My Sister's Keeper | Teen Ink

My Sister's Keeper

December 17, 2007
By Anonymous

Jodi Picoult has masterfully covered yet another controversial topic in her novel "My Sister's Keeper." This time, young Kate is diagnosed with a severe form of leukemia. Her parents then have a baby, Anna, who is genetically selected to be a close donor match for Kate. From her birth into her early teens, Anna is called upon to undergo increasingly invasive and dangerous procedures to provide blood, bone marrow, and other tissues to sustain her older sister's life. Now, a kidney is needed, and Anna brings a lawsuit against her parents, claiming the right to her make own decision about what medical procedures can be performed on her. Anna's mother Sara, a former attorney, decides to represent her own daughter Kate at the trial.
There are some very difficult questions raised in this story. Does Anna have the obligation to risk her own health to save her sister? Do her parents have the right to make the medical decisions about Anna's donor role? Where should their loyalties lie? Where is the fine line between what is legal and what is ethical in a situation like this? There seem to be no right or wrong answers here, and the ensuing trial recounts all the physical, moral, psychological, and familial struggles that are brought to bear on the issue. Picoult paints a powerfully emotional picture of a family in turmoil. She adds additional tension to the story through brother Jesse, whose drug taking and criminal tendencies add even more burdens to an already overwrought situation.

The narrative switches from character to character so that the reader hears the voices of each family member, as well as that of Anna's lawyer and of the legal guardian appointed to watch out for her interests. Sara's narrative includes flashbacks on the history of Kate's illness, Anna's role in providing medical support, and the toll that the constant threat of Kate's death takes on the family. There are several shocking twists to the plot that make the story even more riveting. This is Picoult's best book yet!

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