My Sister’s Keeper

Jodi Picoult is pretty high up there on the list of my favorite authors.  Despite the popularity of this particular book and that there was a movie based on it, I just finished reading My Sister’s Keeper for the first time. Picoult, yet again, does not disappoint.

The Jodi Picoult books I’ve read all deal with a court case, an ethical dilemma that stretches beyond the lawyers and jury and into the characters. In My Sister’s Keeper, Kate has leukemia and her parents, like any parents in that situation, will do anything to keep their daughter alive. Including conceiving younger daughter, Anna, who at 13 is asked to donate a kidney, after already donating stem cells, blood, and bone marrow.  Anna makes a decision to petition for medical emancipation, to give herself the right to make her own decisions about her health when her parents are torn between their two daughters.  Throw in a delinquent older brother, a lawyer with a medical problem, and a guardian who used to date the lawyer for good measure and you’ve got quite the story.

There’s a “WSP reader’s club guide” at the back that I was planning on typing about.  After starting several times, I’ve decided against it.

The questions most ask about how I would act in the situations the family faces and if they made the right decisions.  I can’t imagine how I would handle any of this if I was in this situation because it is one of those awful circumstances you just hope will never happen to those you care about.  You don’t know how you’re respond until you get there.

One of the common themes throughout the book is that there is no right answer.  Do you let the younger sister make a decision for herself and her body even if her answer costs her older sister her life? Do you force the younger sister to donate something for the greater good of her family even if it psychologically harms her? There’s no right answer for this family, in this and numerous of the other problems they face.  They make the decisions they think is best and that’s really all you can do.

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