I don’t really read Fiction anymore, but this book, My Sister’s Keeper, did the impossible – it made me a believer in fiction again. While in Morocco, one of the women in my tour group had brought this book and over the 3 weeks we were there, 4 of the people in the group had read it (all in about 3 days max). They kept on raving about how good it was and that you just couldn’t put it down. I was skeptical – but intrigued at the same time. The premise of the story did sound interesting to me, but I’m so sick of ‘Oprah Endings’ that are as if they were made specifically for Hollywood so that we can all continue to live in our optimistic world where the girl gets the guy, and all of the strife that the characters had throughout the book is all wrapped up in a nice little bow of goodness so that everyone can leave happy. Ok – that rant was probably more than you were asking for – but it’s important to know that I don’t like cleancut stories – the messier the better – the more screwed up the people are – I love it – especially if they stay screwed up – because life isn’t always about good endings and I like authors who are not afraid to write about that. A good abrupt ending that leaves you hanging in disbelief and despair…well – that’s ecstasy for me.
I took My Sister’s Keeper once the 4th person in our trip finished it – I figured that I would give it a try and see if it was really any good. I would have plenty of free time in Egypt while on a sailboat or in buses or trains – so I would need something to read after all. It took me 3 days to read the book, and I was utterly blown away. I didn’t want to put it down. The story is about a young girl who has leukemia and her parents decide to have a 3rd child, genetically engineered, in order to be an exact donor match for the sick child. There had been multiple successful donations given by the younger sister, Anna, to her sick sister, Kate, which was key to keeping Kate alive. However, when it was time to yet again donate another part of her body, Anna at age 13, decided that she had enough. She wanted control over her own medical decisions and body; therefore she sued her parents for control of medical decisions to her body. That’s the premise, and the book then takes you on a journey through each one of the characters throughout the lawsuit. It makes you question life and death decisions, and children’s rights.
What I enjoyed most about the book was the fact that each chapter represented a different character’s point of view. The whole story was told through about 6 main characters (the mother, father, Anna, brother, lawyer, and guardian). The writing style was clever – and it allowed you to see everyone’s point of view. For me, I immediately had an opinion on what I thought the outcome of the trial should be, however as you read the different character’s points of view, it certainly made you waffle. I loved Anna’s character – she was a bright, sarcastic 13 year old that was tough – maybe even a little too mature to be believable at times. As it came down to the end, you were shocked, satisfied, surprised, and stunned all at the same time. I honestly didn’t want it to end. Yet I was exhausted and my mind was spinning.
The writing and the characters were brilliant – something I haven’t experienced out of a fiction novel for quite some time. All I can say is – if you haven’t read it already – pick up a copy and give yourself 3 days…that will be all it takes as it grabs you by the hand and won’t let go until 440 pagers later.