Book Review: My Sister’s Keeper

keeperAuthor:       Jodi Picoult

Publisher:    Washington Square Press

ISBN:          978-0-7434-5453-7


Type:         Fiction

Pages:        423 Trade Paperback

Purchase:    $9.60 @ (HERE)

The Story

Sara is a stay-at-home mother.  She has two children and a fireman for for a husband.  One day when her daughter, Kate, is taking her bath, her brother, Jesse, points out a bruise on Sara’s back.  Not long thereafter, Sara has her seen by a physician who sends them to the hospital for further blood testing.  Much to Sara’s disbelief, Kate is diagnosed with APL, a rare form of Leukemia with a very low survival rate.

Eventually, Sara and her husband, Brian, are faced with the fact that Kate will need transplanted cells to have a fighting chance at beating her disease.  Although they had hoped that Kate’s brother, Jesse, would be a donor match for Kate, he was not.  It wasn’t long before Sara and Brian sought the help of a geneticist to help creat a genetically matched embryo for implantation.  The result is Kate’s new sister, Anna.  Anna’s ambilical cord cells are given to Kate and Kate is put into remission for several years.

Due to Anna’s genetic match to Kate, over time Anna supplies Kate with needed cells and bone marrow.  As she turns 15, her health takes a turn for the worse.  The result was renal failure and the need for a kidney from her sister.  Anna hires an attorney, Campbell, to fight for the right to be medically emancipated so that she is not forced to give her kidney to Kate.

The rest of the family’s story unfolds for the reader as the face the courtroom and Kate’s severely declining health.

The Review

This Alex Award winning novel grabbed at my heart from the very beginning.  I think that perhaps this was a bit of a challenging book for me to take on with my best friend’s daughter, Lainey Grace, undergoing chemotherapy for a blood cancer in San Diego.  Maybe this story was just too close to home.  However, I am a fan of Jodi Picoult’s and have been looking forward to the movie and I very much wanted to read the book before viewing it.  I pressed on in my read.

This novel hosts several narrators, switching from Sara to Anna to Brian to Jesse to Cambell to Julie, the guardian ad litem for Anna.  Reading from each of the viewpoints of all involved in this story gives the reader the perspective from all involved and how difficult the decisions are that they face.  Kate’s cancer has affected them all in such different, yet powerful ways.  The characters to this book are so expertly brought to life by Picoult that you not only understand them, but they become a part of your heart and mind.

In my synopsis of the story above I am careful to outline only the beginning of the tale as the components of it are so powerful during the read that I am purposely trying to avoid spoilers.  This novel takes twists and turns and provides a very unsuspected ending that brought me to tears.  I knew that I had a fondness for Jodi Picoult’s books, however I NEVER expected to be as moved as I was from this one.   

The publisher has released a paperback version of this book with the movie tie-in, therefore the cost of purchasing this book from is very reasonable at under $10.  I highly recommend this book if you have not read it.   As a mother, it will grab you in ways that you never expected it to.


On Sher’s “Out of Ten Scale:”

anm-logo-for-approved-books-post-sizeThis great novel deserved to win The Alex Award and I congratulate Jodi Picoult on her success, not only with this book, but with her others as well.  It must be incredibly exciting to see you book be transformed into a movie with such great actors to portray the characters that you so lovingly developed from your soul.  Not only am I going to rate this book a 10 OUT OF 10 but, I am also  going to pick up a couple extra copies for some special people in my  life.  There are a few sexually related scenes, however nothing graphic enough to prevent me from allowing the twins to read it.  Perhaps after they both read it they will appreciate their relationship much more… one could only hope.  



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18 Responses

  1. Sandy

    June 10th, 2009 at 3:35 am

    Wow! 10 out of 10! I’ve read a number of Piccoult’s books, but not this one (I don’t know why). All of them I’ve read make my stomach hurt, but are very well written. I can see why this one hit you harder than most…I’m surprised you were able to get through it! I will most definitely have to pick this one up.

    Sandy´s last blog post..A guest post with Richard Aaron, author of "Gauntlet"

  2. Pam

    June 10th, 2009 at 3:52 am

    I’ve never read this book but it sounds like a must-read. Sounds rather controversial as well. I’m going to have to add it to my list!

  3. Kathy

    June 10th, 2009 at 4:46 am

    I enjoyed this book, too, even though the ending left me sad. I’ve heard they’ve changed the ending for the movie.

    Kathy´s last blog post..Interview with Jim Beaver

  4. rhapsodyinbooks

    June 10th, 2009 at 5:28 am

    I saw previews for this last weekend and it did seem like there are some unusual twists in the story that the previews amazingly did not give away. It looks really good!

    rhapsodyinbooks´s last blog post..C.O.R.A. Diversity Roll Call Meme #8: Got Poetry?

  5. Jo-Jo

    June 10th, 2009 at 6:19 am

    I also loved this book Sheri and can’t wait for the movie. I probably would have given it a similar rating. She really is an amazing writer that gives you a glimpse into different perspectives of the situation.

    Jo-Jo´s last blog post..Teaser Tuesday-June 9

  6. Ti

    June 10th, 2009 at 7:52 am

    I read Nineteen Minutes and thought it was just “okay” but everyone told me that this one was much better so I know that I will pull it out at some point. Ten out of ten though. Wow!

    I also have issues with the casting of the movie. I know, I haven’t even read the book but I just don’t see Diaz as the mother.

    Ti´s last blog post..Review: Sunnyside Blues

  7. Alyce

    June 10th, 2009 at 9:45 am

    Picoult’s writing seems to be either absolutely loved or completely despised (I have also found the same thing of Nicholas Sparks’ writing). Unfortunately, a lot of people in my life can’t stand her writing, so I have stayed away from it. I may give it a try some time down the road though so I can form my own opinion. I’m just waiting until the mood strikes me.

    Alyce´s last blog post..Color Online Summer Book Drive

  8. Trin

    June 10th, 2009 at 11:01 am

    I just couldn’t get through this book. I figured I would just wait for the movie. By the way, you won a copy of Made in the USA at my blog and yours it the only address I am missing, please email me at khal5671 AT mwcc DOT edu with your address so I can send them in.

    Trin´s last blog post..Obama’s Blackberry

  9. Toni

    June 10th, 2009 at 11:12 am

    I reviewed this book via audio. I loved it. I think it is a fantastic thought provoking story. While I wouldn’t have picked Cameron Diaz out of the hat for the mom role, I think she is going to pull it off just fine. After all movie versions are not quite books versions. They are always different. However, I will not be happy if they change the ending. Nice review. 10 out of 10…. I can see that.. but I might give it more of a 9. :)

    Toni´s last blog post..Mailbox Monday 6/8/2009

  10. Book Review: My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult |

    June 10th, 2009 at 2:54 pm

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  11. Menagerie

    June 10th, 2009 at 4:00 pm

    Hey guys…

    On the rating of 10 out of 10… I did consider a 9. However, at the end of the book I was reduced to tears and, for me, that never happens. It was the story, maybe moreso than the writing, that grabbed me and sucked me in. That’s why I feel it’s a 10 out of 10. I can see it being given a 9, however, if the story didn’t grab at your heart.

    Cameron Diaz is NOT what I pictured in my mind for the mother, either. But, then again the casting of Anna isn’t either. I hope that I don’t get too distracted by the casting when I go and see the movie because I really liked the story.

    If they change the ending to this story in the movie I am going to be BEYOND p’d off!

    I wonder how they’ll cast Campbell and Julia.

    Thanks for the comments y’all.


  12. Literary Feline

    June 10th, 2009 at 6:03 pm

    This book made quite an impression on me too. Great review!

    Literary Feline´s last blog post..Wordless Wednesday: Riding the Highway (Part 1)

  13. Darlene

    June 11th, 2009 at 8:20 am

    This was one of Picoult’s favorites for me. I still have not forgotten this book. I can imagine how hard it was for you to read right now. Hugs.
    [rq=2733,0,blog][/rq]Book Review: Last Night in Montreal by Emily St. John Mandel

  14. Mishel

    June 12th, 2009 at 5:42 am

    I really enjoy Jodi Picoult’s writing. I’m reading them in order of publication – don’t ask me why. There’s no real reason to it. I’m up to Plain Truth but I haven’t read it yet. I’ve seen the movie version though.

    I’ve heard such great things about My Sister’s Keeper. Brilliant review, I can’t wait to get to it!!

  15. Bumbles

    June 13th, 2009 at 10:26 pm

    This is the only one of her books I have read – it still wreaks havoc on my emotions. Such a roller coaster. Worth the ride.
    .-= Bumbles´s last blog ..ON PHOTOS ~ Light… =-.

  16. Fyrefly

    June 15th, 2009 at 10:18 am

    This is the only one of Picoult’s books that I’ve read, and even though I went into it telling myself not to get sucked in, I went ahead and got sucked in anyways, and cried like a little girl throughout most of the book.
    .-= Fyrefly´s last blog ..Mark Pallen – The Rough Guide to Evolution =-.

  17. Anna

    June 16th, 2009 at 10:40 am

    I read this one a while ago. I thought it was just okay. It really is sad and gives you a lot to think about. Not sure if I’ll see the movie. I’m sure that’ll be a tear-jerker.
    .-= Anna´s last blog ..BLOODY GOOD by Georgia Evans =-.

  18. Alex

    March 31st, 2010 at 9:16 am

    I think this book is very good so far. I am in the point in the book where Anna has sued her parents for the right to her own body. I don’t think Anna’s mother should have been so mad about her not wanting to help her sister. But I also think that Anna is making the wrong choice about not helping. Her sister does not deserve to just die. I think that if Anna really loves her sister, she will continue to help her with her treatments. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to read it.

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