I first heard of My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult when the both controversial and popular movie based on this book was released. Everyone was talking about it and I saw ads, trailers, and posts about the movie everywhere. As soon as I realized that it was based on a book, I knew I had to read the book. Unfortunately, being a young teenager, I struggled to take in the heavy material found in the book. I did not know how to process it, and I (wisely) set the book aside, promising myself I would read it when I was older and a little more mature.
I came across a copy of My Sister’s Keeper this summer while browsing at a free book event. Seeing the book brought back memories of trying (and failing) to read it and the promise I had made to read it again “someday.” I decided that someday had finally come. So I added it to my bag. And I read it. And it was amazing.
My Sister’s Keeper is the story of a girl who was born to save her sister – literally. She is the product of a controversial science that allows parents to choose the genetic makeup of their children. Except, in Anna’s case, her parents did not do this so they could have the perfect, designer baby. They did this so her older sister, Kate, would have a genetic match. Kate has leukemia, a cancer that has plagued her since childhood, always being kept just barely at bay, until the next relapse. Anna was born to save Kate’s life.
Throughout her life, Anna has undergone countless procedures and surgeries, all to donate pieces of herself to her sister Kate. But when Kate needs a new kidney, Anna has had enough. She is old enough now to be able to read up on and understand the risks of a surgery as major as kidney donation. But, once again, her parents operate under the assumption that Anna will be donating what Kate needs.
But Anna is fed up. She is done with feeling like a vehicle for whatever Kate happens to need, instead of an individual, whole person. She wants bodily autonomy, the right to make her own medical decisions. So she saves up her money and hires a lawyer. And sues her parents for the rights to her own body.
My Sister’s Keeper is messy, beautiful, interesting, and heart-wrenching. Many parts of the book can be frustrating to read, as Anna fights not only for rights to her own body but also for her parents to understand why she is doing what she is doing. Her desire to make her own medical choices has nothing to do with her desire to save her sister, but everything to do with her desire to choose whether or not she wants to undergo major medical procedures. Picoult covers many controversial moral issues throughout My Sister’s Keeper. This book kept my undivided attention from the beginning to the heartbreaking end.
My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult gets 4/5 stars.