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My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult
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My Sister's Keeper (2004)

by Jodi Picoult

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
16,910611105 (4)1 / 363
  1. 40
    Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult (AllieAldy)
    AllieAldy: Another phenomenal book by Jodi Picoult, draws you in and is as suspenseful as My Sister's Keeper.
  2. 20
    Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult (kiwiflowa)
  3. 31
    The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson (_Zoe_)
  4. 10
    The Spare Room by Helen Garner (lucyknows)
    lucyknows: My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult may be paired with The Spare Room by Helen Garner.
  5. 21
    While My Sister Sleeps by Barbara Delinsky (dara85)
    dara85: Both books are about sisters and their love/hate relationships. One sister is faced with a life threating situation.
  6. 00
    Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John (kaledrina)
  7. 00
    The Dive from Clausen's Pier by Ann Packer (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Like My Sister's Keeper, The Dive from Clausen's Pier is a provocative novel that asks a difficult, complex question -- what responsibility do we have to ourselves and to those we love?
  8. 00
    The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: These two novels share similar subject matter (the use of individuals expressly for the donation of organs). However, The Unit is set in a dystopian near-future while My Sister's Keeper is strictly contemporary.
  9. 22
    The Client by John Grisham (ShannonMDE)
    ShannonMDE: I think My Sister's Keeper had the feel of early John Grisham back when he wrote about people instead of corporations.
  10. 11
    Midwives by Chris Bohjalian (CasualFriday)
  11. 00
    Pieces of My Sister's Life by Elizabeth Joy Arnold (SaraAllison)
  12. 22
    Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson (corneggs)
  13. 00
    72 Hour Hold by Bebe Moore Campbell (howelson)
    howelson: Bebe Moore Campbell explores another medical issue affecting family, bipolar disorder.
  14. 00
    The Things That Keep Us Here by Carla Buckley (_Zoe_)
  15. 12
    How Do You Say Goodbye by Pam Logan (MichelleRuda)
    MichelleRuda: Another one of those books that sucks you in and makes you cry. I love it!
  16. 02
    Perfect by Natasha Friend (BookLover07)
    BookLover07: The book, " Perfect" by Natasha Friend, is such an eye catching book about a 13 year old who is over-whelmed with her body, that she pressures herself to throw up, to make her look thinner. Just when you think that was shocking, read on what happens next (:… (more)
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English (598)  German (5)  Lithuanian (3)  Dutch (1)  Hungarian (1)  All (608)
Showing 1-5 of 598 (next | show all)
So I don't usually go in for this type of book but a friend recommended it to me so I took a chance. Was not disappointed; I laughed and cried and got really really pissed off at the end!! Excellent story with really lovable characters. ( )
  longhorndaniel | Jul 19, 2017 |
In one version of my future, I attend graduate school so I can get a PhD in Philosophy, focusing on biomedical ethics. I find the topic endlessly fascinating, and full of such interesting and open-ended questions. So I can’t believe that I waited this long to read this book. I’d really like to dive into the subject matter of the book, so if you’re planning on reading it and want to avoid all manner of spoilers, here’s my one sentence review: it’s good, it grapples with interesting issues, and the version on Audible is probably the first time I’ve really enjoyed a novel as an audiobook. Also – don’t watch the movie version (which I’ve been doing while writing this review). It’s just so different, and the choices they make really take away from the story the book is trying to tell.

The basic premise of the book is that Anna is seeking medical emancipation from her parents, who want her to give a kidney to her dying sister Kate. Anna is 13, Kate is 16, and their older brother Jesse is 18. Anna was conceived as a genetic match for Kate after Kate was diagnosed with leukemia at age 2. The book is told in alternating chapters from many characters perspectives: Sara, the mother; Brian, the father; Anna; Jesse; Campbell, the attorney hired by Anna (pro-bono) to take on the case; and Julia, the guardian ad litem who is tasked with reporting to the court on what is best for Anna. The audio book really excels here because each character’s chapter is voiced by a different voice actor, which brings a real richness to the storytelling.

One thing the book does extremely well is telling us Kate’s story without ever giving us Kate’s perspective on things. It’s a bold choice, considering she’s the reason for the situation. But Ms. Picoult knows what she’s doing – she wants us to all to consider what the rest of the family goes through, because they all revolve around Kate and her constant illness. Jesse’s chapters focus on the fact that he hasn’t had really any attention, and that he’s dealt with by becoming an arsonist (perfect choice, since Brian, the father, is a fire fighter). Campbell and Julia have a side story, a history, that both seems a bit unnecessary but also serves to remind us that people have lives that go on outside of this family. The parents’ chapters are heartbreaking and brutal, especially Sara’s chapter where she describes giving birth to Anna. She’s so focused on saving the umbilical cord blood that at no point does she express any interest in her newborn. I don’t doubt that Sara loves all of her children, but I don’t know how she can love them all with the same passion she carries for saving Kate.

Anna’s chapters are challenging because she’s only 13, and she is so torn between loving her sister desperately and wanting a life of her own. Anna’s been called on to save her sister repeatedly, through stem cell donation, bone marrow transplants, and other donations. It’s affected her ability to do things, like go away to summer hockey camp (because her sister might need something from her). Anna and Kate are really close, though, so you know Anna is internally conflicted about wanting to save her sister and wanting a life for herself.

The issues that Ms. Picoult is grappling with in this book are so numerous. Is there something wrong with genetically engineering a child with the express purpose of saving another child’s life? Can the parent love the engineered child in the same way – can he or she ever see the child as an independent being, as opposed to being the one who is responsible for saving the other child’s life? What about other siblings in a sick child’s family? Even outside of all the issues of the sister being asked to contribute to and save the other sister’s life, what happens inside a family where one child is chronically, likely terminally, ill? Is it wrong of the other children to want to have lives, even if their ill sibling can’t? And how can a parent be asked to provide opportunities to the healthy children when they are so focused on saving the sick one? I can’t imagine being in that situation – it seems so horribly challenging, and exhausting, and unfair. And finally, what about the child who wants to make decisions for herself and stop being tied to her sister? It seems so easy to say ‘it’s just a ______’ (blood donation, bone marrow donation, etc.), but really, there’s got to be a limit. And can we expect a child, or a teenager, to pass those limits?

Having read the book, I’m still not sure how I feel about any of these questions. But they’re interesting, and as science progresses, we’re going to have to explore more of them.
( )
  ASKelmore | Jul 9, 2017 |
Thought provoking novel. Powerful dilemmas for parents. Deep. Not a light read. ( )
  elizatanner | Jul 5, 2017 |
Picoult’s landmark novel of stem cell controversy and interfamily relationships follows a family heavily strained by the pressures of a young child diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia. Faced with imminent loss, the decision is made to birth another child genetically tailored to be an ideal donor for the medically compromised older daughter. Fifteen years later and still the party directly responsible for her older sister’s medical care, Anna has chosen to take legal action and pursue medical emancipation from her parents. Rife with uncomfortable situations and morally complex dilemmas, Picoult considers the impossibility of such circumstances and the profound effect it has on each member of the family. As expected of a Picoult novel, the full truth is not revealed until the very end and the final pages hold a jarring twist. Although the ending is a bit contrived, My Sister’s Keeper is a generally thought-provoking novel with frustratingly realistic characters. ( )
  GennaC | May 9, 2017 |
This is not an easy, light read. The story is about Anna, a girl conceived as a bone marrow (etc.) match for her sister who is suffering from leukemia. A provocative, researched novel that deals with a controversial issue – a “designer baby” - who rebels at age thirteen. The characters are well drawn but the novel sags in the middle and I found myself skimming to the bitter>sweet end.

(So many Goodread readers panned this novel that I thought "Why did they keep reading"? If I can't give a book more than one star it means I don't want to finish it. I close it and it won't ever get a review from me. End of story.) ( )
  CindaMac | Mar 26, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 598 (next | show all)
This all feels like some awkward combination of a sci-fi novel and a movie on the Lifetime Channel.
 
Om utgivelsen :

Anna er ikke syk, men hun kunne like gjerne vært det. I løpet av sitt trettenårige liv har hun gjennomgått utallige operasjoner. Hun har nemlig blitt satt til verden for at hennes beinmarg skal redde den eldre søsteren, Kate, fra leukemien hun lider av. Men nå har Anna for første gang begynt å stille spørsmål ved hvem hun egentlig er, og hvem hun ønsker å være. Er hun noe mer enn sin søsters livredder?

For Anna tvinger det seg fram en umulig avgjørelse. En avgjørelse som skal splitte familien og som kanskje får fatale følger for Kate.

Min søsters vokter er en sterk og gripende bok om en familie som befinner seg i en uløselig situasjon. Jodi Picoult er en mester i å skrive innsiktsfullt og engasjerende om viktige moralske spørsmål, og holder leseren fanget helt til siste side er lest.
 
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Epigraph
No one starts a war - or rather, no one in his sense ought to do so - without first being clear in his mind what he intends to achieve by that war and how he intends to conduct it. - Carl Von Clausewitz, Vom Kriege.
Brother, I am fire
Surging under ocean floor.
I shall never meet you, brother--
Not for years, anyhow;
Maybe thousands of years, brother.
Then I will warm you,
Hold you close, wrap you in circles,
Use you and change you--
Maybe thousands of years, brother.
---Carl Sandburg, "Kin"
My candle burns at both ends. It will not last the night. But oh my foes and oh my friends! It makes a lovely light! --Edna St. Vincent Millay "First Fig"
I will read ashes for you, if you ask me.
I will look in the fire and tell you from the gray lashes
And out of the red and black tongues and stripes,
I will tell how fire comes
And how fire runs as far as the sea.
---Carl Sandburg, "Fire Pages"
You, if you were sensible, When I tell you the stars flash signals, each one dreadful, You would not turn and answer me "The night is wonderful." --D.H. Lawrence, "Under the Oak"
Dedication
To the Currans: The best family members we're not technically related to. thanks for being such a big part of our lives.
First words
When I was little, the great mystery to me wasn't how babies were made, but why.
Quotations
In my family, we seem to have a tortured history of not saying what we ought to and not meaning what we do.
[My sister] and I are Siamese twins; you just can't see the spot where we're connected. Which makes separation that much more difficult.
True love is felonious. You take someone's breath away. You rob them of the ability to utter a single word. You steal a heart. It's not a misdemeanor... once you're in, it's for life. (paraphrased)
The human capacity for burden is like bamboo-- far more flexible than you'd ever believe at first glance.
Summertime is a collective unconscious. We all remember the notes that made up the song of the ice cream man; we all know what it feels like to brand our thighs on a playground slide that's heated up like a knife ina fire; we all have lain on our backs with our eyes closed and our hearts beating across the surface of our lids, hoping that this day will stretch just a little longer than the last one, when in fact it's all going in the other direction.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
This work should only be the unabridged novel of My Sister's Keeper. Please do NOT combine it with the 2009 movie of the same title that is based on this book. Thank you.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0743454537, Paperback)

New York Times bestselling author Jodi Picoult is widely acclaimed for her keen insights into the hearts and minds of real people. Now she tells the emotionally riveting story of a family torn apart by conflicting needs and a passionate love that triumphs over human weakness.

Anna is not sick, but she might as well be. By age thirteen, she has undergone countless surgeries, transfusions, and shots so that her older sister, Kate, can somehow fight the leukemia that has plagued her since childhood. The product of preimplantation genetic diagnosis, Anna was conceived as a bone marrow match for Kate—a life and a role that she has never challenged...until now. Like most teenagers, Anna is beginning to question who she truly is. But unlike most teenagers, she has always been defined in terms of her sister—and so Anna makes a decision that for most would be unthinkable, a decision that will tear her family apart and have perhaps fatal consequences for the sister she loves.

My Sister’s Keeper examines what it means to be a good parent, a good sister, a good person. Is it morally correct to do whatever it takes to save a child’s life, even if that means infringing upon the rights of another? Is it worth trying to discover who you really are, if that quest makes you like yourself less? Should you follow your own heart, or let others lead you? Once again, in My Sister’s Keeper, Jodi Picoult tackles a controversial real-life subject with grace, wisdom, and sensitivity.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:15 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Conceived to provide a bone marrow match for her leukemia-stricken sister, teenage Kate begins to question her moral obligations in light of countless medical procedures and decides to fight for the right to make decisions about her own body. New York Times bestselling author Jodi Picoult tells the emotionally riveting story of a family torn apart by conflicting needs and a passionate love that triumphs over human weakness. Anna is not sick, but she might as well be. By age thirteen, she has undergone countless surgeries, transfusions, and shots so that her older sister, Kate, can somehow fight the leukemia that has plagued her since childhood. The product of preimplantation genetic diagnosis, Anna was conceived as a bone marrow match for Kate -- a life and a role that she has never challenged -- until now. When their parents ask her to donate a kidney, Anna has had enough. She enlists the aid of a lawyer and announces her intention to sue for control of her own body. Like most teenagers, Anna is beginning to question who she truly is. But unlike most teenagers, she has always been defined in terms of her sister -- and so Anna makes a decision that for most would be unthinkable, a decision that will tear her family apart and have perhaps fatal consequences for the sister she loves. My Sister's Keeper examines what it means to be a good parent, a good sister, a good person. Is it morally correct to do whatever it takes to save a child's life, even if that means infringing upon the rights of another? Is it worth trying to discover who you really are, if that quest makes you like yourself less? Should you follow your own heart, or let others lead you?… (more)

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