although I enjoyed the book enough to read it in one day, I felt that at times it strayed too far from the family's dynamic (i.e. the lawyer, the GAD, and their histories - who cares?)making me question where the author was going. For me the big disappointment was the ending - it just seemed too improbable and a little too pat, like she had to wrap the story up and hadn't fully thought through how she was going to do it.
However, having said that, I will still recommend this book to friends.
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