This book has been sitting on my bookshelf for a year now though I wanted to read this for a long time. My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult is a story about a 13-year-old teenager Anna, whose life is anything but average. The book is an emotional rollercoaster.
Anna is a 13-year-old teenager who has always been aware of the circumstances of her birth. Anna is a genetically engineered baby. Her parents Sara and Brian, decide to have a third child who will be the perfect donor for their second child Kate, who suffers from a rare type of leukemia. The story begins when Anna files a lawsuit against her parents for rights to her own body. The story of the book follows this lawsuit with time jumps between the past and the present.
The plot of the book follows a specific time frame in the present, beginning with Anna hiring a lawyer Alexander Campbell till the end of the trial. Jesse is Kate and Anna’s older brother who is always getting into trouble but the siblings have a good relationship. The few chapters at the beginning itself are emotionally heavy and this continues throughout the story. The family dynamics go through a change when the lawsuit is filed and it gets further complicated with everyone reacting differently to the situation. Brian immediately starts doubting their choices so far while Sara is shocked that Anna has done something like this. There are many moral and ethical questions raised, from the parents’ side and Anna’s, but still, there is no right or wrong.
It is not exactly a courtroom drama though a lot of plot points come up during the trial. The judge appoints a guardian ad litum for Anna named Julia Romano. The narration is from different perspectives – Anna, Sara, Brian, Jesse, Campbell, and Julia. At first, it was a little confusing with the multiple narrators, but as the story progressed, it made complete sense. You get an insight into each character that helped me understand their motives and reactions to the circumstances. Jesse and Anna feel invisible in their own family at times because Kate’s health overshadows everything else. Campbell and Julia give a third-person point of view about the family dynamics that reveal so much about the other characters.
The story is about a family and their unusual situation. The siblings are very close to each other, especially Kate and Anna; their relationship is so typical in some ways. Once to get to know the characters, it is hard not to feel for them. There is no right answer or decision to the questions asked in the story. At the start, it seems somewhat black and white, but it gets murkier as the story progresses. It is so heartbreaking to see what is going on in their mind, and what they have been through; you can’t root for just one of them. The epilogue of the book is from Kate’s perspective, and it was the most emotional part for me to read through.
This book is well-written and constructed. The moral and ethical debates arising in the story are dealt with in a subtle way yet, they linger in your head even after you have finished reading. This story is extremely emotional, and even though you want to keep reading, it can get too heavy at times. It is a beautiful and heartbreaking story of a family. It is a must-read.
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